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Covington to Expand Small Business Program Throughout City

The City of Covington is expected to expand its small business program, which provides incentives for building improvements and rent subsidies, among others, will expand throughout the city.

It had originally been limited to the downtown area.

Economic development director Tom West announced the changes at Tuesday night's city commission meeting, noting that it would allow more businesses to be eligible for the program and assistance from the city.

An additional change to the program relates to who makes the application to City Hall.

For facade improvements, the building owner must apply, and for rent subsidy agreements, the business owner must be the applicant.

Meanwhile, the city is expected to approve a series of promotions at the commission's legislative meeting next week. Ross Patten, who has overseen the small business program as economic development specialist, is to be promoted to the newly created position of economic project manager.

Michael Bartlett will officially be made the city solicitor, replacing Frank Warnock, who was previously made assistant city manager.

In addition to Bartlett’s promotion, the city will also contract with Gatlin Voelker, PLLC. to provide 35 hours of legal services to the city weekly. According to City Manager David Johnston, the city decided to hire an outside firm because of the inexperience in the city's legal department.

Hiring the outside firm will cost the city $75,000 annually, but save around $40,000 in benefits.

With Renaissance Covington’s Free Wi-Fi program finally rolling out in recent weeks, the city will also be updating their contract with Renaissance Covington for the placement of hotspots on city garages.

In addition to hotspots being placed on city-owned property, Renaissance Covington will also be providing data gathered from the Wi-Fi.

Data will include where people are spending their time and for how long and whether they are local or visitors to the city. No personal data will be provided to the city.

Renaissance Covington’s goal of collecting the data is to help businesses track busy hours in the city to better provide customers. Both the city and local businesses will be able to advertise events and sales through the Wi-Fi.

Written by Carrie Crotzer, RCN contributor