CASH saving schemes are usually welcomed in a country where we are well known for looking after the bawbees, though such a philosophy has been seriously threatened by errant bankers more intent on feathering their own nests.
So when Aberdeenshire Council recently suggested dimming the lights in towns and hamlets in a bid to save money, you might have expected some support for the idea.
Not a bit of it, as individuals and groups across the region clamour to tell the misguided local authority that they have got it wrong.
A scarcely unexpected response, given the more worldly knowledge enjoyed by a public who have worked out that, far from saving money, it could actually cost more if streets are left in semi-darkness between 01.30 and 05.00 hours.
Are we not supposed to traverse the same such streets during the night? It would appear not. I suppose on the assumption that we should all be in our beds by then.
Arrant nonsense of course, as there are many who work shifts, and will be travelling at both ends of the four and half hour window allocated by the out of touch councillors.
We should also be concerned about the safely aspect of the proposal. Is it really acceptable that we should be driving, or indeed walking in such conditions in an urban setting?
We also have the criminal element rubbing their hands at the idea of having easier access to property in our townships. In addition, those intent on vandalism would have free reign in our townships under cover of darkness.
These are, of course just a few reasons for opposing the scheme. There will be others no doubt, and very few for supporting this particular hare-brained idea.
I just hope community councils and other such bodies will point out the folly of the notion of money being saved with a few well chosen words to their elected members who will, I suspect, already be scurrying to their lap tops and computers to say “it wisnae me that voted for the proposal.”
Indeed, all the money being allocated to officials and councillors for devices loosely associated with the social media should be toted up and assessed before the next financial year comes in, even if it is just to let the electorate know what kind of fringe benefits our members and officers currently enjoy, at our expense.
If the local authority really wants to cut waste expenditure, why not lop off some of the top posts in the Shire, including that of the chief executive, or his equally underworked area officers.
The latter group have, in fact, been under threat before from elected members who will admit, albeit privately, that such expensive posts cannot continue to be justified in difficult times.
This being the case let’s have some action, and soon, while dismissing all talk of dimming street lights.
Finally, but in direct contrast, I recall pointing out to a councillor of the 1990’s that a street light in Ellon town centre was on 24 hours a day.
Her reply was interesting. “It doesn’t matter as the costs are still the same at the end of each year.”
Have things changed in the intervening years, or has no one told our officials from Aberdeenshire?