Published: Nov 19, 2010 9:52 PM EST
Updated: Nov 19, 2010 6:05 PM EST

Lee county is getting recognition from the federal government for planning for the possible effects of climate change.  Lee joins 7 other communities in getting resources from Washington, to further plan for climate change.  At the same time, the office that qualified for the climate change honors, is getting questions about its existence and budget.

"I think it's ludicrous, a waste of our money, that they are studying anything to do with climate change," said taxpayer Jim Gilchrist of Lee county.   "So many layers of government have studied this, and we need to put the money to help poor people and the homeless, and veterans coming back from Iraq."

The Office of  Sustainability  gets 268-thousand dollars from the county to exist.  It used to be the office of Smart Growth.   Tessa LeSage heads the new office.   "Sustainability is a wholistic approach to government.   I look at the economy and social things, as well as environmental.  How do we cope with more people who need human services, that sort of thing," said LeSage.

The 268-thousand covers the salary for LeSage and various studies on issues.

Commission Chairman Frank Mann says he hopes the office can help him and other commissioners cope with changes in socety, and to make tough decisions at budget-cutting time next year.    However, Mann warns:   "This office, and others, will have to justify its existence next summer at budget time.   It has one year to live, and then, we'll see what happens."