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Sheriff understands how to shop local

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By Ben Carlson

Sheriff Troy Young seeks out my approval about as much as a cat seeks out a bubble bath.
His approval is the province of the voters, and like you, I get only one vote each four years.
I do, however, get to comment with regularity on how the keepers of our tax dollars function, and if Rory McIlroy is the new standard-bearer for golf, the sheriff is likewise now the standard-bearer for how to spend our money.
You’ll recall that the fiscal court gave the sheriff a perfectly functional building after the health department foolishly abandoned it. Of course some modifications were in order because instead of being used to house nurses and give injections, it’s now home to deputies who regularly haul in suspected bad guys and girls in handcuffs.
That the sheriff is making those modifications on the cheap isn’t a surprise — when it comes to being frugal, Young makes those extreme coupon people look like Michelle Obama vacationing in France.
Not that he didn’t have plenty of local examples of how not to move into a new building. For example, when the health department moved, instead of taking the furniture and equipment it already owned, the director spent $70,000 (and wonders why his office is going broke) on new furniture. Apparently, the old stuff would have taken too much of the shine off his new shrine.
The sheriff is taking his furniture with him and will finagle his way into additional furniture as it becomes available.
Then there’s the fixer-upper stuff such as new paint and flooring. After shoveling out the filthy mess the health department left behind — here’s hoping the new health building stays a bit cleaner — the sheriff contacted only local businesses to provide materials and labor.
Oh, he could have followed the lead of the school district and health department and hired only out-of-town contractors who purchase out-of-town materials, but instead started and finished the project right here in Lawrenceburg.
He began, I’m proud to say, be looking through this newspaper’s service director and called several firms that specialize in flooring and painting. He solicited prices and ended up selecting The Floor Show for flooring and Moore’s Painting for, well you get it.
For the work that can be done on its own, Young’s staff is purchasing materials from Edmondson’s and Lawrenceburg Supply, and doing the work themselves.
Even the fair amount of electrical work was done by a resident of Anderson County who is fully licensed and insured, but performed the job for next to nothing.
Frankly, it’s refreshing to see those who pay the taxes that fund local government getting a chance to do business with local government. Of course that can’t always be done, but it’s a shame that others don’t even try.
Speaking of refreshing, a gentleman stopped by a few weeks ago with a message for some punks who saw fit to trash mailboxes on a county highway.
He doesn’t want to be named, which I understand, but wants those responsible to know that along with $150 in costs and 10 hours of labor to replace the damage they caused on his property, he splurged for another $75 to purchase a game camera, which he mounted out of sight.
“If there’s a next time I’ll have pictures for the deputy and a request for the judge: Sentence the vandals to community service replacing my box and the 10 others,” he said.
He also hopes that his neighbors will install cameras.
“If a few other folks put up cameras and the judges cooperate, we’ll have a countywide free mailbox replacement service run, staffed, paid and worked by mailbox vandals.”
Sounds like a good plan to me. Not only would the police and court have photographic evidence, today’s game cameras take remarkably high-resolution photos that would look splendid in color on the newspaper’s front page.
I just hope the vandals smile pretty.