We are quickly approaching the end of a challenging 2008, and we are excited about the possibilities for 2009.
Dawson County Government continues to monitor the status of our local economy with a watchful eye as we are in the midst of our busy Christmas shopping season.
Our department heads and our elected officials have done an outstanding job cutting expenses in order to meet the downturn in revenue.
One of the many expenses we have decreased over the past few months is leased office space.
Next year we will recognize a savings of about $100,000 in this area by moving out of rented space and back into county owned facilities.
Our facilities department has done an exemplary job rehabbing several of our buildings.
This week their work was on display, when we introduced the public to the newly named KH Long Government Center. Formerly this building was known as the “Fouts Building” and should serve us well for many years to come.
It currently houses our public works department, GIS, facilities staff, Red Cross, NOA Women’s Advocacy Center, sheriff’s office victim’s center, Dawson County Drug Court, Dawson County Environmental Health, Family Connection and the Ninth District Opportunity office for Dawson County.
The staff is also preparing to rehab the old jail built in 1977 to house the Magistrate Court.
I appreciate the willingness of our newly elected Chief Magistrate Lisa Thurmond to move into this space and the willingness of Sheriff Billy Carlisle to make it available.
The Public Defender is also preparing to move out of rental space and into the historic courthouse.
These two moves will save the county approximately $28,000 in rental costs in 2009 and will make full use of the vacant space that is currently owned by Dawson County.
Last week held many exciting events, not the least of which was our first Citizen Government Academy Graduation.
Thirty-five citizens attended this year’s 10-week program and were honored Tuesday night at the Lakeview Center.
This program has truly been very successful for not only the citizens that attended but also for the staff that participated.
This program is one part of our “In Touch with Your Dawson County Government” that attempts to improve communications with the citizens of Dawson County.
We are already planning more programs that will touch all ages of our community.
The fire department is in the planning stages of developing a Junior Fire Academy that will be held in the summer of 2009.
More details on this program and how to sign your child up will be available in the early spring.
Having been involved in the Sheriff’s Office’s Junior Police Academy for many years, I can tell you firsthand how rewarding this type of program is for our community.
I applaud the Emergency Services’ staff for their hard work in this area.
As we bring 2008 to a close and prepare to celebrate Christmas, I would like to thank each one of you for all you do to make Dawson County the greatest place to live and work.
Keep in mind that our emergency service workers and our sheriff’s office will be open for business and their staff will be on the job, keeping all of us safe on Christmas.
I would ask that you keep them and their families in your prayers.
We are here to serve you and look forward to hearing your suggestions and/or concerns on issues that affect you.
I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a very prosperous New Year.
May God richly bless you during this holiday season.
Kevin Tanner is the Dawson County manager.