COVINGTON, Ga. — Local leaders are doing what they can to make sure a manufacturer that employs more than 100 workers stays in Newton County.
Council members approved a resolution Monday allowing Covington Mayor Steve Horton to send a letter to the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission for assistance in applying for a $500,000 grant from the One Georgia Fund. The grant would help finance the “critical infrastructure development” portion for Process Equipment and Controls (PEC).
PEC is a metal and machine fabrication company that manufactures, installs and maintains specifically designed machinery for industrial clientele. The company is currently located 10439 Old Atlanta Hwy., which is deemed unincorporated Newton County and employs 120 workers who live throughout the region. Hourly employees reportedly make between $15-$50 per hour, according to city documents. Salaried project managers make $120,000 per year, plus a bonus.
After purchasing 36 acres off Hazelbrand Road at $10,000 per acre, PEC is working to relocate to the city of Covington. The company is leasing its current property at $17,000 per month.
“The addition of Process Equipment and Controls will add 150 skilled jobs to the Covington workforce while adding revenue to the city’s tax digest,” said William Smith, who is Covington’s economic development director. “We are excited to support a small, local business that has grown to have a regional and national presence. We are proud to see this business come to Covington.”
One of PEC’s largest contracts is with Hartfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta, and close proximity to the large employer is “extremely attractive” to the owner, Smith said. If the infrastructure development project can’t be completed, Covington and all of Newton County could be in danger of losing PEC. Apparently the owner would be open to relocating outside the area, Smith said.
In order to successfully move into the city and stay in Newton County, the site at Hazelbrand Road needs sewer and water to construct the planned $6 million industrial facility. If this can’t be completed, city officials stated, PEC could start looking outside the region for a new location.
The proposal states PEC intends to tie into new infrastructure developed on the western portion of Hazelbrand Road. Once connected, water lines will be extended to the new development. The owner has elected to install a septic system.
Infrastructure costs are expected to total $400,000, but Smith said the city would be applying for $500,000 to account for potential overages.
After infrastructure is up to par, PEC plans to construct a $6 million facility that will be conducive “for all their business needs,” bringing the total investment to $6.86 million to remain in Newton County.
The owner plans to expand its operation by 30 employees, who would all make between $15-$50 per hour, once the relocation project is completed.