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01-19 Newton Citizen Poll

"As I sit at the light at the intersection of Old McDonough Highway and 138 every morning for two minutes for absolutely no reason whatsoever while there are no cars coming from either direction, I just get steamed. One might say, 'Well it's just two minutes.' Well that two minutes equals 10 minutes a week and 520 minutes per year, which is approximately one full work day. The average income per hour at my place of business is $60 per hour with costs of benefits. So that two minutes that I sit at that light every day for absolutely no reason costs my company an average of $520 a year. Multiply that times the tens of thousands of people who go through that light every day and think about what that does to the economy of the state. Then think about the thousands of lights similar to this one throughout the state. Why can't the DOT get traffic signalization synchronized in this state? Because they are another completely useless government entity. I have time to think all this up every day for two minutes a day while I sit looking over at the post office and Ruby Tuesday's."

"I agree with the comments last week regarding the civic center and hotel proposed for Covington. I can't understand why the citizens of Newton County aren't asking more questions and demanding answers about this boondoggle. By the way, Webster's definition of boondoggle is a 'trifling or pointless project, expenditure, etc. now esp., one financed by public funds.' The commenter addressed many pertinent points, including questionable need, location, accessibility and parking, as well as the advisability of our county government's involvement in and commitment of taxpayers money to such a project. We have already established that there are existing venues to accommodate programs and performances. We also know that, if we were to build a 100-room hotel in the proposed location, the folks who stay there will have very limited restaurant, activity and shopping options. I can't imagine that anyone would stay there more than one night with our existing amenities. So ... do you think maybe there's a lot more to look at in the big picture? While I am in favor of appealing surroundings and thriving businesses, I am fearful and suspicious of gentrification, and I think that is what will probably be eventually demanded by the promoters of the hotel and civic center. How else will we have the environment needed to attract the 'kind of people' we want? Who will determine what area is redeveloped? Will some residents and populations be displaced? Where will they go? We must ask who will be the major beneficiaries of this project. Will it benefit all of the taxpayers of Newton County, or primarily several private parties in the city? Can the average and underprivileged citizens of the county realistically expect and be expected to utilize the facilities? Will the activities at the civic center be offered free or at reduced cost to us? PLEASE, think about this and ask yourselves some questions. Demand some direct answers. It's not too late."

"I am very concerned about the safety of our school-aged children. I have a small child in one of our elementary schools. Each morning, when I pull up to the sidewalk to drop her off, there are supposed to be teachers there to assist the children getting out of their cars and be sure they go where they are supposed to be. During the course of this school year, I have had numerous experiences where there has either been no teacher anywhere in sight or hiding near the door so they don't have to help. It is very disturbing to me that my small child has to get out of the car and walk themself into the building or trailer. In fact, the only two times a teacher has helped my child is when I have been holding up traffic because my little one cannot open the door because it is so heavy and I am not allowed to get out because I am holding up traffic when I do. It is also disturbing to me that this is a recurring problem, even after I have contacted the principal numerous times and been told it will not be a problem in the future. I don't understand why the school staff has such a problem with taking care of our kids."

"Mr. Simmons wants a pay raise to ensure high quality candidates run for office! I've been to some commissioners' meetings, and let me assure you that we are in need of some high quality commissioners. Why don't you work on those public parks you talked about in your campaign? Start accomplishing some of the tasks you said you were and then we'll talk about a pay raise. Until then do something to warrant one!"

"On Monday I was going out 81 North after lunch Jan. 14. I met a car that looked a lot like a city of Covington police car. It almost hit me, the car, at the old Loop 81. It must have been running 80 or 90 mph. It really scared me. I seen the same car at the Oxford Fire Department on my way back into Covington later that day. In the Newton Citizen, I seen they had a fire in Oxford about that time. Must be a fireman there. He could have killed someone driving that a way on the way to a fire. It should not be that important to get there that fast."

