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King George resident learns he doesn't qualify for rebate after installing energy-saving devices because of the action of one county supervisor
Dennis Askin did not get a $500 rebate for energy-saving changes to his family's home because Supervisor Joe Grzeika kept King George out of the grant program.
REZA MARVASHTI/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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Supervisors got a briefing from GWRC officials about the program in January 2009 and again in September of that year. But Grzeika never mentioned it again, and King George board members didn't discuss opting out of the program, according to the County Administrator's office. An assistant researched meeting minutes and packets of information board members receive--and found no discussion after September 2009.
OTHER STIMULUS FUNDS
Askin passed along various emails he received about the energy grant. He had asked King George Journal reporter Phyllis Cook about it, and on Aug. 23, she sent Askin an email that Grzeika had sent her.
In it, Grzeika said he believed the grant program should have been run by a private organization, not a government agency. He also said the grants were being offered at a time when stimulus funds were going to other agencies.
Several times in recent years, Grzeika and fellow Supervisor Sisson expressed concerns that the King George School Board would come to rely on stimulus money--which the county would have to make up when the funding ran out.
"Stimulus funds were more on our mind as something that we would have to supplant after they had been put in place and folks started using them and becoming dependent on them," Grzeika wrote in his email to Cook.
Askin doesn't agree.
"You gotta be kidding me," he said. "This is one-time money. When it's gone, it's gone."
Kevin Byrnes, director of regional planning for the GWRC, said he didn't second-guess Grzeika's statement about the county's position. But he said he was surprised by it.
"I was not aware of any previous official action of the King George Board of Supervisors to decline the county's participation in the project prior to the grant application and subsequent award," Byrnes wrote in an email.
Also, King George received stimulus funds for other purposes. In 2011-12 alone, county schools got more than $3 million in stimulus money.
In March 2009, the county applied for $1.4 million in stimulus funding for a water tank project at Fairview Beach.
Askin, who lives across the street from Supervisor Brabo, said he would have felt better about the lack of a rebate if the decision had been made by more than one person.
"I'm really wondering," Askin said, "would they have turned it down if they all had talked about it?"
Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425