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BOC approves lowering speed limit, de-annexation request

NEWTON COUNTY, Ga. - The Newton County Board of Commissioners voted to approve a Georgia Department of Transportation request to lower the speed limit on a portion of Highway 81

The current speed limit on the short stretch between Covington and Porterdale is 45 mph. The speed limit drops to 35 mph inside Porterdale city limits. County Manager Lloyd Kerr said the request to reduce the speed limit from 45 to 40 mph along the stretch would make the transition easier for drivers entering Porterdale.

He said it will also improve safety in the area for other than vehicular traffic. The change was approved 5-0.

Commissioners also approved a resolution authorizing Kerr and County Attorney Megan Martin to research and interview law firms for any county involvement in opioid litigation.

“We have been approached by several law firms that are participating in multi-district litigation regarding opioid abuse,” Martin said. “They have approached the county indicating they are looking to bring lawsuits to recover funds for the opioid crisis around the county.

“Obviously we would be looking at how it affects Newton County.”

The resolution authorizes Martin and Kerr to meet with law firms regarding opioid litigation and report back to the BOC with a recommendation regarding a law firm in March. The resolution passed 5-0.

Commissioners also approved a resolution consenting to the deannexation by the City of Covington of property located at 695 Moore St. and approved a 120-day moratorium barring acceptance of land disturbance and development permits on the property.

The county’s zoning department said the moratorium will allow the county time to properly zone the property and prevent it from being developed un-zoned. Both measures passed 5-0.