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Newton board set to discuss budget requests, fireworks show contribution
Newton County Historic Courthouse
The Historic Courthouse in Covington where the Newton County Board of Commissioners meets. - photo by File Photo

COVINGTON, Ga. — Newton County Board of Commissioners is set to discuss requests made for its 2023 budget during a workshop session Tuesday, April 19, at 6 p.m. at the Historic Courthouse in Covington.

The Board is scheduled to discuss the budget requests after hearing from department heads, constitutional officers, elected officials, organization seeking appropriations and county residents during a series of workshops.

At its 7 p.m. regular meeting, the Board is scheduled to consider requests for assisting Covington with funding the annual July 4 fireworks show and the purchase of a new fire truck, among other items.

According to an agenda released this week for the 7 p.m. meeting, the Board will consider Interim County Manager Jarvis Sims’ request for approval of an intergovernmental agreement with the city of Covington and $10,000 planned for inclusion in the 2023 budget.

Last year, the fireworks display caused some controversy after the Board rescinded a $1,500 donation to the Newton Historical Committee on Black Heritage Preservation after some commissioners expressed concern that a direct donation to the nonprofit would violate a state constitutional ban on gratuities. 

The donation would have gone towards organizing the nonprofit’s annual Juneteenth celebration in 2021. Some commissioners later objected when they said Juneteenth should be given the same priority for funding as the fireworks show.

Following the rescission, the Board approved a new county policy to regulate donations to nonprofits, including a requirement that nonprofits must apply for the money they receive.

Also on the agenda, Newton County Fire Chief Mike Conner will request $1.6 million for the purchase of an aerial fire truck.

Funding for the truck is already budgeted and will come from the Fire Services department’s dedicated Fire Fund, according to the agenda.

Finance Director Brittany White also is scheduled to give the March 2022 financial report and request approval of a contract with Piedmont Healthcare for medical services such as physicals and similar tests, to be given to Newton County employees.

BOC Chairman Marcello Banes also will recognize A Child’s Voice Advocacy Center’s Client Services Coordinator and Family Advocate DeAnna Fort and issue a proclamation to acknowledge April as “Child Abuse Prevention Month.”

The Board meets in the third floor meeting room at 1124 Clark St. in Covington. For more information, call 770-784-2000 or visit