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Safety everyones concern
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With a declining tax digest and recessionary pressures continuing, yet another round of budget cuts are inevitably facing Newton County commissioners. They met in a retreat this past week and have begun the budgeting discussions.

One area of concern is spending on public safety, which accounts for almost half of county spending.

Commissioners and Sheriff Ezell Brown face some hard budgetary decisions. Spending has to be contained, but at what cost? Here’s the conundrum: Brown wants to keep us safe, as do commissioners, but costs have to be contained.

The sheriff’s department exceeded its budget by $1.8 million two years ago, and by about half that amount last year.

But the sheriff also needs to keep deputies on the road and jailers at work around-the-clock. Furloughs don’t work when you have 24-hour responsibilities.

We are confident that our sheriff and commissioners will work together in shaping a lean but sensible budget.

But it’s up to each of us as Newton County citizens to let our elected representatives know our priorities.

Do we want to make public safety a paramount concern, hang the cost? If so, what other services are we willing to cut back on or forego?

Cuts are in order, but there are consequences.

It’s up to the boss (that’s us) to decide what we can live with.