During Wednesday’s heated discussion among Schuylkill County Commissioners about the Airport Authority bailout money, Chairman Barron Hetherington committed 2 major gaffes.
First, he told the public that the $146,432 the Commissioners ultimately approved to give to the Schuylkill County Airport Authority was coming from the unknown amount of money remaining in the County’s American Rescue Plan Act balance.
That’s simply not true and it’s hard to imagine how he could have made that mistake. In fact, he previously said in the very same meeting on Wednesday that the money was coming from the Commissioners’ Contingency Fund, which is another pot of money, of which only they know the balance … or maybe not.
The reason he said it was likely in the heat of the discussion as he once again tried to sell this to the public so they believe it’s no big deal.
So, he said it was coming from the ARPA funds.
He said, verbatim, “This $146,000 is not taxpayer money out of Schuylkill County. This is coming out of ARPA funds. So, it’s not a burden on our taxpayers.”
That surely caused some confusion on Wednesday when he mentioned the source of the bailout funds. While the County was coy about telling the public where the money from “County Contributions” was going, the Courthouse at least let us know on its public meeting Agenda from where it was coming. And it definitely wasn’t ARPA.
The Canary emailed the Commissioners soon after Wednesday’s meeting to find out what the real story was. We didn’t hear back from any of the Commissioners but did get replies from County Administrator Gary Bender who said in separate messages:
“As stated in the budget adjustment……the funds are coming from Contingency.”
And in response to a reply confirming the money wasn’t coming from the remaining ARPA funds, he replied, “It is not a direct ARPA eligible expense, that is correct.”
COVID Relief Fund Isn’t Free Money, Boots
Now back to that loaded comment filled with total falsehoods from Hetherington …
Not only is the first part of his statement — about using ARPA funds for the Airport Authority bailout — completely untrue, the second part may be the biggest load of crap.
Again, he said, “This is coming out of ARPA funds. So, it’s not a burden on our taxpayers.”
To suggest that ARPA money has not been a burden on or has come directly from Schuylkill County taxpayers is absolutely ludicrous.
Since that boatload of cash was released from the federal government onto local governments nationwide, it has certainly been burdensome to taxpayers and non-taxpayers nationwide. You could argue it’s had a negative effect worldwide.
Only a fool would believe that the federal government pulling money off the non-existent money tree wouldn’t have a negative effect on just about everyone but the federal government.
And while that money may have been printed on-demand by the federal government and Schuylkill County residents didn’t directly pay for it, they certainly have been on just about everything they buy and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future.
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