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Covington approves parking, burning ordinances, SPLOST list
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The Covington City Council approved final readings for a parking ordinance and outdoor burning, approved its SPLOST list and reported that city residents were adamantly opposed to any pet licensing.

The revised parking ordinance limits vehicles that can be parked in residential areas to those that weigh 14,000 pounds or less. The ordinance will apply to passenger, commercial and recreational vehicles; however, vehicles of any size can be parking inside an entirely enclosed structure. Construction vehicles will not be allowed. City Manager Steve Horton said the ordinance will not be enforced immediately because the city will take time to inform the public of the changes. The ordinance is expected to be enforced mainly on a complaint basis.

The council also approved a list of $16.53 million in SPLOST projects, though the list is likely to be trimmed down before going to the public. The list was infrastructure heavy with  most of the money going toward water line and road projects.

County Chairman Kathy Morgan previously asked the council for feedback on the county's proposed animal licensing fee, which would help fund Newton County Animal Control and allow the county to create a database of pets to ensure that all dogs and cats receives rabies vaccinations. All council members reported that they had only received negative feedback from their constituents.

Licenses would be required to be purchased annually for all cats and dogs older than six months or age. Licenses for spayed or neutered animals would costs $10 per animal and $25 for animals that were not spayed or neutered.

The council approved an ordinance that will more clearly regulate outdoor burning in the city of Covington. The ordinance allows yard waste to be burned, but several items are prohibited from being burned, including any plastics or other petroleum-based products or garbage. Also, burning is not allowed on windy days.

Burning in a barrel or drum is now allowed after the council revised the ordinance last night.

Recreational fires must be kept at least 25 feet from a structure or any combustible material, while the burning of yard waste must be kept at least 50 yards away from structures. Penalties will be issued for residents who break these ordinances, up to $1,000 for repeat offenders.

Finally, Clara Deemer, tourism director at the chamber of commerce, unveiled the chamber's new tourism logo, tagline and website. The tagline is "Covington, a refreshing change of place," and the new tourism website is She said the county had seen an increased number of visitors in 2010, many of whom were coming because of the presence of the TV series "Vampire Diaries."