The memory of Roy Varner spans the county, and now his name does, too.
Lake Varner in northern Newton County has long memorialized the late county chairman’s foresight in securing a reliable source of water for the community. Tuesday, a southern section of Newton County was also adopted into the Varner clan, in honor of Varner and his son, Aaron, who also served as county chairman.
Sen. John Douglas (R-Social Circle) and Rep. Doug Holt (R-Social Circle) read joint state resolutions at the Newton County Board of Commissioners meeting, naming the section of Georgia Highway 36 from Henderson Mill Road to Georgia Highway 212 as Roy and Aaron Varner Highway.
The resolutions highlighted their achievements. Roy was chairman for 15 years, until 1992 and passed away in June of this year. Senate Resolution 1074 praised his part in creating Lake Varner, securing right of way for the Covington ByPass Road, purchasing modern equipment for the roads department greatly expanding the fire department, building a jail and animal control center and establishing a retirement system for all county employees.
Aaron, Roy's son, was chairman for eight years, and his resolution highlighted his part in adopting a county comprehensive plan, strengthening development regulations and zoning ordinances, implementing impact fees, reducing the gross millage rate, constructing the county administration, promoting the establishment of GPC, making improvements to 184 roads and building five fire stations.
"This is the culmination of a journey started in 1942. Daddy came here for two weeks for a part-time job; little did he know that he was going to here all his life," Aaron Varner said Tuesday. "He loved this county ... He would do anything, travel anywhere and talk about anything. It's an honor and we certainly appreciate you all's efforts."
Holt said when he was first elected, Roy sat down with him to offer advice and share his thoughts on the importance of water.
"He didn't want to be acknowledged or recognized or anything like that. He just wanted to be sure that he was passing the baton to the next generation of legislators to be able to take care of Newton County. As the father, so the son," Holt said.
The Newton County Chamber of Commerce has renewed its search for an economic development professional after its top candidate fell through.
Chamber President Hunter Hall told the Newton County Board of Commissioners that the candidate was unwilling to leave his current community.
While disappointing, Hall said the search was worthwhile, because it sold the chamber on hiring a young up-and-comer, as opposed to an older professional.