The Newton Poll is a weekly compilation of reader comments on subjects of local interest. This week’s poll question was: “A number of citizens have complained about the millage increase approved by commissioners on Monday night. Where would you recommend commissioners cut spending to avoid a tax increase next year?” The Newton Citizen publishes as many comments as space allows. Comments, which may be edited for space or content, are published anonymously on Saturday. To submit a comment, call 770-483-7108, ext. 403, email: poll@newtoncitizen.com or complete the online form.

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“I would start by cutting legal expense to $200,000, which is the rate similar counties pay. Last year we paid over $1,100,000 in legal fees, and this year’s budget is $700,000 most of which was just waste.”

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“I’m going to take a stab in the dark here and say attorney’s fees?”

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“Start in appropriations. Business gives to charity when things are going good, but that is the first to be cut when they have financial trouble. I would have cut appropriations by 50 percent, which would have been a cut of $4 million in this budget of giveaways right off the bat. Next, I would shut down the Bear Creek project with no more money going there. Third, I would send a referendum for the $5 million civic center money to payoff or down debt such as the landfill, so less money would have to come from the general budget. Fourth, I would set a legal budget at $190,000 as similar counties our size run at, even if it means in-house. Fifth, I would allow impact fees to only be used for infrastructure like roads, sewer and water that are stressed by building. No borrowing or bonding of this money for anything else. Next I would make all county elections be nonpartisan so something can get done and not tabled to be allowed to spin out of control. I would work hard to get new commissioners in Districts 3 and 5 to get rid of these two free-spenders because they will always spend and need to go in 2016. All jobs need to be bid for lowest cost and best quality. Establish firm budgets and look at them routinely before it is too late to do anything about them. Then I would be transparent with all the numbers so the citizens can help you watch. Some of our large landowners are getting by with murder on tax appraisers. I would work for fair tax appraisers to get the load off the others. Then I would work to make recreation self supporting. … ”

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