Letters to the Editor

WSU Extension spending beneficial

Just about everyone in this county is currently facing the realities of increasing unemployment and national debt, and a declining economy with very limited budget resources. It is a time when hard decisions have to be made among very difficult choices. It is a time to consider, not only our own essential needs, but also that of our neighbors and the community as a whole. To that end, I would like to commend all our county employees who are still employed being asked to do more with less and those who are volunteering doing the same.

Most especially, I want to personally thank Sheriff Mark Brown, Prosecutor Greg Banks, Assessor Dave Mattens, Auditor Sheilah Crider, Clerk Sharon Franzen, and Treasurer Linda Riffe for their personal faith, courage, and commitment to challenge our county commissioners to carefully look at all “spending that was not absolutely necessary” and specific individual contracts for long-range planning and increased legal services for public defense.

However, I am opposed to the notion that county commissioners consider WSU Island County Extension Services as a “non-mandated program” to be suspended of funding. The WSU 2010 budget request is $150,469 (50 percent of the 2008 budget) and adds over $350,000 in grants and generated income each year to Island County through its almost totally volunteer service. The return on investment can only be measured by Island County residents and the Island County environment that has been served and will continue to be served by: Master Gardeners, Beach Watchers, Lighthouse Docents, Waste Water Volunteers, Climate Stewards, Shore Stewards, Energy Program, 4-H Youth Development Program, Livestock Advisors, and countless other WSU Extension functions.

Don Dumlao

Oak Harbor

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