Funds cut off for 2050 Plan

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - BRYAN FAZIO bfazio@cov­news.com

New­ton County and the City of Cov­ing­ton voted unan­i­mously in their re­spec­tive meet­ings this week to stop fund­ing the 2050 Plan Base­line Or­di­nances that were be­ing fa­cil­i­tated by The Cen­ter for Com­mu­nity Preser­va­tion and Plan­ning.

After the New­ton County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers made a mo­tion in its Aug. 19 meet­ing to bring plan­ning and or­di­nances into the county’s plan­ning and zon­ing depart­ment, the city de­cided it would no longer have a say in plan­ning for the county’s fu­ture. That led to a mo­tion in Mon­day’s city coun­cil meet­ing for the city to stop fund­ing.

Tues­day evening, the BOC also with­drew fund­ing by the county to the 2050 Plan, after a mo­tion by Com­mis­sioner John Dou­glas.

“I make a mo­tion that we pay what we owe, and after that have no more as­so­ci­a­tion with the 2050 Plan; Take the 2050 Plan off the ta­ble for New­ton County,” Dou­glas said.

After some dis­cus­sion as to whether or not the county would con­tinue fu­ture plan­ning and col­lab­o­rat­ing with the county’s five ci­ties, wa­ter and sewage au­thor­ity and the school sys­tem, Com­mis­sioner J.C. Hen­der­son sec­onded the mo­tion.

“A few weeks ago I re­ceived sev­eral calls from my con­stituents through­out the New­ton County and the one thing they told me was they didn’t want the 2050 Plan,” Hen­der­son said. “I said, right here a few weeks ago, ‘I hear you. I un­der­stand that it doesn’t fit what you want.’ I said then I wouldn’t change. I said J.C. Hen­der­son is not go­ing to change. I’m still stand­ing by what I said.”

The county voted 4-0, with Com­mis­sioner Lanier Sims ab­sent, to ap­prove the mo­tion to end fund­ing the 2050 Plan.

One night ear­lier, The Cov­ing­ton City Coun­cil unan­i­mously voted to stop fund­ing for the 2050 Plan’s Base­line Or­di­nances.

“I don’t think it’s in the best in­ter­est of Cov­ing­ton to con­tinue fund­ing the Base­line Or­di­nances, along with the county and wa­ter and sewer au­thor­ity,” Cov­ing­ton Mayor Ron­nie John­ston said. “We com­mit­ted $150,000 for three years, and we’ve spent $85,000 so far. I pro­pose a mo­tion to stop fund­ing ad­di­tional funds.”

The county’s Aug. 19 de- ci­sion helped sway the city coun­cil’s decision.

Coun­cil­woman Hawnethia Wil­liams asked why the BOC de­cided to stop the fund­ing.

John­ston replied in the best way he said he knew how, “I have no clue.”

“I be­lieve the rea­son why they did it was rel­a­tively largely due to the up­ris­ing of the com­mu­nity that had some con­cerns for the 2050 plan, in­stead of grind­ing it out and see­ing if we could make changes to have a plan for the com­mu­nity. It was re­solved at the county level to take it out of The Cen­ter and put it in the hands of the county.”

The vote was unani- mous 6-0 to stop any fur­ther fund­ing to The Cen­ter for the 2050 Plan Base­line Or­di­nances.

While the fund­ing has stopped, some politi­cians in the county and city still want plan­ning and co­op­er­a­tion to go on.

“We have spent 10 years, and boards prior to this board, de­vel­oped a lead­er­ship col­lab­o­ra­tive in talk­ing about and plan­ning for the fu­ture. I think it’s re­ally im­por­tant we con­tinue to plan and con­tinue to work to­gether as a county and con­tinue to work to­gether with other en­ti­ties and not be on an is­land by our­selves.“Com­mis­sioner Nancy Shulz said in re­sponse to Dou­glas’ mo­tion.

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