Dear Editor: As Mayor for the City of Covington, I am proud to inform our citizens that today, Nov. 19, 2012, we have taken the first step toward securing a harmonious future for film-making in Covington.
At 10 a.m., newly appointed members of the Covington Film Review Committee met for the first time. Serving along with me as Committee members and attending the meeting were Irene R. Smith, John A. Howard, Teresa Waters, Barbara Morgan, Reverend Doug Gilreath, Susan Kirk, Willie Davis, and Andi Behring.
Also in attendance was Danielle Everson with the Covington News and City of Covington City Manager, Steve Horton. The first Meeting's agenda included a brief history of filming in Covington and Newton County, the economic impact of filming\the film industry in Covington\Newton County, why the Film Committee is needed at this time, and that the hoped for outcome is for a win\win solution to be reached to the mutual benefit of residents, business owners\operators, and the film production company alike.
A very critical point that was emphasized at the meeting by me, as Mayor, is a review of information that was recently cited in the Covington News by Kevin Langston, Deputy Commissioner for Tourism for the State of Georgia wherein he stated that "direct tourist spending topped $100 million in 2011 and created or sustained 990 jobs in Covington\Newton County."
These are not projected monies and jobs, they are real "right now" community-wide benefits. Further emphasized was, how do we replace these revenues and jobs if we fail to do our best at securing a workable future in Covington for the film industry.
The Committee surely has it work cut out, but we are up to the task that is before us. We will meet again and begin sorting out the issues and developing solutions on November 26, 2012. I will work to keep you, the citizens of our great city, informed as to the progress that the Committee is making.