Rod Stewart tells us that the ‘First Cut is the Deepest.’ Corey Stewart tells us that cuts will be ‘deep’ and ‘painful’.
The News and Messenger highlighted part of yesterday’s BOCS meeting but concentrated on Chairman Stewart’s State of the County Address. Excerpts include:
As part of his “state of the county address,” Stewart talked of Prince William’s unusual circumstances in comparison with surrounding jurisdictions.
“Last year, when other major localities in the region hoped for the best, we prepared for the worst,” he said.
And as a result, Prince William differs from other communities in that budget shortfalls were not felt in this current fiscal year, and taxes are not planned to increase in the coming fiscal year. Still, he said, challenges are coming.
“[Our] work has just begun,” Stewart said, “[and] 2009 will present the toughest fiscal challenge this board or this county has ever faced. Declining home values and
shrinking sales tax and other revenues means a projected shortfall in the next fiscal year of $190 million. This problem is compounded by the substantial cuts expected from the General Assembly.”
The work for the upcoming budget season will focus mainly on cuts: “The cuts will be deep. The cuts will be painful. But the cuts mean that … this board shall deliver a tax cut to all of you at home,” he said.
Stewart touted some of the county’s perceived successes of the past year — deporting more than 1,300 illegal aliens; implementing an illegal immigration policy that’s being copied by other communities; building roads in the face of transportation budget shortfalls and cuts; creating a housing assistance program for government employees that “helps reduce the oversupply of unsold homes” and foreclosures.
How can Corey Stewart not think budget shortfalls are not being felt this current year? Has he been in a school? That might be a good place to start.
He announced, with great pride, that there would be not tax increases. Now, does this sound like a smart move to make? Don’t most people want to live in a county where there are services, libraries, police, fire and rescue, parks? Perhaps he does notunderstands what we are facing.
Perhaps he might want to hold off on that promise not to raise taxes. No new taxes bit Daddy Bush in the butt. The same might happen to Daddy Stewart. Why would anyone want a tax break now, when county employees will soon be laid off in droves and services will disappear.
Stewart also labors under the impression that 1,300 illegal criminal aliens were deported. I would feel more confident had he explained that they were picked up by ICE. Actually, we have no idea what happened to them once ICE got them and we certainly have no knowledge that they were deported.
What localities are modeling us? Most localities see that we have the most foreclosures of any jurisdiction in the state and cross their index fingers in that manner that wards off vampires. Who would want to copy us?
Did ADC Superintendent Pete Meletis not tell the BOCS that many of our ‘deportees’ had been re-arrested in Prince William County or Manassas? It makes one wonder what our ‘return rate’ really is. Someone needs to refresh Mr. Stewart’s memory.
Perhaps some of the readers will be willing to comment on the committee report. That seemed like a lot people just wasted their time. Chairman Stewart appeared to be doing a lot of eye rolling.
On a very pleasant note, Brentsville Supervisor Wally Covington was elected Vice Chairman of the BOCS.
Please let us know your impressions of the meeting if you watched, attended, listened on the audio or have inside information.