Protestors line the curb in front of the historic courthouse to oppose the impending millage rate vote Tuesday afternoon. (Staff Photo: Crystal Tatum)
COVINGTON — A rally to oppose the adoption of the rollback millage rate drew about 30 peaceful protestors prior to the public hearing.
Some gathered on the curb in front of the courthouse to hold homemade signs, most with messages aimed directly at elected officials, such as “Do Your Job, BOC Cut Wasteful Spending” and “Raise Scrutiny on Wasteful Spending Not Our Taxes!!!”
“We, as members of this community, were told that these officials were going to stand and make bold decisions when it came to the use of our tax dollars, but instead they are taking the path that has been traveled far too long in Newton County by sticking their hands out for more of our hard earned money,” said Aaron Brooks, spokesman for the Newton Conservative Liberty Alliance, which organized the rally. “For far too long those that have worked hard to better themselves have been asked to carry the burden of an overspending government. Our voices should ring a solemn chorus of no more.”
Members of the Newton County Campaign for Liberty were also on hand. Spokeswoman Jessica Wright presented a petition to board members with about two dozen names of people opposing the rollback rate.
About a dozen residents spoke in opposition to the rate during the public hearing and regular meeting.
Dennis Taylor said he wore black and green for a purpose. The black signifies another nail in the coffin for jobs in Newton County and the green less money coming into the county, he said.
“Make no mistake, this rollback is a tax increase,” he said.
Elizabeth Adams said she was unemployed for several months before going outside the county to find employment.
“Every cent you take is a cent we can’t go out on the Square and spend,” she said, adding that if the public can’t spend, local businesses can’t hire.
Andy Allen said he recognizes running a county is difficult, “but guys we’re already out here hurting.” He said he worries about his wife’s grandmother.
“I do not want to look at grandma and say, well your taxes are going up again, hope you can afford it,” he said.
Pam Robertson complained that, “We can’t breathe without being taxed.”
“There’s only so much that you can bleed people. Sooner or later the people are going to go,’We don’t have it,’” she said.
Pat Buchanan said incentives for building and businesses are what’s needed to solve the tax problem.
“How many deals were made with Baxter to get them to come in here?” he said.
He later added that, “The problem is not the tax base, the problem is not making it where the community has an incentive for people to move people to invest and people to move businesses.”