New position will focus on small business recruitment

COVINGTON -- The Covington City Council Monday approved the hiring of a new position that will focus on small retail economic development. The position will come under the umbrella of the Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce.

The city will redirect $93,000 it currently allocates to Electric Cities of Georgia in order to fund the position. Mayor Ronnie Johnston said that $93,000 would not necessarily be solely to fund the salary.

ECG provides economic and strategic services to community-owned utility systems that sell public power.

Mayor Ronnie Johnston has previously said that he wants a person focused on small business, such as restaurants and retail, recruitment. The position would not be limited to the city but would focus countywide, he said.

In other news, the City Council approved an 8.208 millage rate for fiscal year 2014. The millage rate has remained the same for the past six years. If property tax collections are at 100 percent, the city will collect an estimated $4.55 million in tax revenues.

The council previously approved a budget of $133,463,892 in revenues and $132,713,281 in expenditures. After appropriations are made to the employe retirement reserve and the cemetery trust reserve, the city's contingency funds total $456,214.