Holt pays in full for services
Driveway clearing sparked controversy
Rep. Doug Holt paid Newton County $278.80 Friday morning for work done to clear his ice-covered driveway on Jan. 10.
The payment covered both the deicing materials used as well as the labor of a public works crew that spent an hour clearing the uphill portion of Holt's driveway, located off Stagg Circle in Social Circle. The crew also helped Holt move his car and make sure it could traverse the driveway.
The county had cleared Holt's driveway in order to allow him to travel to Atlanta for the convening of the Georgia General Assembly. The state assembly planned for Tuesday was later cancelled. He apologized last week after some residents took issue with Holt using county resources to clear his driveway.
Holt said previously that he had been looking for a private contractor to clear the driveway, and Newton County Chairman Kathy Morgan offered to have the county clear his driveway, since he needed to travel for official state business. Georgia State Patrol officers were transporting officials to the Gold Dome in Atlanta.
Holt said he accepted the offer on the condition that he could reimburse the county. Because of the storm the county could not calculate his payment until this week.
“This teaches me a lesson about being more cautious. I always felt people should hear about my votes in the news, but not about my personal behavior. I will follow that even more closely,” Holt said Wednesday, before the bill had been paid.
Reader response to Holt's actions was mixed and many constituents said they felt his action was acceptable.
“I see absolutely nothing wrong with what the county did for Representative Holt — especially if he was going to pay for the service. My hat's off to him for being so conscientious in his duties that he would even worry about trying to get to Atlanta considering all the risks,” one reader commented on covnews.com.
Holt said Wednesday he was surprised by how much positive support he's received.
“I've gotten far more support expressed than people upset. Most of the upset that I've heard is with the TV station. Granted on the web and some places where there are comments, you get folks anonymously who are happy to be as vicious as possible," Holt said. "Even there it's amazing how much support and how many positive comments I've gotten. It's heart warming.”