COVINGTON, Ga. - The Newton County Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday night to allow Verizon Wireless to construct a cell tower on land in the eastern part of the county.
The 130 ft. tall tower, which includes a 120 ft. monopole and 10 ft. lightening rod, will be built on 56 acres on Adams Circle.
The tower will have three antennas and will accommodate equipment for potential use by the County for E-911 use and other emergency services below the third antenna.
Commissioners also tentatively approved the make-up of the county’s new SPLOST advisory committee. As it stands, the committee will be made up of seven citizens, with five representing each commission district and two at large members.
District 3 Commissioner Nancy Schulz expressed support for the committee.
“I personally would like to see the SPLOST oversight committee,” she said, “Anytime you have civic engagement, you encourage participation of the public. It helps with grooming leadership, it helps with education of the populace and quite frankly, it provides another set of eyes for us.”
Schulz said seven members is the right number.
“Those of us that are on the Solid Waste Authority, we’ve settled on a board of seven and that number seems to work really well.”
District 2 Commissioner Lanier Sims cautioned that public safety needs should be streamlined.
“We have to streamline the public safety side of things,” he said, “Yes we need civic engagement when it comes to parks or other items, but I’m very cautious when it comes to public safety.”
Sims also expressed support for a seven member committee.
“I sit on the Solid Waste Authority and it is running a lot better than it did with a bigger board, so I would be OK with a seven member board.”
District 1 Commissioner Stan Edwards said commissioners should establish clear guidelines for the committee.
“If we’re going to have an oversight committee, this board has to be very clear on the expectations and timelines that we assign. I agree that public safety is probably number one,” he said.
“I think the board has the responsibility to set the guidelines.”
County Manager Lloyd Kerr told commissioners the committee’s responsibility would be in an advisory capacity only.
“The intent of the oversight committee would be in an advisory capacity,” he said, “They monitor progress and give regular reports on what is happening.
“They would not be empowered to make decisions over the expenditure of the money, but simply to make recommendations to help in your decision making process.”
Under the proposed framework each commissioner will make one appointment to the committee. The other two members would be appointed one each by the BOC chairman and city manager.
After the discussion, commissioners voted unanimously to table the final vote on the committee until the BOC’s Dec.5 meeting.