Garrett County Government - Department of Business Development

Oakland Offers Incentives to Entrepreneurs

Last Updated on Aug 9, 2016 at 12:51pm | Financial Incentives

The Mayor and Town Council of Oakland have endorsed the concept of offering incentives to potential new businesses, land owners, tenants, or existing businesses that are willing to invest in the downtown Oakland area as part of the effort to revitalize the town.
In an effort to assist owners of vacant buildings who would encourage a new business, the Mayor and Town Council is offering to tailor incentives for each business or building owner to best meet their needs. The Mayor and Town Council will also consider helping existing business owners with incentives that would best meet their needs.

A recent survey completed by the Oakland BASE (Building A Stronger Economy) Committee has identified several types of business that area residents and visitors feel are needed in Oakland. The top three businesses that were identified by the survey for the Oakland area are: a restaurant or a pub, a bakery, and, a men's and women's clothing store.
Each potential new or existing business or property owner must complete an application that will provide the basis for determining the type of incentive that would best help the business or property owner. A printable form of the application can be found at More information and the applications are also available by calling Michelle Ross or Gwen Evans at Oakland City Hall 301-334-2691. 
Examples of possible incentives:

   1. Reduced taxes for one year.
   2. Reduced water, sewer and trash collection fees for one year.
   3. Waive GOBA dues for new or struggling business owner for up to two years.
   4. Help with a percentage of advertising cost for the first 6 months.
   5. Reduced water and sewer connection fees (usually would only affect new businesses)
   6. Help with a percentage of the cost for new signage
   7. Assistance with a percentage of the total cost of building façade.

These ideas and others will be considered by the Mayor and Town Council and tailored to help the needs of any new or existing businesses that would be willing to work with the Town to locate in the downtown Oakland area.

Applications will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. The approval and distribution of incentives is at the discretion of the Oakland Mayor and Town Council. The Mayor and Town Council reserve the right to approve or reject all applications.