Stimulus money is beginning to arrive in Prince William County thanks to the efforts of Congressman Gerald Connolly. So far, $1.1 million dollars has been secured for the Greater Prince William Community Health center. $19.1 million has also been designated for Prince William County Schools. $530,000 in additional law enforcement funding is also slated to come our way.
Supervisor Frank Principi elaborated that the center treated 4,000 patients in 2008, 75% of whom were uninsured. This year, if trends continue, the clinic will see 7,000 patients. Principi is executive director of the clinic.
Officials in Prince William County have a long laundry list of needs drawn up to help offset the economic crunch which threatens to cripple the county. County legislative affairs director Dana Fenton indicated that his office has a list of priorities totaling $371 million. This wish list contains requests for money for law enforcement, roads, and neighborhoods impacted by foreclosure issues, to name a few projects that will go unfunded without stimulus money.
Chairman of the BOS, Corey Steward, has dismissed the incoming money according to the Washington Post:
But Board of County Supervisors Chairman Corey A. Stewart (R-At Large) said he wasn’t impressed, dismissing the stimulus money allocated so far as “a drop in the bucket.” Residents will be shortchanged if Connolly, who entered Congress two months ago, doesn’t secure at least $50 million for county schools, he said.
“Our county is the ninth wealthiest in the country and pays a lot of income tax,” Stewart said. “This is going to be a test as to how much pull Gerry Connolly has inside his own party.”
Stewart didn’t spare Connolly criticism for the allocation to Principi’s health center, either. “It looks suspicious that his friend and ally has been given $1.1 million in federal money to help pay his salary,” he said.
But Connolly said Stewart “can’t have it both ways.” His office provided a copy of a Feb. 9 letter from Stewart thanking Connolly for working to relieve traffic congestion through stimulus funding.
“I think Mr. Stewart’s time would be better spent writing my Republican colleagues and urging them to vote for a stimulus bill he now wants me to bring home the bacon from,” Connolly said. The former Fairfax County chairman was the only Prince William representative to vote for the stimulus, as Reps. Frank R. Wolf, Robert J. Wittman and every other House Republican opposed it.
A “drop in the bucket?” Is Stewart serious? Stewart has always shown himself to be the quintessential opportunistic politician but this is a bit much. That cool $19.1 million to the schools will provide just under 300 new teachers, just as an example of what Stewart thinks is a drop in the bucket is.
He also implies that Frank Principi is profiting from the federal money. This is the first time I have ever heard of obtaining what is the equivalent of grant money being a bad thing. Perhaps Corey Stewart should consider that every penny that comes into the country from the state of federal level pays HIS salary. Wasn’t he looking for grant money this time last year? Let’s see…something about dashboard cameras?
Prince William County needs to grab up every penny of federal stimulus money it possibly can. Corey Stewart needs to stop with the political shenanigans and just act like an adult without political motive every time a microphone is shoved in his face. He appears to be rude and ungrateful. Congressman Connolly needs to be thanked both in writing and in general conversation. He is dismissing this money much the same way he dismissed the millions he planned to spend on the Immigration Resolution.