At the request of the Councilmember Linda Finger, Porterdale Public Works Director Robert Witcher presented city council with a cell phone service agreement Monday that will save the city roughly $189 a month.
"Nextel had the best government discount," Witcher said of the new plan, which costs approximately half of what the city currently pays for cell phone service.
Seven employee phones will cost $250 a month to operate with Nextel. Employees who use the city phones are the city manager, chief of police, director of public works, two public works supervisors, downtown manager and K-9 officer.
Two employees will share 1,500 minutes, while the others will share a 3,000 minute plan. The agreement includes free incoming calls, voicemail and unlimited two-way.
Witcher said the benefit of Nextel’s 2-way service is that Covington and Newton County Public Works departments also use radio and can easily be contacted if assistance is needed during an emergency.
"So it sounds like we’re going to a bare bones plan," said Councilmember Arline Chapman after Witcher presented the proposal to the council.
The agreement is a two-year contract that does allow the employees to carry their current cell phone number to the new plan. The plan does not, however, include the Web and e-mail capabilities of the city’s former plan.
"I can do without it if it will save the city some money," said City Manager Tom Fox.
In other news from Monday night’s Porterdale City Council meeting
• The city has already collected 75 percent of owed property taxes for approximately $188,000. Approximately $45,000 still needs to be collected.
• Police Chief Wayne Digby updated the council on the city’s crime statistics for 2008. Incidents in 2008 rose 26 percent from 2007, while arrests rose 23 percent, DUIs rose 71 percent, drug charges increased 177 percent, fines and forfeitures increased 101 percent and instances of assaults and batteries decreased 21 percent.
• The Better Hometown committee raised $750 to landscape the gazebo area on Ga. Highway 81 — $500 was donated by Keep Covington/Newton Beautiful.