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City works on biz incentives
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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.”