A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Covington set to move forward with economic development plan; commission to approve next week

By Ryan Clark
NKyTribune reporter

It’s time to move forward.

That’s the message Covington City Commissioners made at their regularly-scheduled caucus meeting Tuesday night as they voted to move forward with an order approving Garner Economics’ five-year economic development plan for the city. 

Last month, Atlanta-based Garner Economics delivered an hour-long presentation that laid out the plan which, according to city documents, addresses “the market realities for Covington’s efforts to attract jobs and talent and grow wealth in the community.” 

The strategy recommends enhancing the city’s economic development “through asset development, organizational improvements, communications, and branding efforts.”

The seven-month project included interviews with more than 40 people in four separate groups in February to gauge the mentality of a cross-section of the population. The findings? Garner noted there were many positives, including a general feeling of momentum, a good business climate and good leadership, but he noted that people also described a city with an aging infrastructure, lack of city resources and a lack of a cohesive vision. 

One of the things commissioners wanted to see after the presentation was the data to back up the findings. 

“That data supports the heck out of every recommendation that was made,” said Commissioner Shannon Smith.

Economic Development Director Tom West explained that along with the report comes recommendations for the city. “Here’s the blueprint for staff to move forward,” he said, before noting that any recommended legislative changes would first come before the commission for approval. 

After questions from Commissioner Tim Downing, West agreed that city staff would develop a timeline encompassing the next year for the plan, to be delivered back to the commission in eight weeks. 

Commissioners approved the hiring of Garner in December, when West introduced the company as a well-respected national consulting firm for economic development known for its data analysis, and its ability to explain situations in “plain English” and implement their ideas.

The $100,000 project is funded with $50,000 of lease funds from the Kentucky Career Center designated for economic development projects, as well as an additional $50,000 from the TIF District.

Commissioners put the approval of the plan on the consent agenda for next week’s legislative meeting. 

Also Tuesday … 

Commissioners approved the hiring of Dalton W. Belcher as zoning & development specialist. Belcher, a University of Pikeville and Chase College of Law graduate, was hired after a previously approved candidate withdrew. The process was ultimately reopened and two new candidates were interviewed. The hiring was put on the consent agenda next week.

Commissioners approved two grant applications for the police department, a $12,535 grant for ammunition and a $5,000 grant for 200 taser cartridges. These will also be on the consent agenda next week.

Commissioners decided to move forward with a promissory note between the city and the Covington Motor Vehicle Parking Authority for the repayment of $2.5 million to the city for the John R. Green commitments. City Manager David Johnston said the payment will result in the city’s control of 92 public parking spaces and the ability to set rates for them. Commissioners also scheduled it for the consent agenda next week.

Mayor Joseph U. Meyer was absent from the meeting this week, as he was on vacation. Vice Mayor Michelle Williams ran the meeting instead.

The next regularly scheduled Covington Commission meeting will be a legislative meeting held at 6 p.m., Aug. 13, at the Covington City Hall at 20 West Pike St.

Contact the Northern Kentucky tribune at news@nkytrib.com

Related Posts

Leave a Comment