Economic Development - About Coastal Georgia

Economic Drivers

Both the Georgia Ports Authority and the United States Government constitute the major economic drivers in the coastal region. The military installations of Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Airfield and the U.S. Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, as well as the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) all contribute to the region's economic health, as do the Port of Savannah and the Port of Brunswick. These significant industries have a long and well-recognized history as the economic engines of coastal Georgia. Not only are these sectors sizeable and stable, but they also provide some of the highest paying jobs. In addition, they serve as catalyst for a wide variety of indirect businesses and industries, improving the overall economic diversification of the region.

With expansions expected at the Garden City Terminal of the Georgia Ports Authority in Savannah, as well as the influx of over 4,000 troops to Fort Stewart by 2010, the region can anticipate the impact of these economic drivers to continue well into the future.

Military Bases

Military bases are critical to coastal Georgia. Georgia is the sixth largest recipient of defense money. Two bases provide the backbone of coastal Georgia’s defense-related employment. Fort Stewart (in Liberty County) and Hunter Army Airfield (in Chatham County) combine to be the Army's Premier Power Projection Platform on the Atlantic Coast. The estimated economic impact of the base is $1.48 billion in FY 2006. Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield are the home of the 3rd Infantry Division and support over 20,000 active duty personnel and 28,600 of their family members. Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield is the largest, most effective and efficient armor training base east of the Mississippi, covering 280,000 acres including parts of Liberty, Long, Tattnall, Evans, Bryan, and Chatham counties in Southeast Georgia. The installations employ nearly 3,200 civilian workers. Hunter Army Airfield is home to the Army's longest runway on the east coast (11,375 feet) and the Truscott Air Deployment Terminal. Together these assets are capable of deploying units, from the heavy armored forces of the 3rd Infantry Division to the elite light fighters of the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment.

Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in Camden County houses several U.S. Navy Trident nuclear submarines and contributes approximately $560 million a year to the local economy. The USS Florida, USS Georgia, and USS Alaska all have their home port at Kings Bay. Each submarine brings about 350 military and family members, and a payroll of approximately $17-21 million. The base is approximately 1,600 acres. The Navy employs approximately 8,000 workers (military, civilian, and contractors) at the base.

Georgia Ports Authority

Georgia’s accessible ports are a major advantage for the manufacturing and distribution companies located throughout the region. Savannah’s Mason Intermodal Container Transfer Facility enables a seamless transfer of shipping containers onto trains and shortens the ship-to-market transit time to its delivery area. Facilitating global trade through strategic U.S. East gateways, the Georgia Ports Authority is a leader in the operation of modern terminals and in meeting the demands of international business. Georgia's ports combine industry innovations with proven flexibility to create new opportunities along the entire global logistics pipeline, delivering what the market demands. There are two major rail service providers, CSX and Norfolk Southern, in the region. Both offer piggyback service at Savannah and rail service at Brunswick.

Port of Savannah

The Port of Savannah specializes in the handling of container, reefer, break-bulk, and roll-on, roll-off (RoRo) cargoes. The Garden City Terminal is Savannah’s ultra-modern, dedicated container terminal. At 1,200 acres, it is North America’s largest single-terminal container facility. The 208-acre Ocean Terminal is a combination break-bulk and RoRo facility handling forest and solid wood products, steel, automotive and heavy equipment, project shipments and heavy-lift cargoes.

Port of Brunswick

The Port of Brunswick specializes in the handling of break-bulk, agri-bulk, and RoRo cargoes. At 1,700 acres, Colonel’s Island Terminal moves both RoRo and agri-bulk commodities. Its autoport facility handles more than 12 major manufacturers. A dedicated break-bulk facility, Mayor’s Point Terminal is a 22-acre facility specializing in forest products and general cargo.

Three facilities comprise the Port of Brunswick: Colonel’s Island Terminal is a dual-purpose 345-acre dry bulk and Ro-Ro facility. It has the ability to hold 1.5 million bushels of grain, offers 1.2 million cubic feet of vertical space, and 135,000 square feet of flat storage. The facility’s agri-bulk saw a 48.1 percent increase in Fiscal Year 2001.

Mayor’s Point Terminal is a 22-acre break-bulk facility with 11 acres of open space, a 30-ton gantry crane and is serviced by CSX and Norfolk Southern rail systems.

Marine Port Terminals, Inc. handles break-bulk, has 15 acres of open space, 453,000 square feet of covered storage, and rail service. The Marine Port Terminals’ 145-acre facility handles a diverse mix of break-bulk and bulk commodities. It is managed by a private company.

Agri-bulk Facility is a secured, fenced facility owned and operated by the Georgia Ports Authority. Colonel’s Island Terminal is among the largest deep-water agri-bulk operations in the U.S. South Atlantic. Offering a turnkey service for U.S. Midwest and Southeastern agribusiness, the facility features a dedicated agri-bulk berth and is capable of accommodating a diverse group of agri-product in combined flat and vertical storage.

Ports and Channel Maintenance

Shipping channels and harbors serving the "world-class" ports in Savannah and Brunswick require extensive dredging in order to maintain the depths required to accommodate ocean-going vessels. The millions of cubic yards of material removed in these operations are placed in "spoil areas" approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Conditions for carrying out dredge operations and for disposing of dredge material are permitted and monitored by the regulatory branch of the Corps.

Over the years, dredging and depositing discarded dredge material have raised concerns over various environmental consequences. Other concerns include the effects of significantly deepened channels on conditions in adjacent shore and water-bottom areas, rates of erosion, and changes in the hydraulics of water movement created by dredging. In any case, dredging for harbor and channel maintenance is essential to ensuring the economic benefits of coastal ports.

Government and Taxes

Georgia’s Governor, the state’s Chief Executive Officer, is elected for a four-year term. The Governor is allowed to succeed himself for an additional four-year term, if elected.

The General Assembly, the state’s legislative body, is elected for two-year terms in both the House of Representatives and the State Senate—these are apportioned according to population. Georgia’s legislators convene for a 40-day session in January of each year.

Deficit spending is prohibited in the state of Georgia.

Corporate Tax

Six percent (6%) of income apportioned to Georgia. Unitary method of calculation is not used.

The six percent corporate income tax applies only to income that is earned in the state of Georgia. Georgia is currently transitioning to a sales-only corporate income tax rate; once implemented, Georgia will be the first state in the Southeastern United States to impose such a tax.

Sales Tax

The sales tax for the state of Georgia is 4 percent (4%). Within coastal Georgia, all counties, with the exception of Camden, levy an additional 3 percent (3%) local sales tax. Camden County levies an additional 2 percent (2%).

Property Tax

Millage rates in Georgia vary by county, according to locally designated districts, municipalities and authorities. Within coastal Georgia, millage rates currently range from 21.29 to 37.50 mills per $1,000 of fair market value (FMV). The average rate is 24.94 mills in unincorporated areas, and 31.44 mills in incorporated areas.