BOC OKs E. Ge­or­gia set­tle­ment

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - DAR­RYL WELCH dwelch@cov­news.com

The New­ton County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers (BOC) voted Tues­day night to ap­prove the $10 mil­lion set­tle­ment with East Ge­or­gia Land and Devel­op­ment Com­pany ne­go­ti­ated and signed April 10.

Ac­cord­ing to County At­tor­ney Me­gan Martin, the set­tle­ment in­cludes the county’s ac­qui­si­tion of the ap­prox­i­mately 424-acre tract on Lower River Road ad­ja­cent to the land­fill.

Martin said the set­tle­ment will re­quire the pay­ment of $10 mil­lion for claims made by East Ge­or­gia.

Martin also said the land is be­ing gifted to the county and that the set­tle­ment has a re­stric­tion that runs in per­pe­tu­ity, or for­ever, that it can­not be used for a land­fill or in­dus­trial pur­pose.

Ac­cord­ing to a press release is­sued by Pub­lic In­for­ma­tion Of­fi­cer Bryan Fazio at the time of the set­tle­ment, the land was pur­chased by the com­pany in 1997 with the in­ten­tion of cre­at­ing a re­gional land­fill. That re­quest was de­nied by the BOC at the time cit­ing a 1985 or­di­nance. Ac­cord­ing to the release, when a copy of the or­di­nance could not be found, “years of le­gal bat­tles en­sued.”

Ac­cord­ing to the release, the set­tle­ment al­lows the county to avoid the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact of a re­gional land­fill such as the one that was pro­posed by East Ge­or­gia Land.

Fazio said in the release New­ton County and East Ge­or­gia have been work­ing to re­solve the is­sue for the last two years.

The BOC ap­proved the set­tle­ment by a 4-1 vote.

The BOC also ap­proved a re­quest for New­ton County Wa­ter Re­sources to ask the Ge­or­gia En­vi­ron­men­tal Fi­nance Author­ity (GEFA) for per­mis­sion to repur­pose the $21 mil­lion GEFA loan al­lot­ted for the Bear Creek Reser­voir to other wa­ter sup­ply projects, in­clud­ing re­pairs and up­grades on ex­ist­ing wa­ter in­take struc­tures. The BOC ap­proved the re­quest 5-0.

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