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Covington moves forward with Protective Life development agreement, hires code inspectors

By Ryan Clark
NKyTribune reporter

COVINGTON – “A fantastic win.”

“A feather in Covington’s cap.”

“Very positive.”

That’s how city officials described the development incentive agreement with Protective Life Insurance Co. Tuesday night, when commissioners agreed to put the proposal on next week’s consent agenda, effectively clearing the path for yet another company to relocate to the city.

According to Tom West, the city’s economic development director, Protective Life marks the seventh regional or national headquarters to relocate to Covington in 2020.

The company will move its regional office to the RiverCenter, where it will lease 67,000 square feet, bring in $18.3 million of private investment, as well as 90 jobs at an average salary of $85,000 annually. That brings a total of more than 2,000 jobs relocated to the city of Covington in 2020.

Over the next five years, the company is expected to create 165 more jobs, West said. Due to the new payroll tax revenue coming in, the city will offer a six­year, 1 percent payroll incentive for all new jobs the company relocates and creates.

The city expects to realize approximately $5 of new revenue for every $1 forgone.

“This is a fantastic win for Covington,” West said. “It’s a great feather in Covington’s cap.”

Mayor Joseph U. Meyer agreed.

“It’s a very positive development,” he said. “We’re grateful.”

Code Enforcement Inspectors

After years of hearing the need, the city has finally moved forward with the hiring of new code enforcement inspectors.

Three new inspectors are expected to start Jan. 13. The proposals were also put on the consent agenda for next week’s legislative meeting.

Richard J. Dames, who is currently working part-time for the city as a code enforcement officer; Nick Banister, a code enforcement officer, deputy fire marshal and department emergency coordinator for the City of Millcreek, (Erie) Pa.; and Jeri Asher, an experienced housing inspector who has worked for the city’s Housing Choice Voucher Program, are the recommended hires, said Ken Smith, neighborhood services director for the city.

Commissioner Tim Downing gave those in charge of the hire “kudos” for its scope, and the ability to attract someone was as far away as Pennsylvania.

Mayor Meyer also applauded the effort.

“After years of effort, this is a major milestone for us,” he said.

Glenway/Wallace Ave. Landslide project

The Department of Public Works asked for a change order to a contract with ECS Midwest, LLC for the Glenway and Wallace Avenue Levee Landslide project, for an amount not to exceed $53,950.

That would bring the total of the project to $102,288.

Chris Warneford, public works director, said additional areas of instability were discovered next to the landslide, and these areas must be investigated as well, if the entire issue is to be resolved.

The order was also put on next week’s consent agenda.

Audit report

Heather Cochran, of RFH, PLLC, presented an audit of the 2020 fiscal year to commissioners Tuesday night.

The comprehensive annual financial report was favorable, as Cochran noted that the city has “improved its financial situation quite a bit over the last few years.”

Cochran said 2021 would likely be a tougher year due to the ongoing pandemic, but said the city seemed to be well situated, with a “healthy reserve for the future.”

Legislative meeting

Commissioners actually had a brief legislative meeting before their weekly caucus Tuesday night, to handle a few administrative items, including: the appointment of new Commissioner Ron Washington to Mayor Pro Tem (by virtue of his election finish)/ various board appointments, rules of procedure, setting of meeting dates for the year.


Police Chief Robert Nader requested approval to hire Jacob Noe as a patrol officer, and to renew contracts for Wesley Cook and David Finan Jr. Both requests were put on the consent agenda.

Fire Department Chief Mark Pierce asked to purchase 36 self-contained breathing apparatus and associated equipment for $298,429. It will be financed through the unassigned balance fund and paid back over five years out of the fire department budget.

Next meeting

The next regularly scheduled Covington Commission meeting will be a legislative meeting held at 6 p.m., Jan. 12. The meeting can be followed live on Fioptics channel 815, Spectrum channel 203, the Telecommunications Board of Northern Kentucky (TBNK) website, the TBNK Facebook page @TBNKonline, and the TBNK Roku channels.

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