Newton County FY 2020 Proposed Budget_201905221030150371.jpg

SpecialThe fiscal year 2020 budget, which is 5.7% greater than the revised 2019 budget, is based on an overall projected 9% increase in the value of all taxable property in the county.

COVINGTON — Newton County commissioners approved a millage rate last week that will result in a tax increase for some county property owners.

Although the millage rate — 13.43 mills — is slightly less than last year’s rate of 13.441, taxpayers whose properties were assessed at a greater value will see an increase in their tax bills, and the county will collect more taxes overall.

The vote on the millage rate initially deadlocked, with District 1 Commissioner Stan Edwards and District 3 Commissioner Nancy Schulz opposed and District 2 Commissioner Demond Mason and District 5 Commissioner Ronnie Cowan in favor. District 4 Commissioner J.C. Henderson abstained. Chairman Marcello Banes broke the tie in favor of the millage rate.

A similar scenario played out in July when commissioners approved the $68.9 million fiscal year 2020 budget — Edwards and Schulz were opposed, while Cowan and Mason were in favor, with Henderson abstaining. At that time, Banes said it was the first tie-breaking vote he had cast during his tenure.

The fiscal year 2020 budget, which is 5.7 percent greater than the revised 2019 budget, is based on an overall projected 9 percent increase in the value of all taxable property in the county.

Some highlights of the budget include:

♦ Step level increases for all employees for a total of $1,823,101;

♦ A health insurance premium increase of approximately $445,000;

♦ Funding to initiate a fleet management program at $200,000;

♦ An increase of $300,000 transferred to the Capital Improvement Fund;

♦ Contingency funding of $409,014; and

♦ Seven new positions, totaling $373,589 — two tag/tax technicians in the Tax Commissioner’s Office; a Magistrate Court judge; a deputy clerk for the Clerk of Court’s Office; a field instructor for Fire Services; a part-time custodian for Facilities Management; and a GIS analyst for the GIS Department.

Editor

I have been editor of the Rockdale Citizen since 1996 and editor of the Newton Citizen since it began publication in 2004. I am also currently executive editor of the Clayton News Daily, Henry Daily Herald and Jackson Progress-Argus.

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