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Just say no
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There's a gap that needs to be bridged in the Newton County budget, and it's going to take some resolve on the part of county commissioners to do the right thing.

Property tax collections are down by $2.6 million, costs are up, and the county is considering a $48.4 million operating budget. There is $2.1 million in additional spending than is in the current budget of $46.3 million.

The county is considering increasing the millage rate and imposing user fees for some services.

Commissioners need to say no.

No new taxes.

No new fees.

We applaud Commissioners Mort Ewing and Nancy Schultz who want the county to use the current budget numbers for a starting point. They understand that we can't afford more spending.

Times are still hard, we're all feeling it, and that's impacting the money coming into Newton County to pay for basic services.

Many of us can sympathize as we deal with furlough days, pay cuts and job losses that have cut household income even while expenses for such basics as gas and groceries climb.

We have had to cut back on what we spend when the money's not there. It's simple, but hard.

That's also what county government needs to do with our tax money: When the money is not coming in, you have to cut your expenses.

It's a nice gesture for the county to consider restoring five unpaid holidays to its workers, but now's not the time. We need to hold the line on spending across the board.

Chairman Kathy Morgan wants input on the budget from county residents. Tell her what you think with an email at