I hope everyone in Newton County read the recent article about the new chairman of the Newton County Chamber of Commerce and his remarks. Mr Murphy hit the nail on the head several times in his comments. He stated that only 10 of 98 Baxter employees located in Newton and that we have to find out why. That is true. With Newton in at 35 percent, we have to do better. He also mentioned that we have to attract more core business to Newton County. That is true. We have to attract businesses that we have the workforce to fill and that will increase our revenue stream. He also mentioned that we have to get more input from county leaders and citizens of our county. That is also true. Believe it or not, we have citizens in Newton who have good ideas and good heads on their shoulders. I hope all our elected leaders and community leaders will work with Mr Murphy to move our county forward.
Now, I would like to add my two cents in. I believe to attract these businesses, good eating establishments, good clothing stores and other high-end businesses, as well as Baxter employees, that we have to make some short-term sacrifices to lower taxes.
We have to get our county and school millage rates down to more comparable levels with the counties we will be competing with for these businesses. If we could lower our county millage to around 10 and our school millage to around 16 to 18 ( closer to the state average) OR raise homestead exemptions, then freeze them for 2 to 5 years, then we would start seeing some of this business and Baxter employees moving here. It may even take a freeze on impact fees to spur the quality growth. Yes, it will be hard on our governments short term, but it will show these businesses that we are a county that wants them to locate here. Long term, it would increase revenue streams and add to our quality of life. Just my two cents.