Commission supports, adopts resolution for Amendments 2, 7

Published 8:30 am Friday, October 14, 2022

The Covington County Commission approved adopting a resolution expressing their support for Amendments 2 and 7 on the November ballot at a regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, Oct. 11.

Amendment 2 would authorize state and local governments to use certain public funds to incentivize broadband expansion in rural and underserved areas of the state.

“This is important to our commission because Covington Electric is presently midway of a project to bring broadband to every customer on their system. That comes to mostly 95 percent of our county in rural areas and other neighboring counties like Coffee or Crenshaw. Once they finish this project, it will have a very positive impact on our economy. The commission has expressed a desire to offer support, but there are some limitations to what the commission can do with funds. This would clarify and hopefully release some of those restrictions on funding. I certainly encourage support of Amendment 2,” Chairman Greg White said.

Amendment 7 makes several necessary technical changes to enhance the ability of local governments to fully support local economic development projects. “Covington County has a local constitutional amendment, but not all counties across the state have that. This will provide for every county and is basically just a continuum of home rule that counties have fought for many years,” White added.

The commission spoke about Alabama Code Section 40-9-1, which discusses exemptions regarding business personal property. The commission has until June 1, 2023 to notify Revenue Commissioner Chuck Patterson of their decision on granting the exemption on local taxes.

“I think we need to honestly look into it a little bit more. It’s something I’ve seen, but I’d like a little more time to study,” District 2 Commissioner Michael Smith said.

“To me, I see the effects it is going to have countywide, but if we’re going to have a substantial amount of money for each person, I think that most people would rather continue paying that than get an exemption from the county. I want to get more information,” said District 1 Commissioner Kenneth Northey.

“It’s hard to tell if the tax cut would benefit those businesses in a way to where it would increase their goods and services and get more revenue to offset this. It’s a gamble with no way to really know that,” District 4 Commissioner Tommy McGaha added.

No action was taken on the allowed exemption, but the issue will come before the commission at a later date.

In other business:

  • The commission approved a change of disposal method for two motor graders that did not sell at a JM Wood Auction, approving them to be auctioned on GovDeals or any other appropriate auction site that may be deemed appropriate by the county engineer and administrator.
  • The commission approved the purchase of a new Ford F-450 truck with a cost of approximately $65,000 for the County Engineer’s department.

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