H.E.A.T. helps with winter bills

COVINGTON -- The Covington City Council recently agreed once again to include the option for utility customers to participate in the Heating Energy Assistance Team, or H.E.A.T., program.

H.E.A.T. provides assistance to Georgia residents in need of help paying winter heating bills.

H.E.A.T. provided more than $540,000 to nearly 1,600 households statewide tis past winter.

"Even more families needed help, but because of lack of funds, they could not receive assistance," according to a press release issued by H.E.A.T. "Each year the need for energy assistance grows, while federal funding generally decreases. The local community can help meet that need through programs like H.E.A.T."

City of Covington customers can donate through their utility bills or online at www.heatga.org. Donations can also be mailed to H.E.A.T., Wells Fargo Bank, P.O. Box 930112, Atlanta, GA, 31193. For more information, contact H.E.A.T. at 678-406-0212.

H.E.A.T. began as a program of Atlanta Gas Light Company in 1983. With the deregulation of Georgia's natural gas industry, H.E.A.T. became a separate 501c3 nonprofit in May 2000. During the past 21 years, the organization has distributed nearly $21 million to more than 90,000 families in Georgia.

In other news, Mayor Ronnie Johnston cast the tie-breaking vote at the City Council's Sept. 17 meeting in favor of the city including diversity and inclusion in its strategic plan.

The council was split 3 to 3, with Councilmen Mike Whatley, Chris Smith and Keith Dalton and Councilwomen Janet Goodman, Hawnethia Williams and Ocie Franklin in favor. The city will pay $14,500 to the Centre for Strategic Management in Conyers, facilitators of the strategic plan, to incorporate diversity into the plan. That process will include meeting with key city staff and the council to define diversity, decide why it's important to the city's strategic plan and come up with approaches to address diversity.