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2023 Juneteenth celebration to be funded by Newton County
Girl Scout Troop 25525 prepares to carry the official Juneteenth banner in the 2021 parade. - photo by Tom Spigolon

COVINGTON, Ga. — This year’s Juneteenth celebration through the Newton County Historical Committee on Black Heritage Preservation will be funded by the County, thanks to a unanimous vote by the Newton County Board of Commissioners Tuesday. 

The BOC agreed to provide $10,000 to the the committee for the celebration, while the City of Covington will provide the permits. 

The vote came following an assortment of motions and substitute motions that sought to determine if Historical Committee leader Terri James would be able to properly handle the funds. 

One of those substitute motions came from Commissioner Ronnie Cowan when he suggested that county do what it did last year for the celebration, which was to handle all the permits itself to ensure that it would be properly accounted for. 

“When you’re talking about county money, I think we need to have a little bit of research into how that’s going to be accounted for and everything,” Cowan said. “And just have somebody to sit down and talk with (James) about it.” 

While Commissioner Demond Mason seconded that motion, Commissioner Stan Edwards pushed the issue to provide the funds directly to James. 

“I do want to move forward with designating the $10,000 for the county to put on the Juneteenth celebration,” Edwards said during Tuesday night’s meeting. “I don’t want to lose sight of the $10,000 tonight. If we table it, we’re running out of time.” 

James was then called up to the podium in front of the Commissioners where she presented them with a detailed budget of how the funds would be accounted for. At the point she also stated that the City of Covington was providing a donation to help pay for the permits for the parade portion of the Juneteenth celebration. 

After more discussion, County attorney Patrick Jaugstetter suggested that the Board provide the funds in the form of a contract with the Historical Committee. The final motion was made by Commissioner J.C. Henderson and seconded by Mason.

Juneteenth is an official federal and state holiday that is celebrated as a way of observing the end of slavery in the United States. The BOC, last year, voted to recognize Juneteenth a permanent holiday observed by the County.