OSU: $14,000 commitment needed for Extension Office
by C.F. David
A disappointed County Commissioner John Freeman listened on Wednesday night, as the wheels fell off his plan to bring an OSU Extension Office back to Cimarron County .
OSU representative Bob Whitson told about 20 people gathered at the PTCI Building that he knew there were limitations of what the county could do, but that perhaps a partnership could be negotiated.
“We want to work with the community,” Whitson said.
Freeman sensed immediately that his dream was in peril, “The county is struggling,” he said. “If we had the money, we'd have a budget and they'd, [Extension], still be here,” Freeman added.
Whitson responded that “Typically” the counties shared expenses. (The county would fund the office expenses, at about $14 thousand and OSU would pay the salaries of two agents and one secretary.)
Whitson then pointed out that Cimarron County was the only one of the state's 77 counties without an Extension Office.
Whitson then asked if the county could initially help out with “in kind assistance” (loan of office furniture, etc..) until the next fiscal year, (July), and then budget the money for the office.
A frustrated Freeman replied, “When Steve (Extension District Director Steve Smith), and I talked, I thought he understood that money was a big issue and that we don't have it.”
In an answer to a question if an office wasn't mandated, Whitson replied, “No rule says we have to have an office located anywhere.”
“If the plan is we can't put a dime into this for the next three years, I think we ought to wait,” Whitson said.
“Let's step back and wait until we can.” [budget $14 thousand] “We'd rather wait until you have a plan. We'll get you an Extension program as soon as we can.”
Whitson then told the listeners that if they let Cimarron County have an Extension office without the $14 thousand commitment it would cause a domino effect throughout the state as other counties asked for the same deal.
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