As a Newton County citizen and your Chamber of Commerce president, I am writing to you today to encourage you to go vote. While there are several important issues on the ballot on May 22, one of the most important to the future of our community is the vote for ESPLOST and the General Obligation Bond. ESPLOST is a continuation of the sales tax that is dedicated to our school system and our children. This one penny allows the Newton County School System to do things like build schools, upgrade technology and security, and pay down debt.

If ESPLOST is renewed, over the next six years it will allow the Newton County School System to construct a new Eastside High School, relocate the theme school, enhance technology for all children, increase security at all our schools, and make upgrades to many of our current schools. The Newton County School System has been good stewards of this tax in the past and used it to build Newton High School, build the Newton County College and Career Academy, and provide many other items for the best education possible for our children.

I want to ensure you that this is not a new tax but a continuation of the current sales tax.

One thing that I know for sure is that there is not a better investment to be made than investing in our children. They are the future of our community and deserve the best education, buildings, technology and safety we can provide. The children sitting in our classrooms today will soon be our teachers, doctors and police officers, as well as the leaders right here in Newton County.

Please join me on May 22nd to vote “yes” for ESPLOST and the general obligation bond. This vote will allow the continuation of the current tax and allow the school system to bond the money needed to build the capital projects like Eastside High School. Without the bonds, our children will be forced to wait up to six years to get the needed school.

Ralph Staffins III

President, Covington/Newton Chamber of Commerce

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