The Newton County Board of Commissioners agreed to waive the fees at a meeting earlier this month as part of a development agreement with Lidl.

COVINGTON — Newton County will forgive $200,000 in permitting and review fees for the Lidl US distribution center, set to be constructed in western Newton County.

The Newton County Board of Commissioners agreed to waive the fees at a meeting earlier this month as part of a development agreement with Lidl.

“We will still be collecting a number of fees associated with the project, and I believe that this is an appropriate contribution the county can make to this particular project,” said County Manager Lloyd Kerr.

Lidl, a discount German grocery story chain, announced in January plans to construct a $100 million regional distribution center on approximately 114 acres off Iris Drive in western Newton County. The property lies between Chamisa Road and Manas Court. The project is expected to create about 270 jobs with average wages greater than $15 per hour, according to county officials.

Kerr said the project could also spur further development in the area.

“There are primary and secondary suppliers to Lidl that are looking at property nearby to locate their facilities,” he said. “It would be a real benefit to the community.”

Development Services Director Judy Johnson told commissioners the development’s location along Interstate 20 will help to mitigate any noise from the distribution traffic. She said the facility will be more than 800 feet from any property line and that the owner is developing less than 68 acres of the total tract.

“There will be substantial buffers and greenspace and landscaping, and it will be built to the Almon Overlay standards,” said Johnson.

In addition to the development fee waiver, the Newton County Industrial Development Authority and the Newton County Tax Assessor’s Office have agreed to a nine-year property and school tax abatement for the Lidl project.

Over the course of the nine-year abatement period, the tax valuation on Lidl’s real and personal property will be abated or reduced. For real property, the tax valuation will start at 5% in year one and increase to 90% by year nine. For personal property, Lidl will be taxed of 25% of valuation in year one, increasing to 90 percent by year nine. The tax abatements will expire in year 10.

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I have been editor of the Rockdale Citizen since 1996 and editor of the Newton Citizen since it began publication in 2004. I am also currently executive editor of the Clayton News Daily, Henry Daily Herald and Jackson Progress-Argus.

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