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Stormwater fee increases are coming down the pipeline

COVINGTON, Ga. — Growing concerns about the city of Covington’s deteriorating stormwater infrastructure results in the council approving a utility rate increase. The rate will increase from $3 per Residential Equivalent Unit (REU) to $5.25 per REU with an additional $6 million in financial funding from bonds.  

A fee analysis study initiated by the engineering department found Covington has not increased fees since the start of the stormwater program. In fact, when compared to similar communities, Covington is the only one that has reduced its fees. 

The current fees do not take into consideration emergency repairs or further development. 

According to engineering department manager Michael Willis, there are currently five projects that need attention. 

 “The infrastructure is aging, and it just can’t handle the water,” Willis said. 

Mayor Fleeta Baggett referenced the recent water infrastructure-related issues in Atlanta. 

“Look at what’s going on at the city of Atlanta the last three days,” Baggett said. “We don’t want to be in a situation looking like that because they still don’t have drinking water in some areas... and a lot of it was stormwater-related.”  

The council also approved another stormwater discussion; the best bid from A&S Paving, Inc. to serve as the on-call contractor for the city’s stormwater infrastructure. 

According to a request from Willis, A&S Paving Inc. is both responsive and responsible. Willis said the company has a record of completing projects on time and below budget. 

“We’ve had a great track record with those guys,” Willis said. “[They’ve] actually completed a number of projects for us.”   

The engineering department along with Georgia Water & Environmental Services reviewed proposals from a total of four companies and found A&S Paving Inc. to be most suitable. The contract allows for an option to renew for up to five years, after the first year.

The vote went 4-2 with council members Charika Davis and Anthony Henderson voting in opposition. 

Following the stormwater matters, the council approved an amended agreement with Newton County Historical Committee on Black Heritage Preservation Corporation regarding a budget increase for Juneteenth events. 

The amendment allows the city to pay the committee $10,150 to put on a Juneteenth event at Cousins Middle school in conjunction with the Juneteenth parade.  

Additionally, the council approved an amendment to the Water Resource Facility Evaluation and Implementation agreement with Carter & Sloope. The amendment will help increase the wastewater treatment capacity at the Covington Water Reclamation Facility. 

The goal is to increase the capacity from 5.6 million gallons per day to 7.5 million gallons per day to address the city’s future wastewater treatment needs. 

 The council unanimously approved the following consent agenda items as well:  

Approval of Goldie & Associates to perform the 2024 city of Covington Industrial Pretreatment Program Technical Evaluation and Update, with an agreement negotiated on scope and fee after selection by the city’s selection committee, amounting to $98,140.00. 

Approval of sole bid from the Covington YMCA to continue its partnership with city of Covington from 2024-2027 in providing various recreational programming activities at Legion Field and other locations throughout the city. 

Approval of sole bid for the city to partner with Piedmont Newton in providing health screening services and wellness education at various city of Covington sponsored events throughout the year beginning in 2024 through 2027 and to include an emphasis on nutrition, stroke, heart, diabetes, breast cancer, and other health topics along with quarterly visits to various locations in the city to serve citizens with limited access to healthcare.