Doing more with less
By BILL GRAY
Mt. Pleasant News
Why can’t we all get along —
— With less?
Turns out we can, if the “deadly” Sequester is any indication. Remember that thing congress did to itself? It was supposedly so onerous that it would force our nation’s leaders to work together to create a more responsible budget.
Not so much.
Meanwhile, not to take anything away from White House tour guides and support staff that got caught up in what appears to be the cheesiest drama since the latest SyFy horror and Lifetime Network tearjerker movie combined, the 2-9 percent cuts haven’t gotten anyone too excited or upset —
— Certainly not outside the fabled “Beltway,” the term used to describe what increasingly is an isolated part of D.C. where senators, representatives, presidents and staffers live in a world wholly unlike the rest of the United States. It’s a world where a 2 percent cut means tourists can’t visit the White House, and no one can afford to fund the Easter Bunny’s egg-hiding on the White House lawn.
In Henry County, we’ve had times of plenty, and times of less than plenty. Folks certainly have shown appreciation for those good times, such as the welcoming of new employers, the annual improvements to the Midwest Old Threshers Reunion and yes, even more subtle improvements to our way of life like street improvements.
If you’re like me, and I’m sorry but you know you are, you don’t take much time to sing the praises of the nice new pavement on Washington Street. You just drive it to get where you need to go.
On the other side of that coin, I admit to maybe a little eye rolling when faced with the prospect of negotiating Grand Avenue improvements in the coming months. Yet while this is the loss of an essential thoroughfare, instead of sounding alarms or gnashing our teeth, everyone I’ve talked to figures there’s a way around this.
We figure out how to make do. Another local example is the Retire Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). Part of Healthy Henry County Communities and administered by Henry County Health Center, this program used government and local funding to coordinate the use of volunteers for a variety of tasks for local organizations. But over recent years both of those funding sources have diminished, while meeting federal guidelines has become more demanding.
So RSVP is retiring, so to speak. Yet in nearly the same breath as the end of RSVP is set, HCHC Administrator Robb Gardner assures the community that the volunteer work it helped coordinate will continue. Ironic perhaps, but there will need to be more volunteer coordination of volunteers.
That’s more than a 2-9 percent loss. Yet no one’s taking away Henry County’s Easter eggs. For about the past five years, many of us have found economic changes have forced us to make do with less.
We don’t like that, sure. Yet we’re not shutting down. We’re figuring out ways around it.