Bryant Thomas told the city council that his family first moved into their Robinson Street house 80 years ago. And today, “after paying our taxes on time all these years,” they still are not connected to the city sewer line. Thomas explained at last night’s meeting that his house is on a downslope. Decades ago, there was no way way to pump sewage uphill. Now, there is a pump, yet his home and about 27 nearby houses must rely on septic tanks that sometimes overflow.
The council agreed to investigate the actual cost and various financing possibilites that might help get the homes sewer service.
Residents who are part of the Puckett Street Waterline Project also got some good news. Grant writer Randy Conner said Covington had sent workers door to door to discuss the neighborhood’s aging pipes. He asked that residents put their complaints about taste, color or odor of water in writing. Conner is applying for a Community Development Block Grant to replace Puckett’s problematic pipes.
City Manager Leigh Anne Knight noted that the terms of six of the seven members of the Downtown Development Authority had expired making it difficult for them to vote or approve anything. With increased interest in downtown, she said every member needed to have a 2013 or 2016 expiration. The city council is normally represented on the DDA by one council member. The council voted 4 to 2 that Councilwoman Janet Goodman be its DDA representative.
Mayor Ronnie Johnston recused himself from voting on this and future downtown matters because he is a partner in a restaurant opening by the town square.
Knight suggested moving meeting times to an earlier hour and doing away with work sessions, a suggestion emphatically opposed by Councilwoman Hawnethia Williams. The council voted on three options for city meeting schedules. A vote of three prevailed over the other two options to keep the same schedule.
Johnston announced he was kicking off an event called Reach Covington on March 23 in which tables would be set up for city officials from different agencies to meet with residents and hear their concerns or help them resolve problems.
Johsnston said the meetings would be held quarterly in different areas of Covington and there would be free hotdogs, chips and cookies. He looked around at the city council and encouraged the members to attend because if only half of them showed up for Reach — or for a retreat he proposed — the events would be pointless. It was important that Covington see the council as a united “happy team,” he added.
Southern Cruisers’ Randy “Toothpick” Carden said his bikers club was raising money for St. Jude’s children’s hospital with an Sunday, April 14 celebration on the town square. There will be a bike show, live music and food from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Call Carden at 770-280-7072 or Mike “Buddha” Norton at 770-689-7627 for more information.
Covington’s airport will soon unveil its new informational video highlighting its services to help attract more business.
Councilwoman Ocie Franklin Post 3 West said her constituents who watched the council meetings on TV frequently complained that they could not tell her apart from Goodman or Williams because the lighting in the room was so bad. The mayor asked the camerawoman filming the meeting what could be done. She replied that the backdrop to the council table made the lighting problematic. The council agreed to study what could be done to resolve the problem.