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Council discusses plans for Juneteenth

COVINGTON, Ga - A Newton County Historical Committee on Black Heritage presentation on Juneteenth leads to questions on how the city of Covington can help with this year’s celebration. 

 The committee said that each year the celebration grows and additional funding would help pay for a Juneteenth parade and other activities throughout the month. The committee was hoping to raise awareness about the holiday. 

 “We want to make sure that we have things in place so our children can be educated,” said Newton County Historical Committee Member Ann Burgess. 

 Mayor Fleeta Baggett informed the committee that the city is unable to financially support non-profits, but individual council members can donate. 

 “We’re not allowed to do that by state law,” Baggett said. 

Council member Anthony Henderson suggested the city of Covington should host the event at some point, while council member Charika Davis stressed the importance of Juneteenth, comparing it to the Fourth of July.  

“I think that the Juneteenth celebration does have pretty much the same significance, if not more, to America’s independence from Britain,” Davis said.  

Davis also requested to see the request for proposal for the Fourth of July.   

Mayor pro-tem Susie Keck suggested tying the event to community development and utilizing tourism funds. 

Baggett assured the committee the city would take action and agreed that community development should be a part of the process moving forward. 

“We’re going to go ahead and make sure we get the new event coordinator with community development and go ahead and start, so we get online and know exactly what we’re doing so we’ll have it right for next year,” Baggett said. “We won’t wait til the last minute to the month of May before we try to do something for June.”

Additionally, the council approved three appeals submitted by Q. Dorchester Holdings, LLC. A decision by the Historic Preservation Committee limited the number of repeat homes in the Dorchester subdivision. The appeal allows for seven repeat homes of the Cadwell, Dustin and Silverstone house plans. 

 However, a special use permit extension did not get the same approval. 

The council denied a request to extend the permit for 2119 Emory Street. According to planning and development, the original applicant removed themself from the application. 

In other items of business, the council approved the following agenda items.

  • The final reading of an amendment to Section 8.24.070 of the code ordinance dealing with the service of complaints or orders upon interested parties. 
  • A request by the Gas Department to purchase Advanced Metering Infrastructure Project materials and to submit a request for proposal. 
  • A Memorandum of Agreement between City, GDOT and Archer Aviation for the construction funding of the new taxiway and public use compass rose amounting to $1,416,279.00, with the State of Georgia agreeing to a grant of $500,000.00 to be awarded to the City of Covington.
  • An application to receive a GDOT grant amounting to $253,946.21 with no local match.
  • A Local Government Lighting Project Agreement. 
  • A request to amend GEFA (Georgia Environmental Finance Authority) Loan CW2021035. 
  • Approval of two-year contract renewal for Artic Wolf 24/7 Cyber Security protection.
  • Approval of best bid for copiers with Sharp Business Solutions for twelve Sharp Copiers,  requesting a three-year agreement with an option for a fourth year.
  • Approval of nominations for GMA 2024-2025 District 5 officers.
  • Approval of two applications to sell alcoholic beverages.
  • Several Board and Committee appointments