The Covington City Council has amended its 2023 operating and capital budget to bolster spending on streets, the police and fire protection.
The council on June 6 unanimously approved an ordinance that released just over a half-million dollars from the city’s general fund. Of that amount, $310,000 was moved to the current year’s streets department budget.
The move will allow the city to purchase a new, $250,000 street sweeper. The other $60,000 will be used to build “equipment protection structures” at the city’s public works yard.
Covington officials said city equipment stored at the yard is exposed to rain and other weather elements, which can damage or shorten the life span of the machinery.
The budget amendment approved by the council also allocates $89,770 to the police department to create a new patrol officer position. That amount includes the new officer’s salary for the remainder of 2023 and money for a new police car.
The fire department will receive an additional $104,087 as a result of the budget amendment. That money will go toward the purchase of a new fire rescue vehicle.
The council originally approved the approximately $31 million budget for 2023 on Nov. 1 of last year. It featured roughly $23.6 million in operational expenses, about $7.3 million in capital expenditures and around $400,000 for debt services. It also included a 6% cost of living pay hikes for many city employees and money to hire a grants writer and a permits inspector.
The June 6 council meeting was the last for outgoing council member Cody Ludwig, who in April lost her bid for reelection to the District D seat to longtime St. Tammany Parish teacher and coach Jimmy Inman.
Ludwig was praised by her council colleagues and Mayor Mark Johnson for her dedication in serving her community. She said her four-year stint on the council was a “wonderful experience” and vowed to continue serving the community in other ways.
The District D seat was the lone municipal race on the ballot this spring in Covington. All other offices — mayor and six City Council positions — were won by candidates who ultimately ran unopposed.
Ludwig won the seat four years ago with no challengers. Before serving on the council, she sat on the city's Planning and Zoning Commission and served as the city's cultural arts and events coordinator.