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During regular session on Monday, November 9th, the City Council unanimously approved a resolution for the City of Thomasville to enter into a Memorandum of Agreement with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (GDCA), formally accepting Thomasville’s re-designation as a PlanFirst Community. PlanFirst is a program that recognizes excellence in community planning and demonstrates an established pattern of successfully implementing its Local Comprehensive Plan.

According to City Planner Kenneth Thompson, the City was first designated as a PlanFirst Community in 2018; the re-designation is for three years, or through December of 2023. This designation enables the City to take advantage of various incentives, including grant eligibility.

“As a PlanFirst Community, the City receives annual Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) application eligibility,” he said. “Communities who are not designated as a PlanFirst community may only submit an application for a CDBG loan every two years. This annual eligibility has the potential to garner $2,000,000 in additional grant funding for Thomasville.”

Thompson said that PlanFirst designation also allows the City of Thomasville to access Georgia Environmental Financing Authority (GEFA) loans at a reduced interest rate. Additional reductions on loans and other incentives for DCA funding programs such as the Employment Incentive Program (EIP), Downtown Development Revolving Loan Fund (DDRLF), and the Redevelopment Fund are also available to PlanFirst Communities.

“As an example, we are now eligible for reductions in the interest rate for certain loan programs that can provide us with an interest rate savings of just over $13,000 on a $200,000 loan,” said Thompson. “The access to the financial resources available through the PlanFirst designation provides long-term benefits that will allow us to continue moving our community forward.”

Since its creation in 1977, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) has been an advocate for Georgia’s communities, helping to spur private job creation, implement comprehensive plans, develop downtowns, generate affordable housing solutions, and promote volunteerism. For more information about the PlanFirst designation or the City of Thomasville Planning Department, please contact Kenny Thompson at 229-227-4118.