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Citizens will get chance to sound off on tax hike
Commissioners want to raise millage rate to fund raises
Historic Courthouse on Square

COVINGTON, Ga. – The Newton County Board of Commissioners will hold a series of public hearings Monday to talk about the county’s upcoming fiscal year.

Hearings are scheduled for 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. to give citizens a chance to sound off about a proposed tax increase in the county’s FY 2019 budget.

In June, commissioners decided by a 4-1 consensus to move ahead with plan to hike the county’s millage rate 0.56 mills, to 14.002 mills from 13.441.

Commissioners will hear from citizens at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday about the new budget itself.

The new budget calls for county employees to receive 100 percent of the increases recommended in a market pay study. 

Like last year, the FY 2019 budget calls for the raises to be given in two phases, with 60 percent being given effective July 1 and employees seeing the remaining 40 percent in January 2019. It also calls for a step plan for future employee raises.

It also calls for staffing increases of one new employee each for magistrate court, probate court and juvenile court.

Slightly larger increases in staffing are planned for the roads department, facilities, development services and the tax assessor’s office.

Public safety gets the largest number of new positions in the proposed budget with slots for 12 new sheriff’s deputies and firefighters being added. Seven additional jail positions are also included.

County Finance Director Nicole Cross said the budget includes $265,313 going into the county’s contingency fund along with $250,000 each going into cash reserves and the fund balance.

All of the public hearings will be held in the commissioners’ boardroom at the Historic Courthouse at 1124 Clark St. SW.