Dear Editor: Some things just don’t change. Eight years ago the Board of Commissioners refused to put the county alcohol-by-the-drink issue to a public vote citing they didn’t have enough time and information. Two of the commissioners who on Aug. 3, 2010, refused once again to let the public vote on the issue are the same commissioners who voted no in 2002 for the same reason. What have they been doing for the last eight years?
I went with my family this past weekend to The Olive Garden Restaurant to our west. There were over 150 customers seated with a long line waiting. I counted at least 40 persons working there (jobs!). On the way home I saw parking lots full at Red Lobster and Chili’s.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if those restaurants and jobs were here in Newton County with the tax dollars they generate supporting our county budget, not to mention the convenience to get there. Dollars were flowing west to Rockdale and DeKalb counties eight years ago. Now they are flowing east as well to Morgan and Walton Counties.
One commissioner says, "The concern I expressed is that this is a complex, complicated issue." It is neither complex nor complicated at all. It is very simple — keep tax dollars in Newton County. One can easily make the case that had those dollars stayed here over the last eight years, the recent "rollback" tax increase would not be necessary.
We will have to wait a little longer and lose more tax revenue while two commissioners learn what a vast majority of the residents of the county already know.
As to the third naysayer, he won’t be voting next time. His self-serving agenda was thankfully ended by his constituents in the recent primary.
It is long past time that the citizens of Newton County are given a chance to vote on the on-site consumption referendum.