18 June 2019

Newton Co., About to Levy Its Largest Tax Increase in History, Set to Buy Its 4th Parcel in Nelson Heights

By MB McCart, Ed. 

Concerns Abound Regarding JC Henderson's Involvement & the County's Past Track Record

At its general meeting this evening (6/18/19), it is on the agenda for the Newton Co. Board of Commissioners (BOC) to look at purchasing approx 1.9 acres of property from Rising Son Christian Church in Nelson Heights, right across from the Nelson Heights Community Center on Laseter St. Newton Co. already owns approx 11 acres where the community center sits, as well as two nearby parcels pushing 3 acres.

The concerns of many have to do with the questionable past actions of the county as it relates to property in this area as well as Commissioner JC Henderson & Rising Son Church. From a TPC source:
According to the county's 2016 Forensic AuditRising Son Church and Mr. Henderson were involved in a  very questionable land sale to the county in 2014, aided by former county attorney Tommy Craig (see excerpt from the report below).   Rising Son Christian Church and Commissioner Henderson were said to have financially benefited from  that land transaction.  At that time, Mr. Henderson was an officer in both the church and  Nelson Heights Community Services Inc., a non-profit organization.  The allegation was/is that in 2014 Mr. Henderson's non-profit organization sold the 0.63 tract, across the street from the subject tract, to Rising Son Church, which on the same date sold it to the county, with a $11,237 unsatisfied lien attached.  Mr. Craig was the county attorney that presumably approved the county's taking possession of a flawed title.   Has that lien been satisfied by the church or Mr. Henderson so that the county has a valid title?   In addition, as of March 2016 Rising Son Church owed the county back rent of $3,000 for use of the Nelson Heights Center according to the forensic report. Has that debt been paid?
Several important questions there.

Another question is this - the purported price to purchase is 25% higher than the fair market value per the Newton Co. Tax Assessor. Has an appraisal been done to justify this sales price?


With the multitude of concerns about the financial state of the county as well as looking at a record-breaking budget & the county's biggest tax increase in its 199-year history, it seems as if this would be an irresponsible financial decision for the county to make, and that's without even getting into the concerns related to Henderson, the church or previous head-scratching decisions made by previous editions of the BOC.

The county needs to table this decision until more information can be gathered.

As always, thanks for reading.

- MB McCart