Events on the square can now buy power

COVINGTON - Those hosting private events on the Square in downtown Covington now have the option of paying a fee to use city electricity.

In the past, there has been an unwritten policy that electricity would not be provided unless the event was sponsored by the city, including Main Street Covington, and the county, City Manager Steve Horton said. He added that it would be inappropriate, and possibly unlawful, to give away city utilities for private events.

Due to growing interest in using the Square, Horton said there needs to be a formal policy in place.

The City Council agreed at its June 2 meeting to include an option for electricity on permit applications. Those who elect the option will pay a $30 flat fee.

After being turned down for electricity at a recent rally, members of the Newton County Republican Party complained that other private organizations had been given the service free.

"Our concern was there needed to be some consistency," said State Sen. John Douglas, R-Social Circle, who broached the issue with city officials.

"We worked behind the scenes to get this settled. We had a meeting of the minds and now everybody's happy," he said.

The council also agreed to require that permits be submitted 10 days prior to the scheduled event. Permits can be obtained at www.downtowncovington.org or by calling 770-385-2077.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.