Bonds, Bonds, Bonds, and More Bonds…..

With Prince William County Taxpayers playing the role of the great American Jackalope

This debate over the pool in the 12th high school has opened so many questions and issues, I feel like I’m bouncing all over the place.

On February 19, 2013 Melissa Peacor, the Prince William County Executive, said the following regarding the pool that will be built in the 12th high school, “‘We have one planned for the Chinn expansion, so that would be saving us money”.

I find this rather interesting as one of the primary justifications cited by supporters of the school pool is the fact that Chinn is so overcrowded.  Apparently the PWC Government supports the school pool because they’d be able to put off expanding the pool at Chinn and would save money.  At least, they’d save money on the county side.  The school system would be paying for the debt service on the pool and and costs to operate the pool, so it wouldn’t save the school’s any money.   In fact, without additional funds from the county to pay for pool debt service and operations, our public school children will be paying for the pool with even higher class sizes and fewer resources for classrooms as that money will have to be diverted to debt service and operating the pool.

Taxpayers will be out more money either way.

One would assume that Ms Peacor, Chariman Stewart, the other members of the BOCS who have stated they support the pool, and those BOCS members who have remained silent on the issue of pool, are willing to increase the share of revenue the county provides to the school division to cover debt service and pool operating costs.  However, Ms Peacor’s statements appear to imply that either the county & BOCS hasn’t thought about it, or they plan to take money that would be spent on classrooms and teachers and students to pay for the pool.

Here’s another tidbit.

In November 2006 Prince William county voters overwhelmingly supported the following ballot referendum:

“BALLOT QUESTION: Shall Prince William County, Virginia, contract a debt and issue its general obligation capital improvement bonds in the maximum aggregate principal amount of $27,000,000 for the purpose of paying the cost to provide park improvements including the acquisition, construction, development, and equipping of park facilities in the County?”

$11 million of these bonds were supposed to be used for Indoor Center Expansions, as follows (see here):

This project proposes improvements to Ben Lomond Community Center, which mainly serves the western part of the County, and Chinn Aquatics and Fitness Center, which mainly serves the eastern part of the County.

The Ben Lomond Community Center would expand indoor program space with the addition of a wing, and would add new parent waiting areas,both indoor and outdoor, and a multipurpose room.

The Chinn Aquatics and Fitness Center would expand with a new aquatic pool with training lanes/open swim area, as well as increased multipurpose indoor space for recreation programs.

I don’t know if the improvements at Ben Lomond were completed, but the improvements to the Chinn pool never happened.   So……..

Were the bonds issued?  If so, what were they used for as the improvements at Chinn clearly didn’t happen?

If you’re sending notes to your BOCS member, you might want to ask them about all of this.

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