Cov­ing­ton ap­proves strate­gic plan

Util­i­ties, hu­man re­sources, eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment on list

The Covington News - - Local News - By Rachel Oswald

In a spe­cial called meet­ing Mon­day evening, a quo­rum of the Cov­ing­ton City Coun­cil unan­i­mously ap­proved a se­ries of strate­gic ob­jec­tives that they will give pri­or­ity to.

Those ob­jec­tives are im­prov­ing util­ity ser­vice and de­liv­ery, im­prov­ing hu­man re­source man­age­ment and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment. Th­ese strate­gic ob­jec­tives will guide the coun­cil over the next one to three years.

The city coun­cil de­vel­oped its strate­gic ob­jec­tives at a spe­cial re­treat held at the be­gin­ning of the month.

“ Our idea is to roll this through the en­tire city of Cov­ing­ton or­ga­ni­za­tion,” said Cov­ing­ton Mayor Kim Carter. “ We are try­ing to op­er­ate as a busi­ness, not a gov­ern­ment.”

The coun­cil

plans

to im­prove its util­ity ser­vice and de­liv­ery by tak­ing steps to sta­bi­lize elec­tric­ity costs through the pur­chase of ad­di­tional power. Ac­cord­ing to City Man­ager Steve Hor­ton, dur­ing the sum­mer the city pur­chases 30 per­cent of its power from the mar­ket, re­sult­ing in higher en­ergy costs.

The coun­cil also plans to in­tro­duce on­line bill pay­ing to lower cus­tomer ser­vice costs and to im­prove cus­tomer con­ve­nience. The city plans to seek out and pro­vide, if avail­able, low in­ter­est loans or other in­cen­tives to prop­erty own­ers that agree to take steps to make their prop­er­ties more en­ergy ef­fi­cient. The city will also con­tinue to pro­vide en­ergy au­dits to its cus­tomers.

A work­force study cur­rently un­der­way is ex­pected to en­sure that the most ef­fi­cient staffing lev­els are in place through­out the city gov­ern­ment. The coun­cil also plans to im­ple­ment a Web- based train­ing pro­gram for its em­ploy­ees and to re­search and im­ple­ment, if cost ef­fec­tive, the con­sol­i­da­tion of in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy sys­tems city­wide.

The countywide eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment study, un­der­taken jointly by the New­ton County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers and the Cov­ing­ton City Coun­cil, is ex­pected to be a cor­ner­stone of the city’s own fu­ture eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment ini­tia­tives. The study is ex­pected to be com­pleted in 20 weeks.

In en­cour­ag­ing eco­nomic growth, the city will con­tinue to sup­port the ho­tel/ civic cen­ter. The coun­cil also plans to hone its mar­ket­ing ef­forts and de­velop in­cen­tives to at­tract high tech­nol­ogy de­vel­op­ments.

“ Th­ese are ex­cit­ing times for us,” Carter said of the new ini­tia­tives.

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