COVINGTON -- The city of Covington will mow overgrown grass on the rights of way of the Central of Georgia Railroad (also known as Norfolk Southern) property at street intersections and behind residences and businesses.
There have been numerous resident complaints regarding the unkempt property, prompting the city to obtain an agreement with the railroad to enter the property to cut the grass and cut fallen trees from June 1 through Sept. 2, said City Manager Steve Horton. The work will be done at no cost to the railroad and the city will be required to provide before and after photos of the property to the railroad.
In other news, the city is cracking down on residents who have junk cars on their property. The council passed an ordinance allowing inoperable cars and those without valid license plates in residential districts only if they are fully enclosed in a building, provided that the owner is in the process of repairing or reconditioning the vehicle for personal use. Storage for salvage of parts is not permitted.
The council also agreed to advertise the lease of 5.2 acres of property near Covington Municipal Airport at 70 and 71 Richardson Road. The city has had an inquiry from an interested party about extending a cow pasture there, but Horton said by law the city must open up the opportunity to the public.
Whoever leases the property would be required to maintain it, a task that now falls to the city, and to erect a fence and provide liability insurance. Councilman Keith Dalton expressed concerns about livestock escaping and getting onto the airport runway, but Assistant Transportation Manager Terry Savage said there is already a 6-foot chain link fence that should keep them out.
A clause can be put in the contract to allow the city to take over the land before the five-year lease is up with adequate notice, Horton said.
Finally, the City Council approved a change to the purchasing policy requiring that appraisals be obtained on property before it is sold or purchased by the city. Councilman Chris Smith requested the change after learning there was no appraisal made on lots in Walker's Bend purchased by the Redevelopment Authority. The requirement would apply to fee simple transactions and not lease agreements.
The council also changed the policy to require a mandatory meeting when more than one qualified bidder picks up a bid packet to provide an opportunity for parties to ask questions.
"We need to add quality and clarity to the final bid," Horton said, noting that there have been instances where requirements were interpreted different ways by different providers.