As a business incentive, the Etowah Water and Sewer Authority is prepared to offer new commercial developments a year's worth of free water and sewer service.
"We are trying to encourage development inside the county," said Brooke Anderson, general manager of the authority. "We are doing something that to my knowledge has never been offered before."
The authority is responsible for providing water and sewer services to much of the county.
The offer would apply to new developments that begin construction in Dawson County during 2012.
The idea originated earlier this month when the authority was evaluating how it could best benefit the community.
Depending on building space and needs, new businesses could save thousands of dollars.
"As you think about what is going to make an impact or what could make an impact, certainly not having the water and sewer bills for an entire year would be a significant incentive to bring development in the county," Anderson said.
Per the incentive, as long as the new commercial entity begins construction in 2012, it will receive 12 months of free service. However, it also applies to occupying space available in "strip centers off 400," according to Anderson.
"We recognize that if they begin construction in October, for example, it might be March or April  before they are completed. So [the free water and sewer] would start in March or April, not October. But they have to begin construction on that structure inside of 2012," Anderson said.
According to Anderson, the authority is hoping the incentive will have a positive effect on the local development authority's efforts to attract new businesses.
The Etowah Water and Sewer Authority maintains the initiative will benefit county residents in the long run.
"The creation of jobs, the creation of tax revenue and the increase in products and services right here in Dawson County are a plus as a residential and commercial customer," Anderson said.