Ewing to seek third term as com­mis­sioner

Lo­cal leader aims to pre­serve rural char­ac­ter

The Covington News - - Front Page - By Rachel Oswald

Promis­ing to work to pre­serve New­ton County’s rural char­ac­ter and to work to se­cure a stable wa­ter sup­ply for the fu­ture, Mort Ewing an­nounced he will seek a third term as Dis­trict 1 com­mis­sioner.

Ewing said he de­cided to run for re-elec­tion af­ter he was asked to do so by his con­stituents.

“I’m a good lis­tener. I lis­ten to what peo­ple want,” said Ewing who is run­ning as a Repub­li­can. “I think it’s im­por­tant to un­der­stand you take the oath of of­fice for the whole county. You have to es­tab­lish pri­or­i­ties for all the peo­ple.”

In meet­ing with peo­ple from his dis­trict, Ewing said he heard one con­cern re­peated over and over — how se­cure was the county’s wa­ter sup­ply in times of fu­ture drought?

“Bear Creek Reser­voir will con­tinue to be a pri­or­ity to me if I’m elected,” Ewing said.

In ad­di­tion to see­ing the new reser­voir con­structed, Ewing said it was im­por­tant the county con­tinue to main­tain stream buf­fers in new de­vel­op­ments to pro­tect the qual­ity of res­i­dents’ drink­ing wa­ter.

Point­ing out that the ma­jor­ity of the county’s re­cent vi­o­lent crimes have oc­curred in the un­in­cor­po­rated and heav­ily pop­u­lated west­ern half of the county, Ewing said he would work to steer fu­ture res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ments into the county’s mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties where he says there is the in­fra­struc­ture to han­dle higher den­sity hous­ing.

“ We must con­tinue to ad­dress the den­sity of our de­vel­op­ment,” Ewing said. “ Peo­ple don’t like den­sity out­side the city be­cause we can’t pro­vide pro­tec­tion.”

The New­ton County Sher­riff’s Of­fice has 133 law en­force­ment per­son­nel on staff to pa­trol a county with more than 72,800 un­in­cor­po­rated res­i­dents. In com­par­i­son the Cov­ing­ton Po­lice De­part­ment has a staff of 53 to over­see a city with a pop­u­la­tion of less than 15,000 res­i­dents.

Ewing said he was in fa­vor of rewrit­ing the county’s zon­ing or­di­nances to in­crease the min­i­mum res­i­den­tial lot size to two acres in all res­i­den­tial zon­ings. Ewing said he was also in sup­port of the county bring­ing a Trans­fer of De­vel­op­men­tal Rights pro­gram to the county.

TDR pro­grams are used to fun­nel de­vel­op­ment away from rural ar­eas to­wards ar­eas with the in­fra­struc­ture to sup­port higher den­sity de­vel­op­ments.

A pre­sen­ta­tion on a draft or­di­nance for a TDR pro­gram for the county was given to the Board of Com­mis­sion­ers at a work ses­sion ear­lier this month. Ewing said the board asked for ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion on the fea­si­bil­ity of ap­ply­ing TDRs in the county to be pre­sented at the next work ses­sion on the mat­ter.

“ We’re work­ing ex­tremely hard to add Trans­fer of De­vel­op­men­tal Rights as a tool in our plan­ning tool­box,” Ewing said. “ We hope our cities will see fit to par­tic­i­pate where they have the in­fra­struc­ture.”

If re- elected Ewing said he would work to en­sure the county con­tin­ued to op­er­ate on a bal­anced bud­get.

“ The econ­omy is slug­gish,” Ewing said. “ We just have to learn to live within our means.”

Ewing voted against a re­cent pro­posal to put a se­nior cit­i­zen home­stead tax ex­emp­tion on the bal­lot this year. If passed the pro­posal would lead to at least a $ 437,000 de­crease in rev­enue for the county an­nu­ally. The pro­posal passed 3 to 2.

A sixth gen­er­a­tion farmer, Ewing has lived in Dis­trict 1 all his life. To­day the Ewing fam­ily farm pro­duces Ber­muda hay with the bal­ance of farm land used for pas­ture and tim­ber. The Ewing Farm has re­ceived sev­eral awards in­clud­ing recog­ni­tion as a top pro­duc­ing “All Jer­sey” dairy farm for the state and a 1994 Con­ser­va­tion Farm des­ig­na­tion from the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Con­ser­va­tion Dis­tricts

From 1988 to 1994 Ewing served as pres­i­dent and CEO of the Ge­or­gia Farm Bureau and as vice pres­i­dent of the Amer­i­can Farm Bureau. Once one of Ge­or­gia Trend Mag­a­zine’s 10 Most In­flu­en­tial Men in Ge­or­gia, he is now the trea­surer of the New­ton County Land Trust and a mem­ber of the Pied­mont Cat­tle­men’s As­so­ci­a­tion.

A vet­eran of the U. S. Air Force, Ewing also man­ages the Cov­ing­ton of­fice of Jones, Ewing, Dobbs & Tam­plin, Inc., an in­de­pen­dent in­sur­ance agency. He and his wife Faye have two sons.

Of the three county com­mis­sion seats up for elec­tion this year, Ewing is the only seated com­mis­sioner to seek re- elec­tion. Dis­trict 3 Com­mis­sioner Ester Flem­ing and Dis­trict 5 Com­mis­sioner Monty Laster, both Repub­li­cans, have said they would not run for re- elec­tion.


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