Commission OKs Shaw abatement

Published 12:42 am Wednesday, June 13, 2018

After several weeks of negotiation, the Covington County Commission adopted a resolution and development agreement to grant tax abatements on sales, use and ad valorem taxation, for Shaw’s $250 million equipment upgrade.

“Because of the complexity of this agreement, it took us a little longer than we expected,” Covington County Economic Development Commission President Rick Clifton said. “We needed to make sure it was a right decision, but the commission has always been on our side, and I believe this is a positive decision for Covington County.”

Clifton said that this situation was peculiar because it involved a lease entered in 1983.

“We won’t be dealing with that lease agreement in any other future expansions,” Clifton said. “So hopefully it won’t be long to make a decision on future projects.”

The next step in the abatement process is to take the project to the County Industrial Development Board for approval.

“The Industrial Development Board was selected as the local group to give the final approval,” Clifton said. “So they will be in charge of bringing all of the packages together. I think that they will be prepared to get everything in order.”

According to the development agreement, Shaw committed to diligently and continuously prosecute the acquisition, development, construction, equipping and installation of the project to completion, using appropriate equipment and manpower; they agreed to give good faith consideration to qualified County residents for employment at the project; and agreed to give payments in lieu of ad valorem taxes, meaning they will be giving Andalusia City Schools $59,000, Opp City Schools $43,500 and Covington County Schools $32,500.

“I think this is a great opportunity for Covington County,” Chairman Greg White said. “We have always supported Shaw and we are excited for this upcoming project.”

After taking care of more business, the commission went into a closed session with Clifton.

“What we did was discuss more ongoing projects that were confidential,” Clifton said. “We have three or four active projects going on right now that are still very competitive, so we didn’t want to disclose any information.”

Clifton said that the Economic Development Commission is competing all over the world to bring more projects to Covington County.

“We are in competition worldwide, nationwide, statewide and county wide,” Clifton said. “So I am very excited about everything that is going on.”