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Covington to discuss SPLOST, pet licenses, parking on Monday
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The Covington City Council will be discussing its list of 2011 SPLOST projects and the county’s proposed animal licensing fee, as well as having the final reading of its proposed parking and outdoor burning ordinances at its 6:30 p.m., Monday meeting at city hall.

Covington requested a final list of $16.53 million in SPLOST projects to the county this week, but the list is likely to be trimmed down. Some of the council previously expressed opposition to the placement of a $3 million request for a new city hall, which has since been removed.

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 receive rabies vaccinations.

Licenses would be required to be purchased annually for all cats and dogs older than six months of age. Licenses for spayed or neutered animals would cost $10 per animal and $25 for animals that were not spayed or neutered. The county has received largely negative feedback, but the cities were also asked to gather feedback and present it to the county.

The final reading of a revised parking ordinance will be voted on Monday, which will limit 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 parked inside an entirely enclosed structure. Construction vehicles will not be allowed.

The council will also vote on the final reading of an ordinance that will more clearly regulate outdoor burning in the city of Covington. The current ordinance is vague and Covington Fire Chief Don Floyd said he has not felt comfortable issuing any permits previously. However, residents are allowed to apply for permits, and the proposed ordinance will ensure outdoor burning is conducted safely, Floyd said.

Several items are not allowed to be burned, including any plastics or other petroleum-based products or garbage. Also, burning is not allowed on windy days, nor is burning in a barrel allowed.

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, will give an update on local tourism efforts and describe the benefits of tourism.