Government entities throughout Bladen County find themselves in the annual position of having to make decisions based on the fact that budgets are starting to wind down and the process for putting together the next fiscal year’s budget has started.
At times, it can be a “between a rock and a hard place” situation.
Some of the recent decisions, thoughts and requests have sparked us to comment, which is what follows:
— We give well-deserved attawaytogo to the Bladenboro Town Council for its handling of a request from Boost the ‘Boro to financially partner with the group on a project aimed at beautifying a downtown corner. The lot already has the town’s veteran monuments and flag poles, and the plan is to paint the large wall of the building that is currently plain brick. It’s a worthwhile project and the town councilmen got creative to produce a majority of the $1,500 requested, using their own discretionary funds to help.
— We look at a suggestion from Bladen County Commissioner Michael Cogdell to place framed portraits of current elected commissioners in the courthouse as frivolous spending, and give it a Bronx cheer. At a time when the county has been forced to stretch a budget that can’t reach all of the needs — from EMS to education and more — even a drop-in-the-bucket expenditure feels like pork-barrel spending. If residents want to see what their county commissioners look like, how about attending a meeting?
— The town of White Lake deserves a huge attawaytogo for its effort to get the lake area cleaned up before the summer season open next month. Despite being six months after the devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew, the lake still shows effects of the storm, with logs and other debris left behind in the usually pristine waters. The town is trying to round up a good many volunteers to help remove that mess, and we hope area residents throughout the area, not just White Lake, will respond. The benefits of the lake’s summer season are spread far and wide in Bladen County.
— We can almost imagine there is a slight wink-wink going on when the Elizabethtown Town Council states it has nowhere to expand, and we give that notion a hearty Bronx cheer. The fact of the matter is a majority of this board wants growth, but only in the downtown business district, not out on N.C. 87 where they have the ability to annex land in its ETJ and let the Walmarts and potential convenience stores and hotels, etc., to consider building. Although the board blames the state legislature for making annexation tougher, it can be done — IF the board really wanted to. It doesn’t.
— Taking a detour on this one, we are sending a tremendous attawaytogo to the folks with Bladen County Special Olympics, who once again pulled together a successful day of competition recently at Elizabethtown Middle. With a huge crowd of volunteers and just as large a number of athletes, the day was filled with sun, smiles and satisfaction. Everyone involved deserves first place.
— If there is one thing an elected official likes more than flying under the radar of scrutiny, it’s having a scapegoat to point fingers at. We think that’s exactly what the Bladen County Board of Education had in mind when they asked the county commissioners to help fund a pipe-dream $59 million plan. BOE member Tim Benton has already fired a shot across the bow at the county, saying it nixes anything the school board asks for. That’s not true, of course, and we think the school board needs to accept the fact that the county’s budget is as inflexible as its own and start looking for alternative internal solutions for saving money. If what we constantly hear is even partially true, then Central Office is a good place to start.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” (Unknown)