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The heat is on
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It's hot outside, but it's been even hotter in Newton County Chairman Kathy Morgan's office of late as the county works on its budget.

Morgan has taken the point as the county government contends with a $2.6 million drop in property tax revenues as it tries to balance its budget.

Hard decisions have to be made and she's at least confronting the shortfall and putting alternatives on the table.

We upped the heat on her in the past week regarding her advocacy of a millage increase in lieu of any possible cuts in an already lean county workforce. She contends that while the county has to balance its budget, it also has to provide an adequate level of services to keep Newton County an attractive, viable community.

We see her point, but still contend that all options, including further reductions in workforce, need to be on the table to balance this budget without raising taxes on our distressed citizenry.

We also call on her fellow commission members to step up and do more than just say no. There is more than one vote on the commission, and its members need to provide input and leadership on this crucial issue.

For example, Commissioners Mort Ewing and Tim Fleming have said they would not support a millage increase, but have not publicly advocated specific cuts in personnel and services to balance the books.

And then there's Commissioner J.C. Henderson. He said he won't support a tax increase if the county also tries to increase user fees.

Unfortunately that logic is misguided. Not only are the commissioners going to have to cut the budget, they are going to have to raise fees to keep the budget balanced.

We want and need our commissioners to stand up to the heat like Chairman Morgan and take a stand.

We also want and need you all to work together on this. When more than one person is involved, factions are inevitable, but we need grownups in the room to craft a viable budget that keeps the tax burden at its present level.

We're counting on you to do what we elected you to do: Run our county in a solid, businesslike way.