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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.