How does a county that just patched $10.2 million worth of holes in its budget this year find $100,000 to donate to a college that’s already been blessed by government grants and other money recently?
Well, however Schuylkill County does it, it’s what the Commissioners did on Wednesday.
They proudly and unanimously agreed to take $100,000 from a contingency fund and donate it to Alvernia University’s Pottsville CollegeTowne project. The money is to be used on a lab facility for a nursing school at the Pottsville campus.
Schuylkill County Commissioners Chairman Boots Hetherington said, “Support of the nursing school will provide top quality nursing staff to all of our area hospitals.”
The school announced its official grand opening earlier this week at the site of the former GIANT grocery store in downtown Pottsville.
Schuylkill County Gives $100K to Alvernia University
Outside of the obvious questions about how fiscally prudent such a donation is at this time, this sip from the County’s drying well is almost ironic, in a sense. Interesting, at least.
Coal Region Canary broke the news that Alvernia agreed to buy the property in the summer of 2021 and planned to move its Schuylkill County campus there from the Cressona Mall.
But before Alvernia showed interest in it, the Commissioners were eyeing the property for their own purposes. They barely waited for it to go on the market after the grocery store packed up and closed for good.
Schuylkill County Commissioners were considering several uses for the large commercial building and property in downtown Pottsville: storage, office space, or a pre-release prison.
No one but themselves and a few other County officials backed the idea. In fact, they sprinted away from it. Local politicians who are usually tight-lipped when it comes to criticizing their own kind were wishing there was a Dislike button.
Luckily, for those who were against the Commissioners’ plan, Alvernia stepped in and put forth a much better plan than a prison or more County-owned storage space.
For the record, none of the Schuylkill County Commissioners has said one negative word in public about Alvernia buying the building and opening a college campus in downtown Pottsville.
But if they had their way initially, the project may not have ever happened.
Now, as far as that $100,000 donation is concerned, it’s just a little confusing, is all.
We just reported on the ways the Schuylkill County passed its 2023 budget, by tapping into a reserve fund and using a big chunk of federal COVID aid money to cover a $10.2 million deficit.
While we had the money this year to cover such a massive deficit, it definitely won’t be there in the future without coming from somewhere (you).
So, is tossing around a six-figure donation in the first couple weeks of the year really the most prudent decision they could make?