Ex­pect fire­works at com­mis­sion­ers’ meet­ing

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - ROB DEWIG rdewig@cov­news.com

Tues­day’s New­ton County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers meet­ing should be an in­ter­est­ing one, par­tic­u­larly since lead­ers of the county’s African-Amer­i­can com­mu­nity ex­pect hun­dreds of peo­ple to show up to de­fend Dis­trict 4 Com­mis­sioner J.C. Hen­der­son.

Hen­der­son’s fi­nan­cial pow­ers and mem­ber­ship on the recre­ation and Nel­son Heights Com­mu­nity Cen­ter boards were re­moved from him in a 4-1 vote at the last com­mis­sion­ers’ meet­ing. Pas­tor W.J. Smith of the New­ton County Min­is­ters’ Union says dozens of peo­ple are ex­pected to ask to speak in his de­fense at the be­gin­ning of the meet­ing.

Also ex­pected to at­tend Tues­day’s meet­ing are state Sen. Rick Jef­fares and state Rep. Pam Dick­er­son. Both may speak about the pro­posed Com­mu­nity Im­prove­ment Dis­trict, which, although en­tirely in the city lim­its of Cov­ing­ton, re­quires county ap­proval as well. A CID al­lows busi­nesses along a des­ig­nated stretch of road

(in this case U.S. 278) to levy a tax on them­selves for beau­ti­fi­ca­tion and side­walk im­prove­ments.

It re­quires 50 per­cent plus one of the area’s business own­ers, con­trol­ling 75 per­cent of the as­sessed val­u­a­tion of the land, to ap­prove the dis­trict for it to be­come re­al­ity. It also re­quires ap­proval by the county’s state leg­isla­tive del­e­ga­tion. Nor­mally, a CID is ap­proved at the state level if the del­e­ga­tion agrees it’s a good idea.

A sep­a­rate item also re­quir­ing the del­e­ga­tion’s ap­proval would be a com­plete re-work­ing of the county’s form of gov­ern­ment. It’s not clear if the decision at the com­mis­sion­ers’ last meet­ing to re­duce Chair­man Keith El­lis’ pow­ers and place them in the hands of new County Man­ager Tom Gar­rett re­quires state per­mis­sion. Smith said speak­ers will also de­fend El­lis dur­ing the pub­lic com­ment sec­tion of the meet­ing.

The agenda also in­cludes a dis­cus­sion of The Cen­ter for Com­mu­nity Preser­va­tion and Plan­ning. The Cen­ter was re­spon­si­ble for the 2050 Plan and the base­line or­di­nances that con­trol it. Last month, com­mis­sion­ers voted to fold the base­line or­di­nances into the county’s plan­ning depart­ment, a move that caused Cov­ing­ton Mayor Ron- nie John­ston to ask the City Coun­cil to con­sider stop­ping pay­ments to the Cen­ter for its work on the or­di­nances.

The 2050 Plan’s cost has been split three ways by the county, Cov­ing­ton and the Wa­ter and Sewer Au­thor­ity, with Ox­ford adding a few thou­sand dol­lars. It’s not clear what will hap­pen to the Cen­ter if city fund­ing is with­held.

The com­mis­sion­ers’ meet­ing starts at 7 p.m. Tues­day in the court­house.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.