Coun­cil Briefs

The Covington News - - Front page -

In other news from Mon­day night’s Cov­ing­ton city coun­cil meet­ing, the city ap­proved us­ing an old $ 265,648 fed­eral side­walk grant and $ 175,412 in lo­cal match funds to build side­walks along Clark Street from Car­roll Street to the planned round­about. In-kind ser­vices, or plan­ning and other work done by city of­fi­cials, can be counted to­ward the lo­cal match.

The grant has been moved to dif­fer­ent side­walk projects over the past cou­ple of years. The city wanted to use it to im­prove West Street, but Trans­porta­tion Man­ager Billy Skin­ner said fed­eral of­fi­cials told him en­vi­ron­men­tal stud­ies would de­lay the project and pur­chas­ing right-of-way would greatly in­crease costs. The city cur­rently has less than $ 100,000 in its side­walk fund, so the bud­get would have to be amended if inkind ser­vices do not cover enough of the $ 175,412 of lo­cal match for the Clark Street project.

In ad­di­tion, City Man­ager Steve Horton said West Street area res­i­dent Emo­gene Wil­liams told him that her main con­cern was get­ting curb and gut­ter in the area, not nec­es­sar­ily side­walks. Res­i­dents have long wanted to see im­prove­ments made to West Street, and Horton said he would try to bud­get some money for curb and gut­ter in next year’s bud­get.

Side­walks for Clark Street were at­trac­tive to elected of­fi­cials be­cause they would tie a lot of the city to Turner Lake Recre­ation Park, once the round­about and its un­der­ground pedes­trian tun­nels were com­pleted. Coun­cil­man Keith Dal­ton said this would be es­pe­cially im­por­tant if the school sys­tem elim­i­nated mid­dle school ath­let­ics. In ad­di­tion, Mayor Kim Carter said many res­i­dents could use the side­walks to walk more eas­ily to K-Mart and other re­tail stores.

As far as when construction will start on the round­about, Skin­ner said no work will start un­til the con­trac­tor turns in his no­tice of in­tent to the state. He said he didn’t know why this hadn’t hap­pened or when it would hap­pen.

Work is mov­ing for­ward on the cre­ation of the New­ton County His­tory Cen­ter, which would be lo­cated in the old his­toric jail. The coun­cil ap­proved pro­vid­ing a $ 25,000 lo­cal match to al­low the project to re­ceive a $ 50,000 state grant. The money has been bud­geted since 2005, when the grant was ini­tially writ­ten.

In re­lated news, The Friends of the Mu­seum will be hold­ing an­other ceme­tery tour this year on Oct. 14 in­side the Southview Ceme­tery, which is lo­cated at the end of Davis Street. The pro­ceeds will go to­ward the mu­seum project.

The Cov­ing­ton Po­lice Depart­ment will pur­chase 29 bul­let­proof vests for a to­tal cost of $ 22,649, which will come out of for­feited funds. Po­lice Chief Stacey Cot­ton said vests have an av­er­age life­span of five years and with all of the re­cent dis­cus­sion sur­round­ing the In­Vest cam­paign, the CPD de­cided to study which vests would be best to buy. Of­fi­cers could choose be­tween level II bal­lis­tic vests and level IIIa vests; many chose level II vests be­cause of their mo­bil­ity.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port by the Mu­nic­i­pal Gas Au­thor­ity of Ge­or­gia, this win­ter was 21 per­cent colder than av­er­age, and the cold­est win­ter since 1977-78. Gas us­age was at a record high and, there­fore, costs were at a record high, de­spite the fact gas prices were 10 per­cent lower than last year.

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