Some good decisions by Newton County in the past have led to a current situation where we have a reliable water supply. The supply is such that if the theoretical doors of the county were to be shut right now, we probably would have plenty of water for the use of our children and grandchildren.
Of course, that’s not going to happen. For any tax-funded county or municipality to thrive and survive, more revenue must be brought in. That happens through industry and population growth. There are several population models that Newton County officials have at their disposal, but one thing has been certain — all show growth.
Our current business population also draws on our water, and any future business expansion will need the vital element as well. Every industry that approaches Newton County asks the same questions – how much water do we have, will we have and how much can we spare?
From what we’ve come to understand, one such company, larger than Baxter International — we’ve been told — had looked at Newton County and may move on due to lack of viable water plans in the future.
On the planning table for years has been the idea of a reservoir at Bear Creek. That has now again become a hot topic and the subject of much angst in the community.
The project is expensive, long-range in vision and begs the question of whether it is needed now, prompting a public outcry. Such an outcry essentially killed the 2050 Plan that was to set up zoning and ordinances for the future of Newton County.
These outcries are often shrill and personal.
We say there is no need for that. We believe that most sensible people of the county want a workable water plan to ensure their future, their children’s future and their grandchildren’s future.
We think that county officials should appoint a blue ribbon committee of sorts composed of citizens who both oppose the Bear Creek project and support it in order to discuss and make suggestions regarding it and other future water projects.
The sniping and nastiness needs to end. Newton County should set an example of civil debate for the rest of the state.
Let’s put the meanness and personal rhetoric aside and channel our collective experience towards a positive outcome. Wouldn’t that be a breath of fresh air for a change?