County approves tax breaks for hotel

Published 7:30 am Wednesday, January 12, 2022

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The Covington County Commission approved on Tuesday a lodging tax rebate and property tax abatement for a possible hotel to be in established downtown Andalusia.

The commission’s vote comes after the City of Andalusia passed similar measures at its meeting last week.

“This proposal is being submitted to us by the City of Andalusia, which is the lead agency. They had approached the commission about joining them in support of this project as proposed. The city had the first step, so this approval by the commission is basically the second step in that matter,” Chairman Greg White said.

District 2 Commissioner Michael Smith said he thought it was a great idea.

“We met with City Clerk John Thompson, and I think it’s a win-win situation for everybody in the county. It will help bring jobs in and we would like for everybody to understand it’s a lodging tax abatement and not the actual sales tax. It’s only for a specific period of time,” Smith said.

District 4 Commissioner Tommy McGaha added the county is currently not receiving a lodging tax. “We are not getting a lodging tax right now because the project is not here,” McGaha said.

District 1 Commissioner Kenneth Northey said by bringing in another business, and to counter the lodging, property taxes would be collected. “It will offset some of this money; it’s not that we are getting this money but more rerouting it around a little bit.”

The commission passed a resolution for the sheriff’s request on concealed pistol permits by a 3-0 vote.

“As far as the Constitution states, we all have a constitutional right to carry a weapon. The concealed part is what concerns us. By having a concealed carry permit, it gives us the tool that we need to be able to check and get weapons out of these criminals’ hands. Without that tool, it will put the citizens at risk,” Sheriff Blake Turman said.

In other business:

  • The commission appointed Debbie Smith to be named to the Board of the Department of Human Resources, replacing Rosalyn Wright.
  • The commission approved an application for a retail beer and wine license at Tiger Quick Stop.
  • The commission approved setting a rental fee of $100 for the Point A Park Campground Recreation Building until 9 p.m. nightly.
  • The commission approved soliciting bids for seed and fertilizer.
  • The commission granted County Engineer Lynn Ralls permission to seek three informal bids for concrete curb and gutter.

The next meeting of the Covington County Commission will be held Tuesday, Jan. 25, 9 a.m., at the Covington County Administration Building. The public is invited to attend.