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Covington asks for seven on 2050 panel
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The Covington City Council decided to level the playing field or just not play when it comes to the 2050 Plan.

Newton County Board of Commissioners Chairman Keith Ellis last week announced that a 13-member citizens' panel would be formed to discuss the details of the 200-page plan for the county's growth, with members appointed by each county commissioner, each municipality, the board of education and the water and sewer authority.

But Monday night, Covington officials questioned the panel's makeup, with councilman Chris Smith pointing out that city has paid as much for the plan as the county, or $50,000 per year. The council agreed that the mayor should call the county and demand seven members on the panel. 

Mayor Ronnie Johnston said he'd call immediately: "This is no small thing. This (plan) is a big deal."

Johnston said the plan's impact on the city as the "receiver" of transferrable development rights via the plan is something Covington can't take lightly.