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Opinion

Fudging the numbers and misplacing the blame


A Column by the Editor
web posted April 12, 2010
COLUMN – The people who continue to stick their hands out for taxpayers dollars like spoiled children demanding candy at the grocery store are at it again. They are all too important not to be handed free money. So what if the county employees have not had raises in over five years. Who cares if Sheriff’s patrol vehicles have exceeded the mileage of those that can be used for emergency response vehicles? “Whaaaa! I want my free money!” is all I hear.

I actually had a conversation with one of the Piedmont Tech staff after the April 6 county council meeting when she confronted me as to why I was against, “higher education.” I calmly stated I was not against higher education and explained the dire shape the county is in as far as revenues (cutting $680,000 last year and nearly $225,000 this year) and the effects it is having on being able to operate the county.

I explained quite accurately that the Sheriff needs at least six patrol cars that are past or at their maximum mileage to be used to respond to someone breaking into your house and that if there were “extra funds” (of which there are none) it should go to “needs not wants”. Her reply? “Well, they still run don’t they?”

How do you argue with someone who refuses to address the facts?

I also love the emails, letters, and posters claiming that the Edgefield County Council is “closing Piedmont Tech”.

That is a false statement. Only Piedmont Tech can close Piedmont Tech, and if you take a gander at their financials they are in far better financial shape than Edgefield County.

After all, they are a “business” (not a school) and businesses are there to make a profit, even if it takes your tax dollars being directed away from basic county operations, including law enforcement, to increase their profit margins and bottom line.

The truth is Piedmont Tech does not need the money from Edgefield County to stay open, much less be in a position to demand double the funding over last year with the threat “they” would close the Edgefield campus if their demands are not met.

Of their $32 million in assets listed, according to their 2009 financial statement, $9 million was “unrestricted”, meaning it could be spent on whatever they so chose. Including keeping the Edgefield campus open if “they” wanted to with zero dollars from the county.

Maybe the question should be phrased, what does Piedmont Tech have against county law enforcement, taxpayers and county employees? Why are they being so “greedy”?

The Edgefield Civic League (Tompkins Library) is also in line with their hands out wanting their usual $17,500, which was cut to $7,000 in the current budget cycle. Even though they are well aware of the county’s dwindling revenues for the upcoming year they want the full $17,500.

Why not, Piedmont Tech is demanding nearly $100,000, double what they were able to squeeze out of the taxpayers last year.

In the case of the Tompkins Library, they boast over “650 members”, most of who write letters saying how “vital” the library is and how it must stay open by the use of taxpayers dollars, although many members do not pay taxes in Edgefield County.

Not to mention, if these same 650 people who deem the Tompkins Library so import would pay $26 in additional dues there would be no need for the county taxpayer to pick up “their” tab. I guess it all comes down to how important the Tompkins Library is when it depends on whose pocket the money is coming from.

I, for one, am sick and tired of the “I deserve” because “I am” crowd.

If your business cannot survive without taxpayer dollars it should close. If your hobby cannot be sustained from your own pocket it should close. And if they all close it is not because of the Edgefield County Council, it is because your business plan failed. It is not the county’s job to keep you in business. That is your job.

Place the blame where it belongs.




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