COVINGTON -- A new residents' group called The Newton Conservative Liberty Alliance will rally prior to Tuesday's Board of Commissioners meeting in anticipation of the board adopting the rollback millage rate and the fiscal year 2014 budget.
The rally will begin at 5:45 p.m. on the Square, with a speech by spokesman Aaron Brooks at 6 p.m.
A public hearing will take place at the Newton County Historic Courthouse at 6:30 p.m., followed by the regular meeting at 7 p.m. A majority of commissioners -- Lanier Sims, Nancy Schulz and Levie Maddox -- previously indicated they would support adopting the rollback millage rate of 11.59. The current millage rate is 10.91 mils.
Brooks is urging residents to attend the rally, the public hearing and the commission meeting to let commissioners know "this is important to the citizens of Newton County, to let them know we've done our part, now it's time for them to get creative. That's why we elected these officials. Because it's not creative going, 'We'll just raise property taxes again,'" he said.
On its website, The Newton Conservative Liberty Alliance is described as "a grassroots group dedicated to America's founding principles of freedom and liberty that believes in sound, conservative, constitutional governance that holds taxpayer dollars in the highest regard."
The group has been having informal meetings for the past two months, with about 10 to 12 active participants, Brooks said. The group garnered 30 followers in 24 hours after creating a Facebook page, he said.
Brooks said the group's purpose is to hold elected officials accountable.
"We want to be able to work with them in an official capacity, to come up with new solutions rather than just putting everything on the backs of propertyowners, especially in Newton County," Brooks said.
Brooks said he's especially concerned about residents on fixed incomes and business owners, saying they could be dissuaded from hiring more employees if their property taxes increase.
He said he believes commissioners can find ways to make up the shortfall of nearly $1.3 million that would occur if the rollback rate is not adopted. The group's Facebook page is www.facebook.com/newtonconservativelibertyalliance and its website iswww.newtoncla.blogspot.com.