Monday, February 2, 2009

Bluffton Today - February 2, 2009

There may be a way to save Waddell for awhile

The budget process is unfolding in a manner consistent with what you have been reading and possibly experiencing with regard to the economy. Frankly, I’m not getting a lot of enjoyment from the exercise. Consequently, for at least the duration of this particular column, we are only going to include positive developments.

I’m happy to report that my friend Dr. Jerry Jung, from the Rose Hill neighborhood, has been presented the Associate of the Year award from the South Carolina Cattleman’s Association. Interestingly, Jerry has never owned cattle and is not likely to, especially since the Rose Hill Golf Club has been revitalized. He has, however, had a long career as a scientist working on coming up with better pasture crops on which cattle graze. In fact, Jerry is a noted researcher, author of scholarly papers, and big wheel in his chosen field of study. Also, as we look at different kinds of grasses for possible candidates for biofuel production, a new group of researchers is revisiting Dr. Jung’s earlier work on switchgrasses. Even in semi-retirement, he is still a contributor. Thanks, Jerry.

Another piece of good news is that we are having some success in the appropriations process with the use of the "proviso" to preserve important features of state involvement in our area. A proviso is essentially a qualification or restriction to the use of appropriated funds. It is a manipulation of the budget process that provides a certain level of accountability within the process while accomplishing certain worthy objectives.

For example, the state money for DHEC-OCRM participation in the water monitoring in the May River estuary was to be included in across-the-board cuts to the agency. Fortunately, with the use of a proviso, we were able to direct money from the overall agency appropriation to that particular purpose.

Likewise, we may be able to keep the Waddell Mariculture Center open, which will buy some time for the political and fundraising efforts on behalf of the facility to bear fruit. If you have not signed the petition, please do.

Also, there are a number of events on the grounds of the center in the near future, which you may wish to attend. I will have more info in later columns.

After hearing from the folks at Disabilities and Special Needs, we put in a proviso to use modular ramps going into the homes of people with restricted mobility that qualify for state support. The state had been using wooden ramps built onto the homes, which eventually would be removed and thrown away.

We found that by using modular aluminum ramps instead, not only did they offer better service, they could be reused several times and were much more cost effective, as well as keeping a great deal of material out of the landfill.

If there is a positive side to our current situation, it is that we have to give greater thought to efficiency and cost effectiveness. If we can learn to get along with less and still accomplish our mission in the tough times, we can remember those strategies and work-arounds when we are not quite so fiscally challenged. The residue of shared difficulty should be better, more frugal, and more efficient government.