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Covington purchases more MEAG power
City rewriting ordinances for utility price changes
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The Covington City Council voted in favor of spending $2.6 million for the purchase of 5 megawatts of baseload power for one year at their council meeting on Monday.

The baseload purchase was made through the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia. The extra baseload power will only be used in 2009.

The price of the power is broken down to 6.2 cents per kilowatt hour, which while not cheap, is still better than the 6.7 cents the city would have had to pay if it were buying the power directly from the market.

The council also approved a contract proposal of $8.4 million for 7 MW that will be sent to a MEAG member with some extra capacity that it is looking to sell.

"Hopefully they’ll take that. I hope that we don’t get into a whole negotiation process but we won’t know that for a week," said City Manager Steve Horton, adding "all counter offers and acceptances will have to be approved by the mayor and council."

In other city council news:

The Covington/Newton County Chamber of Commerce gave its quarterly report to the city which included the news that the chamber had successfully landed one project, codenamed Project Cougar, which brings with it a 20,000 square foot building.

Planning and Zoning Director Michelle Stiebling told the council that she had requested the Planning Commission hearing on a proposal to annex and rezone to industrial 214 acres of agriculture land for the creation of Hazelbrand Industrial Park be postponed until December so as to give city staff more time to research the implications of the park.

• Hazelbrand Industrial Park was found to not be in the best interests of the region and state by the Northeast Regional Development Center during the project’s Developments of Regional Impact review in late September on account of the project’s close location to environmentally sensitive areas and inadequate information on the project’s environmental impact.

The council also gave City Attorney Ed Crudup the go ahead to begin rewriting the city’s water and sewer rate ordinance to allow for new price changes.

• The changes to the city’s water rates are intended to erase any price differences for Covington water customers that live outside of the city and customers that live inside the city.

• Currently residents living outside of the city pay slightly more for their water, on account of an older rate structure that was designed to account for the higher costs the city had to incur in order to run water out to the county when it was still much more rural and less developed than it is today.