The Newton County Board of Commissioners (BOC) honored Deputy Justin White Tuesday evening by requesting the local legislative delegation to have a portion of Georgia Highway 162 renamed to the Deputy Justin White Memorial Highway.
Newton County Chair Keith Ellis read a resolution to White’s family and several members of the sheriff’s office stating the board’s support for the memorial. In order for the state highway to be renamed it must go in front of the legislative assembly at the state level.
“The Newton County Board of Commissioners wishes to communicate their support to rename that portion of the road to the Newton County legislative delegation,” said Ellis in reading the proclamation. “The Newton County Board of Commissioners deems it in the best interest to support introduction of such legislation.”
White died from injuries sustained in a car accident while in the line of duty on Oct. 30. He is the first member of the Newton County Sheriff’s Office (NCSO) to die in the line of duty.
“Mr. Chair, I always strive to be the first in a number of things …” Sheriff Ezell Brown said. “This is one thing I did not plan on, in the history of the office of sheriff of 195 years, the loss of the life of an officer has never occurred. That is something I will take with me for the rest of my life.
We realize when we put on the uniforms and these badges it is a passport to harm’s way.”
The motion to start the process to memorialize White on Highway 162, made by District 1 Commissioner John Douglas and seconded by District 4 Commissioner J.C. Henderson, passed unanimously. The sign to go up on Highway 162 was presented to White’s family, including his wife, daughter and aunt, who is also a member of the sheriff’s office.
I’m honored to be a part of this Newton County Sheriff’s Office family and I’m honored for then honoring Justin and just doing everything they can,” said Amanda McGiboney, White’s aunt and a detention worker with the NCSO. “I can’t thank you enough.”
John Middleton Memorial Highway coming
A portion of Brown Bridge Road will be renamed the John Middleton Memorial Highway after a resolution was presented by the BOC Tuesday night.
Middleton, who served as Newton County’s first manager and its finance director, passed away on Feb. 16, 2016. Middleton retired as county manager in 2015.
“He will be missed he is still missed around this horseshoe and in finances,” Henderson said.
Henderson seconded the motion to rename a portion of Brown Bridge Road that was first made by District 2 Commissioner Lanier Sims.
“One memory I have with Mr. Middleton is that we were having a very crowded meeting with a standing-room-only crowd for the Salem Overlay,” Sims said. “Mr. Middleton went up to the balcony and before he went up there he said ‘I will be your eyes in the sky.’”
County employees to receive bonus
Newton County employees will receive a $200 “Christmas Bonus” in the month of December after a unanimous vote by the BOC Tuesday evening.
The Newton County Sheriff’s Office, Tax Commissioner, Clerk of Courts, Public Works and other departments told Ellis it would move money around within its fiscal year 2017 budget to find the funds needed for the bonus.
An amendment to the budget was not needed to accommodate the bonuses of $200 for 585 employees.
“A thank you to all elected officials board and all departments contributed to help make our employees Christmas bonus’ a meaningful bonus,” Newton County Manager Lloyd Kerr said. “Since employees will not be receiving any kind of a raise this year, I think this means quite a bit to them.”
Warehouse to go on newly zoned piece of property
Back and forth over the zoning of a 22 ½ acre piece of property on Cook Road, Moore Street and East Metro Parkway took place Tuesday night.
The property was recently de-annexed by the city of Covington, and didn’t have a zoning or designation on the land use map attached to it. The Newton County Planning Commission recommended an M2 zoning.
Property owner Dale Miller said he intends on building warehouse space on the property. The motion to adopt the land use map passed unanimously and the adoption of zoning as M2 failed 3-2. John Douglas then made a motion to “reconsider the previous question”, which passed unanimously.
The motion to pass the zoning with staff recommendations then failed again as M2.
With confusion concerning the issue, Miller requested the motion be tabled.
Library, janitorial contract funding approved
A janitorial contract with B&C Janitorial Cleaning Service for $22,625.02 was approved by the BOC after a substitute motion to attach $27,000 in library funding failed.
The substitute motion, made by John Douglas, was made, he said, in order to ensure the library received funding just as the janitorial issue and employee raises received funding.
However, that motion failed, and the county approved 3-1-1 with Douglas voting against and Henderson abstaining. Henderson said he abstained due to the fact that the county spent $200,000.
Later in the meeting, Douglas proposed that the library be funded from $27,000 transferred from the public works department’s budget. That motion, seconded by Levie Maddox, passed 3-2 with Henderson voting in favor and Schulz and Sims voting against.