COVINGTON — One of the final acts of outgoing Covington Mayor Ronnie Johnston and outgoing council members Josh McKelvey and Michael Whatley could be the passage of ordinances to designate a “Covington Historic Downtown Entertainment District” and Legion Field as places where the open consumption of alcohol at special events will be allowed.
The first readings for both ordinances will take place at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday night at a called meeting of the City Council. If approved, the second reading and final approval could then take place at the council’s Dec. 9 meeting, their last meeting of the year. McKelvey and Whatley will both be involved in the voting. Johnston will only be involved if it becomes necessary to break a tie of council votes.
Newly-elected mayor Steve Horton and newly-elected council members Fleeta Baggett and Don Floyd will not be sworn into office until January.
McKelvey has sought to set up an entertainment district in the Square, similar to one currently in place in Olde Town Conyers. Open consumption means people would not have to stay in the bars and restaurants where they purchase alcohol, but could carry it from place to place. In Conyers, consumers are required to buy a plastic cup that comes with a sticker on it that the bar or restaurant selling the alcohol signs and dates. McKelvey suggested a similar system for Covington, but wants to add a wrist band to the process to ensure the cups aren’t passed around.
The city put a non-binding resolution on the municipal ballot earlier this month, asking citizens if they wanted limited open consumption of alcohol during special events at Legion Field and the Square district. Voters approved the question by a vote of 1,132 to 742.
At the council meeting on Nov. 12, McKelvey asked if the ordinances could be developed in time for the first reading to take place at the Dec. 3 meeting, but using similar ordinances from cities as guidelines, City Attorney Frank Turner was able to get the ordinances ready for the Nov. 20 called meeting.
Also on the agenda for Wednesday’s meeting is the appointment of a new city manager. Leigh Anne Knight announced her plans to retire at the end of the year back in May, and the city has been seeking and interviewing potential candidates since then. Two weeks ago they announced their final two candidates are Freddy L. Morgan, who is currently the electric director for the city of Covington, and C. Scott Andrews, Ed.D., who is currently the assistant city administrator for the city of Smyrna.
Other items on Wednesday’s agenda include the discussion of the adoption of a Georgia Deaprtment of Transportation (GDOT) procurement policy for the management and administration of engineering and design related consultant services, and discussion of a busdget adjustment for a new position for cemetery and parks.
The City Council will meet in City Hall, 2116 Stallings St. in Covington.