Dip in the road

The Covington News - - Opinion -

Progress on the new pro­posed Cov­ing­ton/New­ton civic cen­ter took a dip in the road to com­ple­tion af­ter some mem­bers of the com­mu­nity with back­grounds in fi­nance chal­lenged the op­ti­mistic fore­cast pre­sented by the Mer­chant Cap­i­tal in­vest­ment bank­ing firm.

The orig­i­nal sce­nario pro­jected that a tax sur­plus of $19.9 mil­lion would be reached by 2040. Af­ter the chal­lenge, a moderate sce­nario of $405,000 was pro­jected by Mer­chant Cap­i­tal.

First, we owe a debt of grat­i­tude to the con­cerned cit­i­zens who ques­tioned the orig­i­nal pro­jec­tions. We are not pleased that Mer­chant Cap­i­tal did not present a best and worst case sce­nario. How­ever, in the com­pany’s de­fense it is al­most im­pos­si­ble to re­viewand fore­cast that far ahead with our fast-chang­ing eco­nomic cli­mate

In spite of this hic­cup, $405,859 is not a bad sur­plus. We still be­lieve the pro­posed civic cen­ter project is not only a plus but es­sen­tial for the sur­vival and fu­ture growth of the down­town area and the fu­ture pos­i­tive de­vel­op­ment of New­ton County.

Cov­ing­ton/New­ton County could and should be­come the cen­ter of a new Metro area stretch­ing al­most to Au­gusta.

The new civic cen­ter would at­tract peo­ple from those out­ly­ing ar­eas, who will spend their money in our com­mu­nity. This money will keep taxes down and help drive our lo­cal econ­omy. We need an arena that our grow­ing arts com­mu­nity can call home. So if lo­cal gov­ern­ment only has a sur­plus of $405,859, it’s still a plus. We sim­ply want our elected of­fi­cials to pro­ceed care­fully with all un­der­tak­ings of this mea­sure and ex­pense.

The bot­tom line is that mil­lions of dol­lars even­tu­ally will be left be­hind in our com­mu­nity by tourists and lovers of the arts who will have been glad to en­joy the same am­biance and gra­cious­ness, which we take for granted.

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