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Articles By Author - Gabriel Khouli


Covington to lower property tax rate

Editor's note: The article "City joins rail case, OKs budget" in Wednesday's newspaper contained a reporter's error regarding the millage rate, and this article was written, in part, to correct that error and clarify the situation.

June 21, 2014 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Covington's fire ISO rating improves

Covington residents could be seeing some savings on their homeowners insurance in coming years thanks to the city's fire protection rating improving.

June 21, 2014 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Homeless shelter could need $18K to replace ACs

Covington's homeless shelter has been staying open by scraping together enough funds to pay its monthly $6,000-plus utility bills, but now that three of its air conditioning units have failed, the shelter needs an even bigger cash infusion.

June 19, 2014 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Small part of Wheat St. to close

The part of Wheat Street between Industrial Boulevard and Hazelbrand Road will be closed to through-traffic for construction starting July 1.

June 19, 2014 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Hoax caller tells NCSO 5 hostages in apt.

Investigators are looking for the person who pranked called the Newton County Sheriff's Office Tuesday night and said five hostages were being held in the Summerset Apartment complex off Salem Road.

June 17, 2014 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Khouli's parting words: thank you, I'm sorry

I'm leaving The Covington News, and I want to say thank you. (People accuse me of writing long; how's that for a short intro?)

June 17, 2014 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


BOC still mulling budget options

A week after the Newton County Board of Commissioners seemed to be on the verge of reaching a budget consensus, concerns about public safety, particularly high turnover rates in both the sheriff's office and fire department, prompted the board to take another look at beefing up funding.

June 17, 2014 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


City joins rail case, OKs budget

The city of Covington is joining a group of landowners seeking payment for the property it owns along the abandoned Norfolk Southern.

June 17, 2014 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Business owners may opt in to self-tax

Does U.S. Highway 278 have anything that makes it special? Many people don't think so, at least, not yet.

June 14, 2014 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


City fires in supposedly vacant structures

The Covington Fire Department hasn't had to fight many house fires lately, but two of the most recent fires occurred in supposedly vacant buildings.

June 14, 2014 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Traffic delays possible for water line work

Covington residents could see traffic delays south of the square and in the Old Monticello Street area during the next year as work begins on replacing more than 26,000 linear feet of city water lines, some of which are more than 100 years old.

June 13, 2014 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Liquor store plan spurs talk about corridors

A proposal to put a new package store on the Covington Bypass Road has spurred an in-depth discussion about the future of the city's commercial corridors and what they will and should look like, with some officials' modern vision for the future clashing with others' views of what's realistic.

June 12, 2014 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Covington’s Wildwood subdivision purchased

The partially-built Wildwood subdivision off the Covington Bypass Road has been purchased by a developer who plans to move forward where other developers have stalled out.

June 10, 2014 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


BOC: Rental policy at Nelson Heights center should change

County commissioners agreed Monday night that extra steps need to be taken when the Nelson Heights Community Center is rented out to ensure there's no repeat of the May 30 "Bounce Dat Ass Part II" party that ended up with gun shots reportedly being fired in the air by a car passing by the center.

June 10, 2014 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


County nears budget consensus

County commissioners appeared to be close Monday to reaching a consensus on next year's budget, agreeing to lower the millage rate (informally called the property tax rate) from its current 11.54 rate to somewhere around 11, a change that would save a $150,000 property owner around $30 a year in county taxes.

June 10, 2014 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


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Archive By Author - Gabriel Khouli


Turner Lake facility to remain open on Saturday; fees will increase

A variety of recreation fees, including those for youth sports, will be increasing July 1, but Turner Lake Complex will remain open on Saturdays, the recreation commission board of directors officially decided Monday. (For a full list of fee changes download and view the document attached to this article.)

The commission had discussed the several changes at a June 2 called meeting as it sought ways to cover a $154,870 budget deficit for FY2011. The budget approved by the Newton County Board of Commissioners resulted in a $94,870 cut to the commission's appropriations, on top of an ...

