COVINGTON -- The Covington City Council will not consider changing the percentage breakdown of revenue and cost sharing for providing natural gas to Stanton Springs.
Council members declined Monday night to hear a presentation at their next meeting from city of Madison officials regarding the matter. Mayor Ronnie Johnston said the mayor of Madison, Bruce E. Gilbert, has requested that costs and revenues be divided into equal thirds between Covington, Social Circle and Madison. The current agreement, drafted about 10 years ago, according to Johnston, puts the breakdown at 37.5 percent each for Covington and Social Circle and 25 percent for Madison.
Johnston said this is not the first time the Madison mayor has requested a change to percentages. He asked council members if they would hear from Madison officials on June 17. The decision was a unanimous no.
The city will extend a line from where its current line stops east of Ga. Highway 11 and U.S. Highway 278 to provide initial gas service to the park. Later on, as needed, Social Circle and Madison could run lines, said Steve Horton, administrative specialist providing assistance to the mayor.
Regardless of which entity runs lines, the relationship as far as cost and revenue sharing would remain the same.
"Of course until Baxter there was no need to really do anything. Now all of a sudden we've been called to action," Johnston said.
Johnston also said that for the city to run a pipe to the park, it will have to go through a service delivery area belonging to the city of Social Circle.
During a recent meeting with the mayors of Social Circle and Madison, Social Circle Mayor Hal Dally asked Covington to give up some of its service territory, according to Johnston. The property in question is located north of I-20, bounded on the east by U.S. Highway 278 and on the west by Ga. Highway 11.
"I, without asking y'all, said no, that's not going to happen," Johnston told the council.
Johnston said he expects there will be growth in that area, but it is currently not generating revenue.
Johnston said the response was that Social Circle may not allow Covington to run a natural gas line through its service area.
The Social Circle mayor thought it made more sense for Social Circle to serve that area because it already has lines north of the interstate, said Horton.
However, Johnston is proposing a compromise. About two years ago, as part of adoption of a required safety plan between the city and other providers, Covington transferred a service delivery area near Social Circle city limits to Social Circle, said Horton. Johnston is proposing that property, along with the property that Social Circle now wants, be subject to an intergovernmental agreement that would split costs and revenues of service between the two cities 50-50.
The City Council agreed to have staff get more information and will discuss the matter at its June 17 meeting.