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Posted: February 16, 2011 12:30 a.m.

City boards, authorities open to public

One of the best ways for Covington residents to become involved in government is to join one of the city’s several authorities, boards and commissions. These groups play an important role in shaping city development and provide direction to the city council.

Covington is appointing members to its new Municipal Airport Authority and it also has openings on several other groups. Here are brief descriptions of the groups and the number of openings on each.

To put your name up for consideration to any group, e-mail Mayor Kim Carter,, or City Manager Steve Horton,, or contact your council member.

Most groups are only open to city residents 21 of older, but the airport authority is open to county residents. Each group has its own requirements, so check with the city to be sure you qualify. Some groups also monetarily compensate their members.

Airport authority:

Seven openings, four, four-year terms and three, three-year terms.

This authority will ultimately own the airport and surrounding land and be tasked with its development. The council is currently considering members. At least two must have aviation experience, but the city always looks for a variety of knowledge bases, including banking, construction, customer service and the law.

This authority will be allowed to purchase or lease land and other property, enter into contracts and borrow and loan money and would basically have all the same rights as a private corporation. One of the most important powers is the ability to issue special revenue bonds to raise money to expand the airport or to loan to businesses around the airport.

Redevelopment authority:

Three openings, meets 5:30 p.m. on fourth Tuesdays

This group was formed in 2009, and is tasked with overseeing the revitalization and development of the city’s downtown district and the commercial corridors along U.S. Highway 278 and Ga. Highway 81.

The authority is designed to assist the city in getting more state and federal grants and attracting more private businesses. It also focuses on removing housing blight and addressing other housing concerns of residents, such as increasing the city’s affordable housing stock.

Downtown development authority:

No appointments will be made until early 2011.

This group is currently not operating, but was designed to develop the downtown and promote the business climate there.

This group can also issue bonds to help finance downtown projects. The redevelopment and downtown development authorities are important because they allow the city to apply for state and federal grants it would otherwise not be eligible for.

Historic preservation commission:

Two openings, meets 7 p.m. first Wednesdays

This commission oversees the city’s historic district and ensures that any development in those districts is consistent with the existing historic style.

Repairs to historic homes and any new developments must pass inspection by this commission. The group also works to have specific sites and buildings declared historic and restore historic buildings or sites acquired by the city.

Housing authority:

Three-four openings

The housing authority runs the city’s public housing facilities; the headquarters of which is at 5160 Alcovy Road N.E.

Because public housing is no longer being built in most communities, these authorities are expanding into other areas. The Covington Housing Authority is working with the redevelopment authority on a homeowner education program.

Parking authority:

Two openings

This authority acquires or constructs and maintains parking lots, garages and other parking facilities in the city. It also is responsible for leasing parking facilities if necessary.

Planning commission:

One opening, generally meets twice a month.

This is one of the busiest groups. It oversees new development projects or zoning changes in the city. The commission only recommends approval or denial. It makes recommendations based on the law and the best interest of the city.

Tree preservation board:

Two openings

The tree board promotes the planting of trees when appropriate and also oversees issues of tree trimming or removal when trees and other shrubbery may interfere with infrastructure or traffic.

Zoning board of appeals and adjustments:

One potential opening, meets 2 p.m. on third Tuesdays.

The zoning board studies the zoning maps and corrects any errors made in zoning cases. It also oversees appeal cases, where parcel owners are asking for an exception to the zoning requirements for their parcel, because of unique circumstances.

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