June 30, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


29 employees laid off due to county budget

The new, leaned down structure of Newton County is beginning to take shape, as 29 county employees were laid off, including three prominent department heads.

June 30, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Listen to Ken Wynne's Full Speech

Members of the Newton County District Attorney's office filed out of the courthouse Tuesday morning, as they prepared to travel to Atlanta to see their long-time leader and friend, Ken Wynne, officially sworn in as judge.

June 30, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


BOC candidates give background at Monday forum

Newton County voters got their first public opportunity Monday night to hear from candidates for the Newton County Board of Commissioners at a forum hosted by Smart Growth Newton County.

June 30, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | BOC Chairman


2010 Property Taxes Guide

During the county's recent budget discussions, there was fierce debate about whether adopting the county's 10.9 rollback millage rate would result in a tax increase. The answer is: for some property owners it will and for others it won't.

June 27, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Locals hold Tea Party; discuss national issues

Luke Knight doesn't trust his government. The Newton County resident believes today's political scene is too infused with lying and innuendo, and he wants to counterbalance that by becoming an informed voice.

June 27, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Local Vampire Diaries fan to offer guided tours of film sites

As the Vampire Diaries cast and crew returns to Covington and is set to begin filming in July, local Molly Bachtel is offering fans a chance to relive the first season in real life.

June 25, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | Covington


Affordable homes could be built in Walker’s Bend

The Covington Redevelopment Authority continues its efforts to remake Walker's Bend and has reached an agreement to sell 28 lots to private developer Affordable Equity Partners to build 32 single-family homes.

June 23, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Zombie sighted near Mansfield; residents urged to flee for lives

When the zombie apocalypse comes, even the small town of Mansfield might not be safe. Crews filmed for three days earlier this month along Highway 11, shooting footage for the pilot episode of "The Walking Dead," a six-episode series on AMC.

"The Walking Dead" is based on the comic book series written by Robert Kirkman and published by Image Comics ; Kirkman is also helping produce the television series.

June 23, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Covington audit reveals no flaws

As the city council prepares to approve its FY 2011 budget on Monday, city officials can have extra confidence in the finance department after the FY2009 financial audit came back with no findings.

June 20, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | Covington


Touch of Country says goodbye to the square

In May 1997, Harold Duren purchased the old City Pharmacy on the northeast corner of the square as a shop for his handmade wooden furniture. However, the first people to knock on his doors weren't furniture customers; they were residents who wanted to know if he would continue to operate the popular soda fountain in the store.

June 20, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | Business


CPR Saturday at DeKalb Tech a success

Becky Beavers hopes that one day Newton County will be the safest place to live in the U.S. The director of education at Newton Medical Center recently partnered with DeKalb Technical College to restart the CPR Saturday program, where local residents can learn CPR for free from trained professionals. She hopes Newton County will be able to catch Seattle, in which one out of every four residents is trained in CPR.

June 20, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Employees cut after rollback budget approved

Pink slips, sad goodbyes and voices on the edge of tears greeted dozens of county employees during the two days following the approval of the $46.3 million rollback rate budget by the Newton County Board of Commissioners Tuesday.

June 18, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


BOC approves rollback budget; see attached budget documents

The Newton County Board of Commissioners voted 3-2 to approve a $46.3 million budget, which will use the 10.9 rollback millage rate, and cut about 50 employees. The board won't officially adopt the 10.9 rollback rate until the July 6 BOC meeting because the budget now has to be re-advertised in The News for a minimum of 14 days.

Commissioners Mort Ewing and Tim Fleming voted against the budget, and both expressed preference for the 9.73 millage rate budget which would have been a $43.5 million budget.

June 16, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Prior millage rates tell interesting history

There has been a lot of discussion about the rollback millage rate and whether the county should approve it. Although it's called the rollback rate, the 10.9 rate would obviously be higher than the current 9.73 rate.

However, the 10.9 rate is the rate necessary to bring the county the same amount of property tax revenue as it collected the year before. Property tax revenue in this past fiscal year was projected to be nearly $27.7 million, around 57 percent of the budget.

June 15, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


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