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Motion to stop funding The Center fails
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A motion by Newton County District 1 Commissioner John Douglas to suspend funding to The Center for Community Preservation and Planning failed due to lack of support at Tuesday’s Board of Commissioners public meeting.

Douglas made the motion to discontinue the county’s funding of $35,000 to The Center, stating the county “can pick up the telephone and set up our own meetings.”

The Center has been at the center of county controversy, with more than $100,000 in funds from a collaborative of municipalities and government organizations going to help facilitate meetings and projects from the leadership collaborative, which consists of Newton County, Covington, Mansfield, Newborn, Oxford, Porterdale, the Chamber of Commerce, Newton County school System and the Water and Sewer Authority (WSA).

One of the loudest public outcries toward The Center has been the 2050 Plan Baseline Ordinances. The Center was the facilitator of the unpopular zoning plan, which was killed at the previous BOC public meeting. Newton County, Covington and the WSA all recently stopped funding the2050 Plan Baseline Ordinances, with the BOC voting to bring planning for the future into its own planning and zoning department.

Douglas argued that around $1.2 million was spent on the formulation of the 2050 Plan, which became “a product we couldn’t use.”

“I’m not sure if we ought to say 'easy come easy go' with money, or if we ought to hold them responsible for providing a product that didn’t work,” Douglas said. “We had deputies that need pay raises, fire fighters that need pay raises, EMT that need pay raises and other county employees that need pay raises.

“I don’t see how we can continue to pay $105,000 (combined from county, city and the WSA) a year for someone to set up meetings for us.”

However before the motion could come to a vote, a second was never spoken for.