When people want government to hear them, they speak loud and clear at the polls or at the particular government body’s meetings. That’s what happened earlier this week when more than 60 people turned out to let Greenwood County Council know they support plans to build a new animal shelter and Humane Society facility. There’s been a good bit of back-and-forth conversation on the matter, but it does come down to the fact that the county and Humane Society of Greenwood have an agreement in place that obligates the county to fund work being done by HSOG that otherwise would fall solely on the county and its taxpayers.
Yes, based on the architectural renderings the new facility will be a more state-of-the-art one that would replace a facility that long, long ago outlived its usefulness and, frankly, is unhealthy. Is the proposed new facility Taj Mahal? Some argue it is, but a Humane Society and animal shelter facility ought to be more than a concrete pad, fencing and a hose or two for washing away waste.
We cannot disagree that there exist a number of programs within the county that address human needs, but as we have said before, this is not only about caring for dogs and cats. It’s about keeping true to a long-established agreement. Otherwise, the Humane Society of Greenwood can go about its business of being an adoption-only facility while the county figures out a way to deal with the large issue of strays, feral cats and more.
It’s time for the county to move forward on this plan, get a contract signed and get the facility built. It will be done in conjunction with private donations anyway to cover the costs that go beyond a shelter-only facility, such as the spay/neuter clinic, education programs for the public as a means of curbing the overpopulation of unwanted animals, trap-neuter-return programs that will attack the feral cat problem and so forth. It’s not as though the county taxpayers alone are footing -- or should we say pawing? -- the bill. So really, the Humane Society is partnering with and assisting the county in addressing problems regarding overpopulation and helping break the cycle.
Count the support for the effort as a dewclaw up.
How long will it take before counties start cutting positions and services? Consider Abbeville County’s plight, which was the topic of Thursday’s viewpoint. The county doesn’t just have a lean budget, it is facing a deficit of about $421,000. And that’s after a property tax hike was deployed last fall. Part of the problem it and the rest of the counties face is dealing with a mandatory 2 percent hike in their contributions to the state retirement system. Sure, they have to pay out retirement no matter what, but it will not be a surprise to see cuts made to offset future expenses. Much of the blame for this lies in Columbia. Someone, it seems, dropped the ball on this big-picture item. Not unlike the way the Statehouse has addressed such issues as crumbling roads, eh? Now we have crumbling pension plans. Blame whoever you want, but we give this debacle a thumbs down, that’s for sure.
Let’s end on a good note, as the saying goes, by giving a thumbs up -- in advance, mind you -- to all the volunteers who will make the annual trek out to clean up the shoreline of Lake Greenwood. The trash that accumulates every year in our wonderful lake is pathetic. OK, it’s not the trash that’s pathetic, it’s the people who create so much waste. It goes well beyond the occasional piece of trash that might get caught in the wind and blown off a boat. Really, it’s a display of people’s ignorance, lack of respect for the land and water, lack of respect for others. Heck, it even reflects a lack of self-respect when that much litter can be in and around the lake.