COVINGTON, Ga. - Newton County Board of Commissioners purchased 1.91 acres of land from the Rising Son Christian Church with a 3-2 vote during a special called meeting Thursday, June 27. This comes after the purchase agreement was tabled during the June 18 meeting.
District 4 Commissioner J.C. Henderson, District 5 Commissioner Ronnie Cowan and District 2 Commissioner T. Demond Mason voted to approve the purchase. District 1 Commissioner Stan Edwards and District 3 Commissioner Nancy Shultz voted in opposition of the purchase.
On June 10, Chairman Marcello Banes signed a purchase agreement, which started a 30-day due diligence period, for the property after the commissioners agreed upon the set price of $30,000 in a previous executive session. County Attorney Megan Martin said the property was appraised at $19,100 and assessed at $22,500.
On June 18, the BOC held a meeting with the purchase agreement being listed as an agenda item. Martin announced to the public that phase one of environmental testing was returned as positive, meaning no issues were found, and the title work was ordered. Martin was seeking the board’s official approval for the purchase.
Martin confirmed that Rising Son had a $3,000 outstanding rental payment for the property. The outstanding payment had not been paid as of the June 18 meeting.
Shultz questioned the purchase price of the property during the June 18 meeting, stating it was too high. In return, Henderson pointed out the price had been agreed upon during the previous executive session.
Henderson stated, “everybody sat around the table and agreed upon the $30,000 amount.” He added that he loved the residents of Nelson Heights and “we should all love one another.”
Henderson is a member and the chairman of the deacon board for Rising Son, according to Newton County’s website. He called for the executive session minutes to be posted during the June 18 meeting.
“If I tell you something out on the street, I will back it up behind this seat,” Henderson said.
The funding for the purchase will come from the 2017 special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST). The land will be used for recreational activities within Nelson Heights community.