The more I learn about Newton County, the more I fall in love with this community. Today, I attended the first Newton County State of the County Address which was given by Chairman Marcello Banes. Mr. Banes is all about community and the growth of Newton County. He is committed to his people. He mentioned the new hashtag with the aim of raising morale amongst the residents. The new hashtag is #NewtonOne. The ongoing theme of the address was ‘moving with unity.’ Banes spoke about everything with the intent of moving forward in 2018 in unity.

He began his address by recognizing government officials and county and city employees. Banes is very grateful for the hard work these people have been doing for the community. He said, “We have some of the best employees in the state of Georgia.” He also said his main purpose for the address is transparency. He wants everyone involved in Newton County to know what is going on behind closed doors.

Banes shared the many accomplishments of the public safety officers in Newton County. In March, the sheriff’s office received the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). In May, 9 Newton County Fire Services members were given life-saving awards, which is significant because they have been shorthanded. However, 14 firefighters have recently been added, and there are more coming!

In 2017, the board worked with the City of Covington, Georgia Tech and JPMorgan Chase & Co. began the Logistics Educations and Pathways certification program which had 100 participants who went through the program. LEAP is a fast track certificate program which offers help to veterans, youth, and unrepresented minorities to help them work towards getting jobs and following career paths. Just recently, Tax Commissioner, Barbara Dingler had a dream become a reality when they installed the new Tag Renewal Kiosk at the Kroger on Highway 20. There has also been substantial economic growth as there has been an increase in the purchase of resident permits and business licenses. Newton County is growing.

Several new developments were addressed that are currently underway on in Newton County, including the new Facebook Data Center, Three Ring Studios, and the Shire Biologics Facility. The new Facebook Data Center will be built within the master-planned Stanton Springs industrial park. The property offers easy access to Interstate 20 and Atlanta. Facebook will make an investment of up to $42 billion in Newton County. This will open up a lot of full-time jobs opportunities for people with experience in engineering, management as well as data center technicians. The development is projected to be finished in 2020. Three Ring Studios is a top-notch film and development production campus in the progress of being built in Covington, GA. Three Ring Studios is the most modern television and film production studio in Georgia. Three Ring Studios is estimated to be completed sometime in 2018. Shire is currently the leading global biotechnology company, and they focus on serving people with rare diseases. The Shire facility is currently waiting for FDA approval, and then they will be up and running.

Banes shared that the County Board of Commissioners is a good group of individuals who have learned to work well together. They had to learn each other’s strengths so they could build a strong team. He said they have a Commissioners Walk in which they partner with Newton Trails, and they walk the trails in Newton County. He said, “We walk and laugh and enjoy each other. That’s how you build a team.” Banes, we are proud of all the hard work you and the Board of Commissioners are doing. Thank you for addressing us today.

#One Newton

Chairman Marcello Banes will be giving his second State of the County Address tonight at the Historic Newton County Courthouse (1124 Clark St. Covington, GA) tonight at 6 pm.