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Parents, teachers fight against budget cut in Buena Vista

City wants to cut school system by $200,000 to help pay golf course loan

May 12, 2011|Elizabeth Harrington | Reporter

BUENA VISTA, Va. — A financial disaster in Buena Vista. That's how one city council member put it.

Now the city wants to take $200,000 from the school district to help pay for its debt-ridden golf course.

Parents and teachers packed a public hearing Thursday night.  The large crowd forced city officials to move the meeting from the municipal building to Parry McCluer Middle School.

Buena Vista took out a $9 million to pay for the golf course, Vista Links. But the city is having trouble making the payments.  City officials are trying to find the money to make a half payment of $300,000.

Many people are angry about the proposal to take most of the money from the school system.

"You cannot pay the debt you owe for the golf course on the backs of the students, their parents and the employees of the Buena Vista city schools," says Paula Charlton,"It is not ethically right."


But the city council stood by its plan.  Several officials said the school system needs to share the burden.

"We can't keep cutting," says Vice Mayor Frankie Hogan, "We're to the bone."

Also the city council got an eye-opening look at Buena Vista's finances.

A new financial advisor showed projections for the next five years and it doesn't look good. He says the city may have to nearly double its tax rate just to cover operating costs and debts.

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