After some debate the Covington City Council decided not to limit the number of terms volunteers could serve on city committees at their Monday night meeting.
As originally written the ordinance, up for final approval at the meeting, would have limited members to two terms. Covington Mayor Kim Carter said the ordinance was drafted with the intention of giving more members of the community the opportunity to serve on committees.
"I think the thinking at the time was that it would give more citizens an opportunity to serve," said Carter.
Councilman John Howard objected to the term limits, saying that they might cost the city the services of some very skilled and passionate volunteers.
City committees fulfill a number of administrative roles for the city and offer their recommendations to the city council on various voting matters.
Volunteer committees include the Planning Commission, the Board of Adjustments and Appeals, the Tree Preservation Board and the Historic Preservation Commission among others.
The council eventually voted to pass the ordinance, which altered the composition of several of the county's volunteer committees, but without the language specifying the number of terms volunteers could serve. The vote passed 4 to 2 with Councilwomen Hawnethia Williams and Ocie Franklin opposing.
In other city council news:
The council approved the purchase of 11 Panasonic Tough Books for the Covington Fire Department at the cost of $55,585.
Councilman Keith Dalton objected to the purchase, citing the present state of the economy, and asked if there were a cheaper alternative available.
"As fire chief, I don't think we can do without what I've requested," responded Covington Fire Chief Don Floyd.
According to a memo from Floyd, the laptops will be used to store information on hazardous materials, pre-fire plans for structures and emergency contact information. The laptops will also be used to share information with other public service agencies.
The council also approved a $3,790 purchase order from Atlanta Pyrotechnics International for its half of the costs associated with the annual Fourth of July fireworks display. The Newton County Board of Commissioners will pay the remaining half.