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Covington applies for HUD money for foreclosed homes
Use of golf carts also approved on city streets
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The Covington City Council and the Newton County Board of Commissioners have jointly applied for a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that would provide emergency funds for the acquirement and redevelopment of foreclosed residential properties.

The council approved the application on Monday and the BOC did the same on Tuesday, as the grant application was due on Thursday.

Funding from HUD was allocated to Georgia as part of the passage of Title III of the Housing and Economic Recovery act of 2008. Georgia has been awarded $77 million under HUD's newly created Neighborhood Stabilization Program. Some of the state's specially designated "entitlement communities" could be receiving another $76 million in HUD allocations.

Covington City Manager Steve Horton told the council that the amount of funding they receive, if awarded, will be based on a complex formula that will look at the number and percentage of home foreclosures in each state or locality, the number and percentage of homes financed by subprime mortgages and the number and percentage of homes in default or delinquency.

Because of Covington's small size, Horton speculated the city could expect, at most, enough funding to acquire a small handful of foreclosed homes.

The formal award of the HUD grant to Georgia will take place on Jan. 15 next year. Once the grant is awarded, the city would be obligated to spend the emergency funds within 18 months.

In other city council news:

The council approved the passage of an ordinance allowing for the use of motorized golf carts on city streets along with regular car traffic.

• The ordinance does not allow the driving of motorized carts on sidewalks or along specially designated streets that can be referenced by maps on file and available for inspection at the Covington Police Department.

• Only persons with a valid drivers license or instruction permit may operate golf carts on city streets.

• Golf cart owners wishing to drive their carts on city streets must register them with CPD where they will be issued identification decals to be affixed to the sides of their cart. There is a registration fee of $15 for each cart.