KCNB still working despite cuts

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

COVINGTON -- Keep Covington-Newton Beautiful is continuing to provide puppet shows educating children about taking care of the environment and other programs, despite drastic funding and staffing cuts.

Executive Director Connie Waller retired last year and it remains uncertain whether the county will hire a replacement. Waller's retirement was related to health issues and not budget cuts, but two full-time employees were affected when KCNB's budget was slashed by 54 percent in July due to a countywide shortfall. Those employees now do some work for the KCNB office, but most of their duties have been transferred to other county departments. The chairman of KCNB's executive committee recently resigned due to other commitments and a new chair has not yet been selected.

Despite all this, the organization is still going and volunteers plan on it being around for a long time.

"We're not out of business at all. Newton County has a lot of volunteers that take this very seriously, and we're continuing to carry out these programs," said Jonathan Paschal, who chairs KCNB's Communications Committee.

KCNB still has upward of 100 dedicated volunteers, Paschal said, and the executive board and various committees are still active.

"We will continue to operate successfully. The question is with what intensity and that will be determined by staffing," he said.

Whether an executive director or other staff will be hired will be up to the Board of Commissioners. Chairman Kathy Morgan could not be reached for comment regarding KCNB's future.

KCNB's fiscal year 2011 budget is $56,500, and is split between the county and city, with staff considered county employees.

A new chairman will be selected for the executive board at the earliest opportunity, and whatever happens, Paschal said some county officials have pledged their support for the program.

"We're hopeful that we can get an executive director. We're not even considering hanging it up," Paschal said.

KCNB focuses on litter prevention, beautification and community programs, waste reduction and recycling and water conservation and pollution prevention. It's programs include Adopt-a-Mile, Cover Your Loads Campaign, the Great American Cleanup and various other cleanup and educational programs.