Dear Sirs: After blasting Commissioners Mort Ewing and Tim Fleming over their "SPLOST" list which included the ag center and monies for more "civic centers" and parks in district Four, I must commend them for voting no on the purchase of the Norfolk Southern rail line. This is one of the most contentious subjects I can remember coming before the Covington City Council and the Board of Commissioners in quite a while. The Covington Council has voted no twice, now with a no from the Commissioners maybe it has come to a rest.
While I believe a very small group is convinced this is the way for Covington and Newton County to grow, I and most concerned citizens have serious doubts. Had our County Commissioners over the last couple of decades not decided to turn Western Newton County into riches for a few developers, which now are crime infested undesirable neighborhoods, we possibly could be poised to take on projects such as this. However, while the nation's economy was growing at leaps and bounds, the developers and builders were making huge profits, not concerned about the quality of housing, whether we could afford to build schools or had the infrastructure to support it.
Now the county is out of money, and some don't seem to understand we need to make serious cuts in the budget. Based on the large number of unsold developed lots, houses and the increasing number of foreclosures each month, it will be years before there will be any appreciable growth in the county tax digest. All the commissioners need to understand we elected them to run the county as they would their personal business. It is time for every local government that levies a property tax to recognize they will be facing less income for many years to come. When times get tough, cuts in personnel, services and programs must be done.
If we'll wait long enough, it is possible the railroad will be abandoned and N/S will want to give it away instead of paying the trivial amount of taxes it will owe to Newton County.