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The commissioners were right
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Dear Editor: I want to thank The Covington News for their coverage of the recent alcohol by the drink referendum in Newton County. However, I must say that in my opinion your editorial cartoon was distasteful and not an accurate portrayal of these three commissioners.

Having attended the work session of the Newton Board of Commissioners on Monday, Aug. 2, I did not hear, nor perceive that these men were imposing their personal opinions on this matter upon the public. As the session began the Chairman prefaced the meeting by stating that the issue would not be discussed on the merits of public safety and health. All the commissioners complied with this request.

I want to commend the commissioners because I believe they made the right decision on behalf of the registered voters that elected them to public office and placed their trust in them to make informed decisions. I have not been deprived of the right to vote because of their action. According to your paper, all the Commissioners said they would consider the matter once it was discussed with the public so that all constituents are informed.

It was obvious to those in attendance at the work session that this issue was not researched thoroughly and was brought up to the Board at the last minute in order to have the referendum placed on the November ballot. If this was discussed in February, why wasn’t their a timeline in place to allow public input prior to Aug. 2?

A complete study was not done and the presentation that was made left me as a citizen wanting more.

For example, what restaurants have we missed? I asked this question of commissioners after the meeting and I have yet to receive an answer that we have missed a major chain coming to Newton County.

The city of Snellville was cited as an example of having a decrease in DUI arrests once an referendum was passed. What was not stated was how many additional officers have been employed and how much additional revenue has been expended to achieve these results?

It was noted that all our neighboring counties with the exception of Rockdale have a partial ordinance just like we have. I simply want to know that if it works for them why must we change? There is more at stake here than just increased revenue; public safety and health do need to be addressed.

In reality what I have observed is the same song, just the second verse. The arguments have not changed. The issues are the same. Three exits of I-20 are within the city limits of Covington, which does allow alcohol by the drink. If indeed these restaurants want to locate in Newton County, the last time I looked around at real estate along these exits and along Highway 278, there is ample room and opportunity.

The truth is that these establishments locate where the demographics and location are conducive to their bottom line. Newton County is a commuter community and marketing people know that commuters do not mind traveling on the weekends in the same traffic patterns in which they go to work.

Again, thank you Commissioners Ewing, Simmons and Henderson for your responsible action. Once this issue is studied, then if the Commission chooses to take the issue to the voters, I want to borrow a recent popular campaign slogan and say, Bring it on!