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Transparency and public safety are two priorities in county’s first Strategic Plan
Newton County

COVINGTON, Ga. – Cultivating a culture of trust and providing a safe and secure community are two of the priorities in Newton County’s recently unveiled Strategic Plan.

The three-year plan first discussed two years ago at a BOC retreat, is the result of months of conversations and discussions between citizens, business owners and other stakeholders and county officials about what stakeholders see as needs and what they would like to see as the county moves forward.

The plan says that Newton County’s Vision is to “be a thriving community united through strong relationships and partnerships.

Among the strategies listed is for the county to commit to a transparent government by holding open forums with elected officials and the general public along with keeping elected officials, county staffers and the public updated.

It also calls for the county to establish a Citizen’s Academy – Newton County Government 101- to teach county residents about their government. Another recommendation is to make sure that county employees have adequate training, equipment and BOC support to provide for citizens’ needs.

Among the strategies for providing a safe and secure community, the plan calls for participation in schools’ career days and offering education into dog bite prevention, rabies and responsible pet ownership.

It also calls for continued inspections of life safety systems such as fire, security, elevators and generators along with continued work with the sheriff’s office on facility disaster plans that would include” tornado drills, bomb threats, active shooter and fire evacuation, etc.”

The plan also calls for building the approved fire station of the north side of the county and staffing all fire apparatuses to standards set forth by the National Fire Protection Association.

Strengthening the bridge between law enforcement and the community is also a top priority. The plan recommends educating the “community on safe methods and habits to effectively protect their persons and property; to include crimes against the elderly and “crimes of opportunity”.

The plan suggests hiring and retaining law enforcement personnel along with a focus to educate students at the county’s schools on safe environments and combat gang-related activities.

Among the strategies for enhancing the quality of life in Newton County is a recommendation to create a “multi-disciplinary approach to addressing unsafe environments in existing parts of the county” and a transit study to determine the feasibility of public transportation in the county.

The 26-page document also officially introduces what it calls Newton County’s “Rallying Cry” which it describes as “a powerful, motivating belief which inspires people to unite and act in support of a particular idea” – OneNewton.

According to a document received from the county’s finance office, expenses for the Strategic Plan totaled $196,000 over a period from Oct. 2017 until January of this year.

The consulting firm facilitating the focus groups and the Strategic Planning process was Organizations By Design.