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Council to interview for new city manager
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With Covington City Manager Steve Horton's retirement just days away, the Covington City Council is planning an intense round of interviews in early January to try and find a replacement as soon as possible.

The council will meet Jan. 8, 9 and 10 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in executive session to interview applicants face-to-face for the position of city manager.

Mayor Ronnie Johnston said Tuesday that he hopes the interviews will lead to the council selecting its top three candidates. At that point, under Georgia law, the top three candidates' names are available to the public.

In other business, the council unanimously approved a bid to upgrade the city's website. Information Systems Manager Bobby Johnson recommended that the council approve a low bid of $18,220 from Innovative Architect's to re-design the city's internal and external websites.

"The website we have now is not as user friendly as we would like. We would like it to be where it's easier to display the events going on in the public," Johnson said. "Currently we are running SharePoint 2007 and we've got some code corruption, so what we are going to do is build a 2010 SharePoint site that will be more user-friendly."

Johnson said the layout of the website will be similar to the one that already exists, but there will be more images and current events highlighted for visitors. The upgrade will begin in January, and the new website should be up and running in February.

The council also approved the Covington Filming Committee's film procedures policy.

The policy has two sections, one for "Downtown Film Activity Impacts" and the other for "Residential Film Impacts."

Under the downtown film activity impacts section of the policy, if customer access to a business is directly impacted during business hours, a maximum of $200 per day will be paid for filming activity - which includes set-up, filming and break-down; and if the business is directly affected by filming, compensation will be decided between the filming company and the business owner.

The residential film impacts portion says that typical film days shall be conducted between the hours of 7 a.m. and midnight; if no traffic restrictions exist for the residents within 200 linear feet of the film location, compensation is not required.

It further states that if filming or wrap-up is to extend beyond midnight, compensation per each resident within 200 linear feet of the actual film location shall be compensated at a rate of $50 per each day of film activity, excluding exceptional activities - which includes activities such as pyrotechnical and explosives; and if road closures exist, all impacted residents will be compensated at a rate of $100 per day for their inconvenience.

Private property use by film companies is to be negotiated between the filming company and the homeowners, according to the policy.