Newton fails to approve spending plan

With a 3-2 vote, Newton City Council failed to pass a $38.5 million budget that includes a 6.2 percent power rate increase, as well as a $3 monthly hike in garbage fees.

The spending plan for Fiscal Year 2012-13 requires four votes for passage on a first reading, according to Newton City Attorney Larry Pitts, and dissent by Council members Robert Abernethy Jr. and Wes Weaver, combined with the absence of Council member Wayne Dellinger, forced city leaders to consider the measure again at the June 19 council meeting.

"I feel like the rate increase on electricity was a big thing for me," Abernethy said. "I think the rate increase should have been the bare minimum of 5.9 percent."

To read more of this story, pick up the Wednesday print edition of Catawba County's community newspaper, The Observer News Enterprise, at newsstands throughout the county.