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Money For Nothing?

A Column by the Editor
web posted April 1, 2011

COLUMN – The Edgefield County Council voted to award Dorn Landscaping a $22,350 contract for grounds maintenance at the county buildings last May. Somehow, that increased to $22,780. Okay, what's $430 in the grand scheme of things? The real question is - why are we paying them? The County Courthouse has looked like a weed factory for over a year and the only shrubs being pruned recently was done by the County Road Maintenance workers, paid from a special tax to maintain our roads, not shrubbery.

Am I missing something here?

We pay a company, and during tightening budget times last year by a whopping $10,000 plus increase (more than double the previous contract) to maintain these sites, and for what?

The landscaping at the center of the county seat, the historical courthouse, in overrun by weeds, briars, and poison ivy, not to mention trash. If it was not for the Sheriff's Office bringing prisoners to court four times a year, the junipers at the back entrance (left) would span across the parking lot.

They have never been pruned or cared for throughout the years by each contract holder, not just the present one.

Just what are we getting for our money? Not much it seems.

This year's budget is the tightest it has even been since the late 1990's. Maybe it is time for the county council to take a hard look at every single contract approved by the county and get in writing the details before granting the contracts. A real "apples to apples" comparison in each contract would also be a new grand idea.

An email to County Administrator Alton Brown seeking comment and information on the grounds maintenance contract, how much they have been paid to date, and what their required services are defined as was not answered on Wednesday or Thursday.

The simple fact is that we are paying for a service that is not being provided. According to officials at the court house, the grounds have been tended only once or twice during the current budget year. One of those times the county road crew was called to remove the debris the contractor created.

I guess removing debris created by the landscaping company was not in the contract.

What an embarrassment for the county. The crown jewel of the county is allowed to look like a pigsty.

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