"I am sick and tired of hearing all those people griping about the rudeness of county employees. I have never encountered any rudeness or disrespect from anyone in the tag office, Probate Court or the commissioners' office. Just maybe it is the attitude that those people have when they walk in to the office that sets the scene as to what happens after that. You people can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar. Set the scene properly in the beginning and you might be pleasantly surprised with the end results. Have a great 2008. I am not affiliated with any county government agency."

"Once it again it is time for the Miracle League season to gear up in Rockdale County for the children in all the counties around it - Newton, Henry, Rockdale, etc., once again their families struggling to help their special needs children play baseball and not be able to do something because of rising fees and lack of sponsors, lack of interest. It is shameful that Newton County doesn't have anything for special needs children. Let me go back, it doesn't have anything for any of its children, we have no bowling alleys, movie theaters, anything for our children to go and do unless they travel to Rockdale County. Some of them don't have the money to travel to Rockdale County, considering the gas prices and some of the parents don't care so the children hang out on the street. Please find it in your heart if you are out there and can sponsor someone, contact Rockdale Youth Baseball Association and find out how to sponsor a child in the Miracle League. This is so vitally important to these children to watch a blind child hit a ball and run the bases. If it doesn't do something to your heart, you don't have a heart."

"In regards to pay raises for the county commissioners, the Citizen quoted Mr Simmons' reasoning for the increase. 'Simmons said that while, 'I didn't run for office to get rich,' he believes a higher salary would help ensure that high-quality candidates run for office.' Now, the question is, would Mr Simmons explain what a 'high-quality candidate' is? Is a 'high quality candidate' someone that wants a raise during their first term before they have barely served a year in office? Like I said a week ago, no politician should be elected to more than two terms in public office. On the other hand, some should serve only ONE."

"We waited years and paid millions of dollars for a new annex building that would house all of the county offices as a convenience to taxpayers. In the end, what happens? The Tax/Tag offices are too small to accommodate the masses that use them and is constantly overcrowded, not to mention there is nowhere to park. I was in the building the other day, on other business upstairs, and if there were an emergency, it would surely be a mess getting those folks out. The people in line thought we were trying to break in line when all we were doing was going to the elevator. This talk of installing an electronic numbering system to better serve 'customers' is interesting, very much so. The public would be better served if the 'public servants' (county employees) were put on an hourly quota system to speed up the process and increase efficiency. I've seen funeral processions move faster than some of the people that are employed there, and I honestly believe snails move at a faster pace. When I paid my property taxes in December, there wasn't a single customer in the office, but I stood there for almost 10 minutes before I finally just walked over to a window and told the person what I was there for. No one offered to assist me. Like I said a couple of weeks ago, these are the kind of things that occur when 'public servants' remain in one position too long. They being to think they are entitled to move slow, take their time. This electronic numbering system will slow them down even more in stopping and looking at the number sign. It will become another excuse for poor service. And could someone explain how an individual who is forced to pay the fruits of his or her labor in the form of taxes to a government is considered a 'customer'?"

I just wanted to make a comment about the "Lines in the Tax Office" article. I found it comical to be reading the article as I experienced the 'musical chairs' personally. It was a ridiculous site and a terrible way to handle the customers. I'd like to point out that the "Numbering System" they are referring to that is going to cost in excess of $10,000 is the plan they had in place prior to moving to the new location. I'd like to know how it's going to cost $10,000-plus to put a program in place that they were already using. Anybody that actually went to the tag office to purchase their car tags as I have for about the last 10 years has pulled a number, sat down and waited on your number to be called. It was also displayed in LED on a sign hanging on the wall behind the cashiers. I see it as just another way to 'waste' taxpayer money! What happened to the Old LED Sign and the Paper Number Machine? I would highly suggest online renewal. I renewed my last car tag and it was very simple, easy and efficient. I did it from home and had my tag within three days. Great way to renew your car tags.