The Covington City Council gave its consensus Monday to explore the possibility of bringing the Main Street Covington program entirely under city control.
Currently, Main Street’s supplies and personnel costs are split 50-50 between the city and county. Its program expenses are funded by the 8 percent hotel/motel tax.
The city council has expressed confusion in recent months about the structure of Main Street, asking whether Main Street Director Josephine Kelly reports to it, the county board of commissioners or the Main Street Board of Directors. That BOD is working to clarify the organization’s bylaws, but, in addition, Horton suggested it might be a benefit for the city to assume full control of Main Street.
The council gave its consensus to meet with the BOC to discuss the issue. Horton suggested the county could perhaps take over 100 percent of the funding for another jointly-funded group like Keep Covington-Newton Beautiful, in order to partially offset the cost of the city taking on the entire $82,910 Main Street salary and expense budget.
Horton said in an e-mail Friday he has not yet had any discussion with the county.
"The big reason would be to streamline management decisions within the program. We have always collaborated well with the county concerning Main Street and other joint programs, but anytime more than one agency has to weigh in on various issues, it adds a layer of complexity to things," Horton wrote.
Kelly said at the Monday meeting she would be in agreement, believing a change could add efficiency to her operations. Mayor Kim Carter added that it’s difficult to serve two masters.
Horton said Monday that the county will still receive benefit from Main Street through its downtown development efforts.
Councilman Chris Smith said he would be more comfortable with the proposed change.
"If either body gets in trouble economics wise, they don’t have to worry about what the other body would do," Smith said.
Horton said a work session with the county will be scheduled in the future.