Answering the Why of Public Office!
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
August 1, 2002
In my view there is no reason to hold a public office save and except to make a big difference for the better, in the world into which you and I were born. We are very fortunate to be born into or to be citizens of the greatest country in the world. That having been said, there is always a danger that complacency can set in and for us to be too comfortable with the way things are and to see little or no reason for improvement.
Aside from the everyday business of responding well to the endless list of very worthy constituent needs, there are the major areas where change is critical. One of the worthiest areas where our nation and our county need transformation is the area of energy. Without it we are stifled economically. But even with it at a great price, we are drained economically. We are as a result unable to address the financial demands of a whole host of worthy demands, not the least of which is that which holds the line on spending.
And so it is that I am presently attending a Department of Energy (DOE) "Rebuild America" Conference at the invitation and expense of the DOE. The Conference is covering topics on how governmental entities including Counties can obtain an Energy Manager financed by the Department of Energy, what other communities are doing to reduce the cost of energy by implementing solar energy as well as other forms of renewable energy and how to access tools necessary to make the transition to a much more energy efficient government.
It is one thing to tax and spend, but it is imperative that we as a community and in specific as public officials make every effort to reduce the unnecessary expenditures. Just because some vendor wants us to buy some new-fangled item does not mean we should do it. And just because "we've never done it that way" does not mean that we should not try, if we improve things as we change.
So it is that I am finding that if wisely crafted, energy conservation grants can help us to move out of energy inefficiency to energy savings. These grants are heavily competed for, but they are out there if we know where to look. Energy experts are available to help communities save hard-earned tax dollars if we are willing to move out of the comfort zone of the status quo and go connect with them.
A good example of the kind of challenge we face was the visit I had with our Facilities Manager last Friday. With respect to the monies expended before and after our recent and quite pricey replacement of our Courthouses HVAC chillers (heating and air conditioning system), there is no specific data immediately available as to the "before" and the "after" energy costs on a monthly basis. Borrowing from the experience of other communities, Bexar County will have such a mechanism to track this very important and significant expenditure and others like it.
This and much more are available to our County. You have my assurance that I will continue to press for all possible savings. I will be keeping you posted through this column for which I thank the Southside Reporter for printing. I also have a treasure trove of information developed daily for your information on my website at bexar.org, click Commissioner Court and then Precinct Four. In the meantime, happy summertime to all!