There has to be a more efficient use for $20,000 in federal funds.
The Huron County Health Department hopes to tap into Uncle Sugar -- whose money, remember, comes from all our wallets even if it has to detour through Washington -- for an electronic sign at its headquarters in Norwalk.
The sign -- a "basic" electronic sign -- would provide information about countywide emergencies or upcoming vaccination clinics, according to Tim Hollinger, Huron County's health commissioner.
First of all, it's hard to believe a sign anchored to one location is an effective means of spreading emergency information.
Secondly, it's hard to believe such a sign would add much in an environment where information comes at us whether we want it or not.
Thirdly, $20,000? Really? -- For what? What do the "no frills" electronics offer? With no flashers and graphics, why not just get a regular portable sign with the letters you change yourself? We found one online, with a custom logo and backlighting, for less than $600 -- less than $500 if you leave out the stand and hang it on the wall. It doesn't look that bad.
We bet the county, cash-strapped as all local governments are these days, wouldn't even have to go to Washington for that -- and there are plenty of local companies who'd love the business.
Federal money may look, to some people, like free money, but it isn't. It's tax money. And $20,000 for a mini-billboard isn't a healthy use of our money.