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In response
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Dear Editor: ? On Tuesday, Jan. 13 there was a Public Work Session held after the Public Hearing regarding the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. This work session was held at The Newton County Recreation Complex in the B.C. Crowell meeting room.

 At this work session we talked about what was going to be placed on the Jan. 20 agenda. At that time I requested that Marcia Allen give us a financial update at the Jan. 20 meeting. I stated that I believed five working days should be enough time to get any information anyone would need on these additions. I remember saying that, if at any time, the majority of the board did not think this was enough information, then we could table it or vote up or down at our Jan. 20 meeting.

 This was the first time I remember us ever voting to hear a financial update. At this meeting Ms. Allen said there was a projected $3.5 million dollar deficit. It was written in the Covington News Editorial, that called me one of the Three Stooges, that more time was needed before we try to start to set some type of control over a budget deficit. This deficit seems to be getting bigger and bigger. I must admit the "Three Stooges" were right.

At the FFA Camp, at our Commissioner Retreat on (Team Building/Budget Projected Report) on Jan. 30, 31, Mr. Wayne Tamplin, our auditor, reported we now have a projected $5.3 million dollar deficit, which was also reported by The Covington News. I agree with our chairman that we need to start talking to department heads and constitutional officers, getting them involved to find ways to cut this historic deficit.

? Because this board is being fiscally responsible for our tax dollars in 2002, the Board of Commissioners put a dollar limit for quotes and bids from $50,000 to $20,000. If there was ever a time that we need to watch what we spend, it is now.

? In the history of Newton County we have never had a deficit of over $5 million dollars. High unemployment, in Newton County major stores like Goody’s going out of business. People losing their homes, retiring with no retirement benefits because of losing it in the stock market.

? If there was ever a time when we needed prayer, it is now.

? So, on Feb. 21 at 2 p.m. on the Square or inside the Courthouse, we ask that Pastor James Russell of Rising Son Christian Church and all other ministers and pastors come and join with us to lead us in prayer for these tough economic times.

J.C. Henderson

Newton County

Commissioner, District 4