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Our view: In Columbus, goats are the answer




After two budget workshops, Columbus officials still find themselves facing a projected deficit for Fiscal Year 2014. 


Wednesday, Mayor Robert Smith proposed meeting with the city's department heads individually in an effort to distinguish between what is absolutely needed and what can be taken out of the budget. 


By a happy coincidence, one cost-saving measure has emerged from, of all places, Washington, D.C. 


Obviously, the idea did not emanate from Congress, which would be a stunning turn-of-events. Rather, it came from the folks in charge of the Congressional Cemetery, which is the resting place of more than 200 congressmen and their families. 


Cemetery officials are using goats to do maintain part of the property, noting that goats will eat virtually every type of vegetation except for the trees. If all goes to plan, 60-70 goats will have ravaged the cemetery foliage within a week. The goats will stay 24 hours a day, chomping on vegetation for the next six days straight. They will eat literally any vegetation with their reach, up to seven feet off the ground. 


This news comes on the heels of a decision by the Columbus City Council to approve accepting bids for maintenance at the city-owned Friendship Cemetery. Currently, the city contracts the work to a company called Triple K, whose crews cut the 70-acre grounds for $2,850 per cut. 


To solution seems obvious. Goats are an eco-friendly, fiscally-conservative alternative to hiring a company to cut the grass. Goats are hardy, low-maintenance animals who don't object to working nights, weekends or holidays. You can buy a goat for as little as $25, which means a dozen goats would cost the city about $300, which amounts to a fraction of the money the city currently spends on the cemetery upkeep.  


Admittedly, there are some concessions that would have to be made. First, you could pretty much forget about placing fresh-flowers on the grave-makers since goats tend not to be especially reverential. 


On the other hand, artificial flowers last longer, are cheaper and are used more frequently than real flowers at cemeteries.  


While goats are low-maintenance animals, we do acknowledge that the goats would require some basic supervision. 


Fortunately, the city has the perfect solution at its disposal. 


Yes, this sounds like a job for J5/Broaddus, the city's project manager. 


Let 'em start earning that $90,000 the city will be paying them this year.



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