To Cut the Budget, Open the Windows

Special thanks to County Mayor Tim Burchett whose austere budget reflects a responsible stewardship of the county purse. Mayor Burchett is being resisted by some organizations and County Commissioners because of the severe reduction in money for Beck Cultural Exchange Center, but his succinct response that "times are tough" reflects the strong will and lack of empathy needed to implement a slash and burn approach to funding. ["A Budget in Black and White," May 19, 2011; "Budget Battle," May 26, 2011, Citybeats by Jesse Fox Mayshark]

Mayor Burchett should continue his crusade against waste by next considering how much money it takes to heat and cool the cavernous City and County Building. Taxpayers familiar with the structure must wonder why windows and doors cannot be opened during the summer months to take advantage of the river breeze and the same closed during winter months to allow sunlight filtering through all that glass to warm the expensive carpeting. This simple change would save tens of thousands of dollars on yearly maintenance and operating costs that is now spent on mere creature comfort. There is no doubt that some county employees would whine about it, but they should be admonished and reminded that county workers managed to do their jobs before the existence of HVAC systems. Every county employee should start the workday by telling themselves that "times are tough," and commit themselves to being tough enough to save us all some money.

Buck Rutledge

Knoxville