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Opinion

County Council; Proper law enforcement for county not worth $8 increase

web posted April 19, 2006

OPINION – The Edgefield County Council heard the request of Sheriff Adell Dobey Tuesday night for four additional deputies at a budget work session. In the end, the County Council agreed to provide for two of the four deputies. That is a good start, however; it places a rather ominous eye on the County Council when it comes to the value of a citizen in need of law enforcement. The council refused to add the requested additional deputies because it would increase the average tax bill by a paltry $8.

We just have to ask, as a citizen in need of a deputy, would it be worth paying $8 a year to cut response times from 45 minutes to around 5 or 6?

Of course, the obvious answer is yes. That is not the case with the County Council. In fairness, Councilmen Joel Hudson and Norman Dorn were not at the work session and their input could have changed the outcome.

Adding $8 to tax bill of the owner of a home valued at $100,000, and those below the $100,000 mark (a majority of homeowners) would see a far less increase, is not worth the expenditure according to our county leaders. Spending almost a half of a million dollars to benefit less than 1/10th of 1 percent of the population is when it comes to recreation, but safety is not worthy.

Did we miss something?

Having recreation is wonderful, but it is not a necessity. Citizens have to deal with their own money in budgets and things like cable, internet, and other forms of recreation are considered luxuries not necessitates. When all other budgetary items are more than covered the option of additional recreational items such as these are added. Not in Edgefield County.

Looking at the decision of the County Council is like saying forget the rent or mortgage, the power bill, groceries, we want cable, a ski boat, and a trip to Disney World. It sounds good but it gets you nowhere.

Sheriff Dobey made it clear that to bring the Sheriff’s Office to the level of personnel needed would take twelve officers and he requested just four. Fifteen years of not adding personnel as the population has grown and crime being on the rise cannot be ignored. That is a fact.

Cutting the recreation budget in half (which is still a huge increase) could provide for the additional officers, if not more, and never raise taxes.

Fiscal responsibility is a must in this county as Administrator Adams stated the growth in the tax base is flat. Is it proper to spend half a million dollars on a couple hundred children playing sports rather that provide the 25,000 taxpayers with proper law enforcement?

Only one answer comes to mind.
 



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