I recently read that some projects from the failed Beaufort County sales tax referendum are going to be termed “safety projects” and will be completed from other funds. I don’t challenge the need for any of these projects, but my experience causes me to challenge the budget for some of them and wonder if the County Council is asking the right questions.
The two EMS stations are probably justified by our desire for fast response times, but as a licensed residential builder, I look at the price tag at $3 million each and wonder. I could build a pretty nice four-car garage, heat and air condition it and provide commercial-grade wiring for say a generous $300,000. I could also build a pretty nice four-bedroom home with living and recreation areas, a couple of bathrooms and a kitchen for maybe $600,000. Add handicap and commercial requirements and maybe take it to an even $1 million. Add a bunch of communications and computer equipment and the entire project would maybe go to $1.5 or even $2 million. I may be wrong, but I wonder.
I don’t have any knowledge of the number of accidents at the Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge entrance nor the number of daily visitors but my common sense makes me wonder if a $2 million underpass along with the probably year-long construction disturbance is really the best solution. Again, I may be wrong but I wonder.
I challenge our county officials to ask more and better questions and, maybe more importantly, our news/investigative reporting services to dig deeper.