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Covington ups offer for industry

COVINGTON -- Covington officials have agreed to up the ante on tax incentives being offered to an industry considering locating in the city.

At a special called meeting Tuesday afternoon, officials agreed to offer the unnamed industry three years tax-free with collections increasing incrementally by 25 percent over the next four years.

"We feel like we're being given strong consideration ... but it by no means is it a done deal," Mayor Kim Carter said.

Officials with the city, county and Industrial Development Authority previously agreed to offer two years tax free with a 20 percent phase-in over five years. After receiving that offer, industry representatives wanted to negotiate further, Carter said.

The industry is expected to invest $100 million in the community and create up to 120 jobs. It is proposed to be built in two phases, with the first phase involving 70 jobs. Salaries of employees would range from $35,000 to more than $100,000, officials previously said.

The City Council also agreed to waive building permit fees totaling an estimated $77,410 at the request of industry representatives. It did not honor a request to waive water and sewer tap fees.

The abatement is being offered through a bond-lease transaction. The IDA will issue bonds to acquire the property and lease it to the private company. The lease payments amortize the bonds and the company will own the facility at the end of the lease.

Officials previously said Newton County is facing competition from communities in Arizona and California.