Back in July, the Newton County Board of Commissioners voted to raise the millage/property tax rate, a move that allowed the county to collect an additional $1.16 million in property taxes.
At the time, commissioners clearly stated that the raise was to be a temporary one, with a goal of reducing the rate within two years.
They started a strategic planning process with the goal of saving money, increasing non-property- tax revenue, or both.
Recently, we’ve run some positive stories about our county being positioned to see growth, including retail and industrial growth. We agree with officials that increasing the business tax base will be the only way to have a brighter future while reducing the tax burden on residents.
Commissioners need to keep their promise; as they noted, it’s the only way to keep the trust of the public. However, they need to be thoughtful and not cut off their noses to spite their faces. It often takes money to make money.
And that’s the constant dance that all elected officials have to do as they strive to keep tax rates low while providing quality services that residents want and need.
Commissioners pledged to lower the tax rate, so now they’re committed. But the more important issue is positioning Newton County so we don’t need tax increases in the next five, 10 or 15 years.