County looks to grow industry

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Commissioners are expected to establish a county industrial development board at their Monday meeting – a move, they say, will help the county “get what is needed for new industry,” said Chairman Lynn Sasser Monday.

Sasser said by establishing the Covington County Industrial Development Authority, county government would have the ability to pursue additional grants, seek out bond money and to have a better ability to bring industry to the county.

County attorney Rick Clifton is charged with writing the board’s articles of incorporation.

Under Alabama law, members of the board of directors shall be no less than three, all of whom are residents of and taxpayers of the county. They shall not be compensated for their service. They are to be “elected” by the county commission to serve staggering terms. All meetings are open to the public.

There are to be five members of the county board, Sasser said.

“Each commissioner had a pick, and these people have agreed to help us out,” he said.

They are: Greg Henderson, president and CEO of Southeast Alabama Gas District; Allen Miller, former Opp City Schools superintendent; Jimmy Cox, owner of Carolina Millworks and Truss; Rudon Taylor of Red Level; and Milner Perry of Zorn Brothers Inc.

Sasser said the new board’s establishment would also aid in the expansion process at the South Alabama Regional Airport by partnering with the Andalusia City Council, the city’s Industrial Board and the Airport Authority to finalize a bond measure for the expansion of Vector Aerospace.

“With the location of that airport in Sanford, it only makes sense that we do what we can to make it grow,” he said. “There is grant money and bond money that wouldn’t be available if we didn’t have this board. The county is invested in the airport just like Andalusia and Opp is, so this is one way we can further its development.”

The 42,000 square-foot planned expansion will mean 100 new jobs over the next two years, and under the terms of the agreement, the project is not to exceed $3 million.