COVINGTON, Ga. — The city of Covington has expended more than $1 million on the Covington Town Center project as of Jan. 8, 2020, according to the city's Finance Director Randy Smith.
Smith — with verification from the public works, gas and electric directors — told The Covington News the city has poured $1,083,058.81 on the project, however, some of those funds will be reimbursed back to the city at an unspecified date. The city has expended the following into the project:
- $90,494.50 for the design of the sewer, traffic signal and surveying costs. None of these funds will be reimbursed.
- $278,338.30 for installation of new gas mains. None of these funds will be reimbursed.
- $714,226.11 for lighting. Of these funds, $311,848.87 will be reimbursed.
At the Monday night work session, the council discussed the request for additional items for the Covington Town Center project after questions were raised by newly-elected Councilwoman Fleeta Baggett in regards to the city's funding of the project.
Baggett inquired on the amount of money in materials and labor the city has funded into the project thus far, how much the developer owed to the city and when the reimbursement process would begin.
"There's a substancial amount of money they [the developer] owe the city for materials. [It's] over a million dollars," Baggett said. "I don't feel comfortable with any more work going on out there and them not paying us."
None of Baggett's questions concerning city funds could be answered by the council at the time.
The request for additional items was brought before the former city council on Oct. 29, 2019. The former council reached a consensus on the requests made by the developer, The Foxfield Company, for the following items:
- The city of Covington will receive the easement on the Covington Town Center property, and Covington Town Center will contribute $500,000 for the sewer line, required easements and upgrade of the sewer outfalls
- The city is willing to accept Town Center Blvd., Foxfield Way and Town Center Dr. with the issuance of a three-year maintenance bond
- Covington Town Center will fund light fixtures and installation and will have payments on. a 12-month billing cycle
Even though the consensus was reached, the former city council did not take a vote on the agreement, leaving the new city council members to do so. The current council voted to approve the agreement 5-1, with Baggett voting against it.