First Posted: 2/3/2010
Lets begin with something that almost everyone can agree on: Whatever the county Board of Commissioners accomplished last week during a three-day retreat at Ocean Isle Beach could have been accomplished right here in Robeson County.
The commissioners and county administrators say otherwise, arguing that a retreat allows them to escape the day-to-day distractions from their personal and professional lives and focus on county business. Well, OK, if they say so.
But accept this: The commissioners went to Ocean Isle Beach to work; we know that because staff reporter Bob Shiles shadowed their every move, and he assures us that it was a lot of business, and no real pleasure.
If the commissioners were looking for a beach weekend with golf and good times, they could have picked a better time to schedule it than the last week in January, when odds were always going to be that the weather wouldnt be conducive for fun in the sun. As it turned out, the high temperatures were in the 30s.
Among the issues they discussed were: space needs, at the courthouse and the county jail; the ongoing revaluation of county property that has been botched the last two times; a referendum during which voters will decide if they want to pay more sales taxes and less property taxes; establishing a pharmacy as part of a wellness program that could potentially save the county up to $250,000 a year in pharmaceutical costs; and a gas-provider program that could save as much as $100,000 a year.
When those savings are calculated, the cost of the trip estimated at about $3,500, but we will give you a more precise figure in a story now being worked on appears to be quite the bargain. That story will include the fact that at least two commissioners paid their own tab.
Again, we dont reject the argument that the work could have been done here, but what was done was clearly work. When all the potential savings are calculated, it was a good three days not only for the county, but for taxpayers.