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Letter: Millage rate increase
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Dear Editor,

I try to be reasonable. I truly do. While some elected officials have continually painted me and others as radicals who hate government, this could not be further from the truth. We don’t hate government, but we get upset over irresponsible spending by our elected officials. If you ask my wife, she will say that there are times that I have been unreasonable but I assure the reader I am working on this issue. Some have said that my public stand against the current tax increase being considered is unreasonable. Let me state that from my perspective that in no way do I feel as if I am unreasonable on this issue.

Despite commitments by this board two years ago to get Newton County’s finances in order, they are once again looking to burden the citizens with yet another millage rate increase. In addition to dictating that every citizen turnover a bigger percentage of their hard earned income this board is also creating new fees for residents to pay. Why is this not considered unreasonable? While some have said that we should give those on the board a chance to do the right thing it has become apparent that they refuse to make decisions that benefit the citizens. This board seems more concerned with not upsetting the applecart than with being responsible with our tax dollars.

Two years have gone by since the commitment to examine making our county government more efficient. We have yet to see anything of substance concerning our monies on exorbitant legal fees. We have heard what a great person W. Thomas Craig is from members of this board. However, I have yet to hear one of them take any personal responsibility for this gross abuse of tax payer’s money. Not one member of this board has publicly been willing to set a date to stop spending money on the Bear Creek Reservoir project. This boondoggle has been in the works for over 17 years at the cost to citizens of over $21 million. We as citizens continue to subsidize entities within the county that compete with private businesses.

To myself and others, the lack of movement by those on the board is unreasonable. The commissioners tell us that this is the best budget that the county has ever had. The Chairman says this budget is more in line with our actual spending. Which brings about a question of why the members of this board have in the past voted for a budget that they knew was not accurate? They are admitting that they had previously lied to those that they are elected to represent, but now say, “trust us this time.”

There is even one commissioner who has publically stated that he will not vote for this budget, but he has repeatedly voted for spending funds that he knew were not available. By my estimation, this is worse than saying you are going to do something and not following through on your commitments. It is political grandstanding and disingenuous.

As we move forward, we need to ask ourselves what type of governance we expect from our elected officials. Should we expect a representative type government that does what the people want, or should we accept a government that says our officials are here to make decisions that go against our beliefs as those governed? We should also ask the officials on this board what type of governance they are willing to give us. I choose governance of the people, by the people and for the people.

Aaron Brooks