Millbrook, Prattville Alabama's most business-friendly cities - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Millbrook, Prattville top list of Alabama's most business-friendly cities

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PRATTVILLE, AL (WSFA) -

Attracting business and creating jobs is a goal of every city and some of the best in Alabama are right here in our area. A new report shows four local cities are among the best in the state when it comes to getting businesses to set up shop or expand.

The Alabama Policy Institute, a conservative think tank in Birmingham, just released their annual list of the most business-friendly cities in Alabama. Millbrook is number one on the list, and Prattville is a close second. Troy is number 7, followed by Montgomery at number 8.

"In order to excel in an increasingly competitive global marketplace, Alabama must be as attractive as possible to businesses looking to establish or grow operations in the state," the report said. "While Alabama's business-friendly image is usually assessed at the state level, Alabama must also consider how its individual cities compare against each other with respect to economic, social and educational factors attractive to business."

Here is the list of the Top 10 most business-friendly cities in Alabama for 2014 (in order): Millbrook, Prattville, Foley, Daphne, Cullman, Helena, Troy, Montgomery, Fairhope and Pell City.

Millbrook officials say they've worked hard to create an environment that's "pro-business."

"It's very important that you generate everything you can for your small business and keeping your tax burden low. With sales tax kept at a low rate, it's very easy for businesses to come in and operate and doing that enables them to create jobs and makes businesses want to come here to Millbrook," said Harris Garner,  President of the Millbrook Area Chamber of Commerce. 

Garner says healthcare professionals, attorneys, financial institutions, realty companies have come to Millbrook recently and other businesses have followed suit to give residents the services they need.

"We have a low crime rate. It's a great place where people want to live and send their kids to school here. In doing that, people want to come here and do business," he said.

El Cerrito Mexican Grill's first year in business in Millbrook has been a success- one the restaurant attributes to support from the community.

"I think it's the people. The people make it friendly. When they come in over here, they give you a hug and you feel comfortable to be here in this city and I think it's one of the best cities to make a business," said manager Gustavo Aveldanez.

For their rankings, the Alabama Policy Institute looked at things like tax policy, cost of living, crime rate, job growth and average incomes. Each city was scored on date from four categories: Economic Vitality, Business Tax Burden, Community Allure and Transportation Infrastructure.

"Alabama's most business-friendly cities possess responsible limited governance, reasonable tax rates, quality school systems, low crime, access to transportation infrastructure and a thriving economy despite significant economic challenges over the last several years," the report stated. "Most of the state's top 10 business-friendly cities like Millbrook and Prattville, with small but growing populations, access to transportation and room to grow geographically."

Prattville's mayor says eateries and retail stores have come to the city over the past year and he believes the military presence from Maxwell Air Force base and the community's promotion of attractions like the Creek Walk and Canoe Trail are helping the town stand out.

"You have to have a reason for businesses to come. They don't come over here just because of our buildings. They come over here because of the location, because of the people, not only the friendliness of our locals but also workforce, amenities, Robert Trent golf course, Bass Pro. It's not just one thing that's helped bring those businesses over here, it's a multitude but I think the way we've handled them coming into town is paying off," Mayor Bill Gillespie said.

Russell Rissman started his new chain called Bella Burritos in Prattville. His first location opened last month on South Memorial Drive.

"It's a great town. That's why we built our first one here. This is going to be the first of many. We're going to open at least one more in Prattville several others throughout Alabama. Everybody wants to help me and I want to help them and we all want to succeed and help Prattville grow,' he told WSFA.

For the second year in a row, the title of least business-friendly city went to Selma, the Alabama Policy Institute citing the city's high crime rate, growing unemployment, shrinking population and one of the lowest per capita incomes in Alabama.

Following Selma as the worst cities for business in Alabama are Prichard, Bessemer and Birmingham.

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