NEWBORN - In his bid for a third term in office, Newborn Mayor J.W. Cummings is running on his record.
Cummings said he and the Town Council have had many notable accomplishments in the last eight years, including reducing the millage rate, balancing the budget and maintaining a working capital balance, working with the Department of Transportation to install crosswalks and reduce speed limits, partitioning Town Hall for use as a service outlet of the Newton County Library and making improvements to the town's water system.
Other accomplishments include purchasing property for parking at Town Hall, repairing the roof at Town Hall and purchasing a new backhoe to allow for in-house repairs to save money.
One of Cummings' long-time goals, opening a precinct station for law officers who patrol Newborn, is coming to fruition this week.
The former town hall building will serve as the station and will be dedicated at a ceremony Thursday morning.
"We're a poor town. We can't afford a full-time police department right now. If there's a police car sitting out in front when people are speeding through town, they're going to notice it," he said.
Cummings has lived in Newborn for nearly 30 years and has been a part of the local political scene for half that time. He served two two-year terms as both mayor and then council member before being elected to two four-year terms as mayor.
Cummings said he was ready to end his political career until several people asked him to run again.
"It is my desire to see Newborn survive as one of the best small towns in America. I want to maintain the small town integrity while working to make us all safe and comfortable now and in the future," he said.
Cummings said criticism from other candidates that public participation in meetings is discouraged is unfounded.
"Just like the county, you have five minutes after the meeting to put your input in," he said.
Cummings said his four decades running his own business, Cummings Site Development Inc., have given him the skills he needs to be a government official.
"What is a city but a business?" he said.
Cummings grew up in south Georgia and moved to Newton County more than 40 years ago. His wife Wanda is on the Newborn Town Council and is currently seeking re-election.
They have three children and six grandchildren.
Cummings is a member of Shiloh Baptist Church.
He said he's given his best to the town he loves and promised to keep doing so if re-elected.
"I've tried hard. I can look in the mirror at myself. I've done nothing wrong that I know of," he said.
Cummings faces opposition from Roger Sheridan and James King in the Nov. 3 Municipal Election.
Crystal Tatum can be reached at email@example.com.