Prince William County, Va., Abolishes ‘Discretionary Funds’

Prince William County, Va., supervisors unanimously voted Tuesday to abolish “discretionary funds" -- ending a long-standing and controversial practice of using excess funds as donations to outside organizations.
by | June 6, 2012

Prince William County, Va., supervisors unanimously voted Tuesday to abolish “discretionary funds" -- ending a long-standing and controversial practice of using excess funds as donations to outside organizations, reports The Washington Post.

Each of Prince William’s eight supervisors get an annual $350,000 for personnel and office purposes. Thousands of dollars are leftover each year, and supervisors have been donating a portion of that surplus to nonprofits, schools and other organizations in their districts since the 1990s, according to the paper. Critics argue that this use of discretionary funds is improper because supervisors are using taxpayer dollars to get political perks.

The new measure, introduced by Supervisor Pete Candland, only allows supervisors to use excess funds on approved infrastructure projects in their districts. They can also purchase single tickets to events that are part of their “official duties,” according to the paper.

The vote brings Prince William County more in sync with surrounding Northern Virginia jurisdictions, which donate to outside organizations through their annual budget rather than individual politicians, according to the Post.

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