Opinion

A rundown of finances on Barnwell's municipal projects

(The following is a regular column by the Barnwell city administrator on actions and events in whcih the city is involved.)

There has been several questions lately concerning the funding of the various city projects. Many residents may have questions and concerns about the city's various projects, especially in a time when the economy is slumping.

First of all, these projects were started more than a year ago when the economy was booming, and once committed to, the projects have to continue to completion.

During tough times, remember there are others in worse conditions than yourself

(This sis a guest column from Richard Eckstrom, who is the state's chief fiscal officer. The comptroller general's office handles the receipt and disbursement of public money.)

Even in the best of times, it's important for those who have enough to meet our own needs to share our blessings with those who do not. Helping others is our highest calling in life.

Decisions: State, federal and ours have far-reaching effects

Perhaps one good thing is happening from Gov. Mark Sanford's behavior over the federal stimulus package money from Washington D.C. - the issue has brought a new light on public education in South Carolina.

More people are seeing how precariously funded the public education system is in the state through the state sales tax. This has been quite evident through the $387 million in cutbacks the state education department - one department - has suffered through in this fiscal year.

Winds of economic change are blowing

It has been a tough year for education in South Carolina. Granted, South Carolinians and Americans in general are having a rough ride economically.

However, with the school year closing at nearly the same time as the fiscal year, people are noting more the wins and losses of a school from its profit and loss financial statements than from its athletic scores or academic report cards.

Government checkbooks should be open books

What do the town of Irmo and the county of Anderson have in common?

Both want taxpayers to see how their hard-earned dollars are being spent.

Anderson County and Irmo have recently begun posting their spending details on the Internet, empowering their constituents with click-of-a-mouse access to information on how public money is used. In doing so, these two governments are demonstrating that they understand it's not government's money they're spending - it's the citizens' money. And those citizens deserve nothing less than full spending transparency.

"Cash for Clunkers" not good eco-solution

Dear Editor:

The "Cash for Clunkers" bill (H.R. 1550), which is touted as having long-term environmental benefits, could actually do more harm than good to the environment if the bill is passed.

Proponents of the bill say that it will benefit the environment because it will take older cars off the road, replacing them with new, more fuel efficient vehicles.

'Look before you leap' is still good advice

Dear Editor,

I keep learning more about our county's problems and I speak out because I think the citizens should be heard and I hope more will speak out.

The paper wrote about the nursing home problems last week and the latest plan that will solve the problems and get it to making a profit. Now I know that having a nursing home here is important and that it means a lot to a lot of people. I might need it myself someday and I would like it to be there.

Sea changes needed in state and education for growth

A rising tide raises all boats. - Anonymous

When someone talks about a "sea change," they mean a gradual but fundamental transformation where the form of something is retained, but its basic composition is altered.

Jim Rex talked a lot about sea changes, just not in so many words. Rex, the state superintendent of education, gave an overview of South Carolina's public education system. Rex spoke to the Rotary Club of Barnwell County.

Fishing rodeo needs community support to continue its mission

Dear Editor,

The Barnwell County Chamber of Commerce and the S.C. Department of Natural Resources will co-sponsor the 21st annual "Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs" Fishing Rodeo for Barnwell County. The rodeo will be held Saturday, May 2 at the fish hatchery on Dunbarton Boulevard in Barnwell.

This function is the largest of its kind in the state. It provides education and information on drug abuse, environmental protection and wildlife habitats.

Transparency should be part of government's actions

The governor works for you. So does your local county administrator, your mayor, your legislator and the superintendent of your school district.

This means you have a right to know how each of them spend your tax dollars and how they arrive at decisions that affect you.

This week, March 15-21, is National Sunshine Week. Its purpose is to celebrate - and raise awareness of - laws that grant citizens access to public records.

Lessons learned while making mistakes in front of thousands

If it weren't for the wonderful life lesson in the story, Courtney Mauzy had just as soon not talk about it. But he tells it anyway, maybe to make you and me feel a little better about ourselves. He explains in a telephone interview:

It was 1997. Mauzy, who lives in Little Switzerland, N.C., was referee in the Cotton Bowl game between Kansas State and Brigham Young University. BYU was ahead 7-0 near the end of the half. But Kansas State scored just as time ran out and then kicked the extra point. The score was 7-7.

Stimulus bill ill-conceived and considered

Dear Editor,

My letter is in response to S.C. Sen. Brad Hutto's article in the Feb. 25 edition of The People-Sentinel, "DeMint hindering stimulus plans for South Carolina."

Advice I would offer to Hutto: People who live in glass houses should not throw rocks.

Hutto's opening paragraph stated our nation was struggling with the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. What metrics is Hutto using to make the comparison?

DeMint more of a statesman than Hutto

Dear Editor:

I am writing in response to Sen. Brad Hutto's column, "DeMint hindering stimulus plans for state," which appeared in the Feb. 25 edition of The People-Sentinel.

Although I am no longer a direct constituent of the Democrat senator, we have fundamental differences on the stimulus plan and the general direction in which the president desires to move our nation.

I appreciate Sen. Hutto's revealing perspective. It is obvious to me that his true colors are now apparent and that he supports the old tax-and-spend policies that have failed miserably in the past.

A good decision, but a tough one still

Dear St. Louis:

We are not gloating. We realize that when it came down to Crane Corp. making a decision, it would be either your city or Williston.

Crane, the corporation that owns the vending machine company Dixie-Narco in Williston, finalized a tough decision at the end of last week - the consolidation of two of its plants.

Crane chose to move its St. Louis manufacturing operation to Williston.

Tomato sandwiches and the summer I heard the Voice

I can remember it was in the summertime when I first took notice of the Voice. I couldn't have been more than eight or nine at most.

I would come into my parents' kitchen right at lunchtime to hear the Voice over a transistor radio that took center stage on the kitchen table.

Mom would have come in from working the garden that we had each summer. I was divided between helping her weed the garden or running off to adventures in the woods on the five acres I knew as home.

But the Voice talked of events and issues that occurred well off those five acres.

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