By Ted Kinghorn for The Island Eye News
Here’s the latest from some regarding our IOP city budget and spending. “The sky is falling!” What would we do if we had another Hugo? Some will recommend modest budget cuts, but of course we all know that such symbolic savings would have no tangible value related to a storm clean up. Even Chicken Little would know this is a red herring she does not want to consume.
When you hear these gloom and doom comments from elected officials and some running for office this year hit the pause button and look beyond the grand generalizations they make. Our emergency preparedness is a great example of this.
The city is not alone in responding to a disaster. The reality of a post disaster clean up is a comprehensive group of stakeholders that all benefit by a quick response and revitalization after a storm.
• Our roads are mostly owned and maintained by SCDOT.
• Independent special purpose districts provide our water and sewer.
• Private companies such as SCE&G and local gas distributors support our energy infrastructure.
• Private vendors provide, support and maintain our communication systems.
• Non Government Organizations (NGO’s) are abundant and have as their mission emergency response.
• Charleston County has disaster and clean up responsibilities.
• Insurance companies support and provide coverage to government, private and business assets.
It is in the best interest of all of these entities to serve, protect, repair and make operational the infrastructure we depend upon for the quality of life we enjoy.
The above organizations plus the state players: SC State Guard, DHEC, Social Services and federal government programs: FEMA, National Guard, Reserves, and HUD, just to name a few, will spend and have spent many, many more millions than the city could save or spend.
So what is the city’s role? There is no substitute for strong, experienced, mature, steady, proven leadership. In addition, prevention, planning, public safety, storm water management, communication, coordination, fire prevention and response, debris pick up and removal. All of these responsibilities are well within our ability to fund and manage as has been shown in previous storms.