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A volunteer would examine the county’s budget

December 12, 2012

I am in thorough agreement with your editorial on our own “fiscal cliff” here in Sullivan County. Government seems to be the only business in the world that can routinely spend more than it makes without serious enough consequences to terminate the practice. I suggest we come up with some serious consequences.

Or, at the least, I would suggest everyone involved, from departmental heads on up, read “Why S.O.B.’s Succeed and Nice Guys Fail in Small Business” (if it is still in print, as I read it a lifetime ago), and start running the county like it needs to break even, because it does.

New York State and the “feds” should obviously follow suit, but let’s at least start small and local. Short of that, my suggestion would be to look at every aspect of every operation, and ask two questions: (1) Do we absolutely need to do this? and (2) if we do, is there a better, preferably more economical way to accomplish it?

In my lifetime, I have built, bought, operated and sold several ventures, both those that profited and those that lost along the way, and this is a philosophy that works to keep costs at a minimum while maximizing the service or product offered. It is by no means easy.

I am talking about looking at every budget line item, and I would add my name to any list of volunteers who might be qualified and willing to work pro bono on such a project, as it would at this point no doubt be a monumental undertaking. If it were easy, everyone would want to do it. My guess is nothing on this scale will ever happen and it will be business as usual: spend, waste, tax, life goes on, hope for another 20 years that the gambling gods will save us all, or for some miraculous tourism explosion, when you can go to the Bahamas for two weeks cheaper than you can stay in the Catskills, with more to offer. (That happened in the ’60s, but nobody noticed). Yes, I have lived here a very long time.

Keep up the good work. It’s nice to know some folks still do.

Craig E. Atkins
Liberty, NY