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New group works on Newton planning
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In Newton County’s past government groups worked separately, so when the water authority heard that the school board was working to build a high school down Hwy. 36 it was a bit of a surprise.

The water authority had to work on getting pipes properly equipped to handle Alcovy High School and any neighborhoods that would be associated with it, all the way down Hwy. 36.

That was Newton County’s yesterday. Tuesday was the second meeting of Newton County tomorrow. A nonprofit group originally formed years ago that was recently reorganized to help plan and shape the future of the county.

The group consists of 18 board members made up of elected officials and citizens to widely represent Newton County. Board members are: Keith Ellis, Newton County Board of Commissioners Chairman, Ronnie Johnston, Covington Mayor, Arline Chapman, Porterdale Mayor, Jerry Roseberry, Oxford Mayor, Gregg Ellwanger, Newborn Mayor, Jefferson Riley, Mansfield Mayor, Ralph Staffins, Chamber of Commerce President, Mike Hopkins Newton County Water and Sewarage Authority Executive Director, Samantha Fuhrey, Newton County School System Superintendent, Eric Lee, Springfield Baptist Church Pastor, Stephanie Lindsey, Attorney at the Lindsey Firm, Aaron Brooks, local politician, Rodrick Baker, television engineer, Phillip Johnson, lawyer, Norbert Thompson, Technical Products president, Frank Turner, retired Covington City Manager, David Waller, retired Wildlife Resources Divisioin director and Avis Williams, community minister.
Newton County Tomorrow gathered at Oxford City Hall Tuesday, along with group facilitators John Devine and Burke Walker of the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission.

Devine asked the group several questions about planning and collaborating, helping to jump start Newton County Tomorrow’s efforts.

Those efforts will help the group create future planning, ranging from a comprehensive plan to ways to shape Newton County’s growth, to construction and beyond. The group is made up of both citizens and elected officials, but its efforts will be a tool for local governments to look at. Any plans coming out of Newton County Tomorrow will not be directly sent to a board or council for approval.

Tuesday the group also discussed some differences to what they are doing now and the ill-fated 2050 Plan of a year ago.
“I think that the plan needs some scalpeling,” Turner said. “We need to go back to it with a scalpel, like a surgeon.”
This time around, any plan will not only be communicated to citizens, but helped devised by citizens, the group said.
In just its second meeting, the group is still working on which direction it will head down in helping to plan the future of Newton County.

For more on this story see Friday’s Digital Edition.