City works on biz in­cen­tives

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - ROB DEWIG rdewig@cov­news.com

Busi­nesses mean jobs. Cov­ing­ton of­fi­cials are do­ing all they can to bring more of each to the city.

At Mon­day’s City Coun­cil meet­ing, it was de­cided to of­fer a new pack­age of util­ity dis­counts as an in­ven­tive for new busi­nesses to move to town.

Called the “Util­ity In­cen­tive Pro­gram,” the new busi­ness of­fer­ings will in­clude re­duc­tions in elec­tric­ity, wa­ter and sewer, gas, and stormwa­ter rates of up to 20 per­cent for the first year a busi­ness is open, with the dis­counts de­creas­ing to 10 per­cent for each in year two and 5 per­cent in year three.

Per­mit fees for new busi­nesses will be waived en­tirely. Tap-in rates for wa­ter and sewer con­nec­tions will be de­creased

by 20 per­cent.

This is not across the board, how­ever. Busi­nesses must not re­quire more than 900 kilo­watts of elec­tric­ity, and must cre­ate at least two new jobs. A change of own­er­ship in an ex­ist­ing busi­ness does not qual­ify for the pro­gram.

“This could be a mom and pop shop at­tempt to get more com­pet­i­tive in this area,” said City Man­ager Leigh Anne Knight. We’re “try­ing to open the door for that in the fu­ture. We think this will help us grow tremen­dously.

“This is an in­cen­tive for peo­ple to come to our area.”

In­ter­ested busi­nesses must fill out a “New Lo­cal Busi­ness En­tity” form, which the Of­fice of Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment or the Plan­ning and Zon­ing Depart­ment will pass to Knight’s of­fice. Each ap­ply­ing new busi­ness must cer­tify each year that his has re­tained and added jobs.

There’s also a small catch on pay­ments each month. Busi­nesses that re­ceive the in­cen­tives may not make more than one late pay­ment per 12 months; go one over and the in­cen­tives go away.

Also, the pro­gram in­cludes a pro­viso that “The City re­serves the right to end this pro­gram at any time.”

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