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City trying to remove abandoned planes
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Covington officials continue their work to improve the airport, applying for a grant for a new terminal building near Ga. Highway 142 and taking steps to remove airplanes that have been abandoned.

The city council voted to apply for a $500,000 AIR Georgia grant which would help pay for a $1.5 million terminal building on the eastern end of the Covington Municipal Airport runway, closest to Ga. Highway 142.

The city is planning to build an access road off Nisshinbo Drive, and wants to make it the main airport entrance.

Grant writer Randy Conner said he didn't know when the One Georgia Authority would meet to decide on grant awards.

The city is also seeking to remove two abandoned airplanes that have been left unused at the airport for years. The council voted to approve action to remove the planes, and city attorney Frank Turner Jr. said he expects to file liens next week.

Airport Engineer Vincent Passariello said one of the planes is damaged and likely only worth its cost in metal, while the other could be repaired and sold at a profit of $6,000 to $11,000.

The city is using a private investigator to find owners to request that they remove their planes or allow the city to remove them, because the planes are taking up tie-down space and the owners aren't paying rent. One owner has been located, while the other has apparently disappeared, Turner said.

Once liens are filed, the city could foreclose and sell the planes at a sheriff's sale. Any proceeds would go to the city.

Downtown owners miffed by bike race

Downtown business owners are miffed that they weren't informed ahead of time that Saturday's Georgia Cycling Grand Prix will close down roads and affect their businesses.

The owner of Uptown Cleaners on Usher Street told the council the closure would hurt his business, both by forcing it to close and by not giving him time to notify customers of the change in hours. Streets will begin to be closed after 12:30 p.m. and the race will last until 9:30 p.m.

Letters from the city were dated July 14, and City Manager Steve Horton accepted the blame for not sending out the letters sooner. He said the city will attempt to give more notification in the future and thanked the owner for addressing the council.

Mayor Kim Carter said she hoped the race would lead to increased business for some downtown owners as riders and visitors come into Covington.

City millage rate
The city also approved a fiscal year 2012 millage rate of 8.208, which is unchanged from last year, despite the fact the city's tax digest fell by 15 percent to $643 million.

The tax digest is the value of all land, buildings, equipment and motor vehicles in the city. Property taxes revenues are expected to decline by $554,272 in fiscal year 2012.

Floyd Street to be more biker friendly
The city will pay $10,945 to raise 26 stormwater grates and one manhole up to the same level as the rest of Floyd Street so that the bike lanes will be safer.

Bikers have had to ride into the road to avoid the lower grates in the designated bike lanes.