COVINGTON, Ga - The Newton County Board of Commissioners (BOC) voted Tuesday night to approve the $10 million settlement with East Georgia Land and Development Company negotiated and signed April 10.
According to County Attorney Megan Martin, the settlement includes the county’s acquisition of the approximately 424-acre tract on Lower River Road adjacent to the landfill. Martin said the settlement will require the payment of $10 million for claims made by East Georgia.
Martin also said the land is being gifted to the county and that the settlement has a restriction that runs in perpetuity, or forever, that it cannot be used for a landfill or industrial purpose.
According to a press release issued by Public Information Officer Bryan Fazio at the time of the settlement, the land was purchased by the company in 1997 with the intention of creating a regional landfill. That request was denied by the BOC at the time citing a 1985 ordinance. According to the release, when a copy of the ordinance could not be found, “years of legal battles ensued.”
According to the release, the settlement allows the county to avoid the environmental impact of a regional landfill such as the one that was proposed by East Georgia Land.
Fazio said in the release Newton County and East Georgia have been working to resolve the issue for the last two years.
The BOC approved the settlement by a 4-1 vote.
The BOC also approved a request for Newton County Water Resources to ask the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) for permission to repurpose the $21 million GEFA loan allotted for the Bear Creek Reservoir to other water supply projects, including repairs and upgrades on existing water intake structures.
The BOC approved the request 5-0.