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Candland taps Heritage Classic Charities as first Gainesville “heroes”

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Members of Heritage Classic Charities with Gainesville Supervisor Pete Candland

Gainesville District Supervisor Pete Candland recently instituted his first Gainesville Hero Award, with Heritage Classic Charity, Inc. the award’s initial honoree for its work in raising funds to fight cancer and aid cancer research.

Former Gainsville Supervisor John Stirrup, Candland’s predecessor, and nine other representatives of Heritage Classic Charities were present to receive framed certificates in appreciation of their work at the supervisor’s third Town Hall Meeting since taking office in January. More than 80 people attended the 7:30 p.m. meeting on April 16 at Bull Run Middle School.

In the meeting’s program the supervisor stated, “The ‘Gainesville Hero’ award recognizes the unique and extraordinary achievements of citizens in the Gainesville District that truly inspire the rest of us to do better, sacrifice more and become engaged in improving the quality of life in our communities.”

Al Stearns, president, accepted the award from Candland on behalf of the Classic and thanked him for the honor. He said he was proud of the Heritage Classic Charities’ three loacl sponsors, Virginia Heritage Bank, Wegmans and Al Shields, as well as C & P Construction and Chadwick Washington, law firm, who have been 12- year sponsors.

He also lauded the many Heritage Hunt volunteers. They have been involved in three traditional annual fund raising events, a golf tournament, a 5k walk/run in September and casino night, which has been replaced with an April Charity Bingo night. “We could not do it without them,” Stearns said. “I am proud of the pledge we made to the Cancer Center at Lake Manassas of $100,000, and we are about to double that.”

In slightly over 12 years, the Classic has donated more than $1 million to The American Cancer Society, the Cancer Center at Lake Manassas and the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University.

Candland stated, “I thought it was important to highlight those who contribute and for Heritage Hunt Classic Charity to receive this award, first.” Stearns assured everyone HCC would continue its golf, walk and bingo fundraisers and invited everyone to participate in the Sept. 15 walk/run and in the golf event on Sept. 28.

“We feel like the community would enjoy the 5k walk in our beautiful neighborhoods and along our golf course edges,” Denny O’Malley, Heritage Charity Classic secretary added later.

After the award presentation five community leaders chosen by Candland spoke of the affects of the 2013 County budget. Candland pledged during his campaign and while in office not to vote for a budget that raises taxes.

Jennifer Georgia began by informing everyone that April 17 now marks “Tax Freedom Day.”  Until that date, the amount a taxpayer earns just covers the federal, state and local taxes he would pay during the year. She cited Jan. 1, 2013 as “Taxaggedon,” when many tax breaks are scheduled to be removed while new taxes are added, further burdening tax payers.

Others spoke of the difficulty of higher taxes on seniors, how some taxes were referred to as levies, and how the County makes it tough on small businesses. They said repeatedly Prince William County is taxed at a higher rate than adjacent counties. Some said taxes had risen too quickly, and gridlock on commuter routes and overcrowded classrooms were problematic.
After saying, “I will not support a budget that raises taxes,” Candland went over tax rates and dollar amounts, showing slides explaining aspects of the FY 2013 Prince William County Budget.  He made it clear the task was not easy, and he wanted to hear whatever thoughts people had on the budget.  He recognized three critical funding areas, public safety, transportation and schools. He urged everyone to attend the April 17, Budget Markup and the April 24 Budget Adoption meetings.

The final segment of the Town Hall Meeting was a question and answer session with audience members stating a position and/or posing a budget question to Supervisor Candland.  About a dozen people spoke, including a number of PWC teachers, who made a case for maintaining their small salary increases and a goal to reduce class size.  Others indicated the county should hold the line with the school and county budgets, cutting waste and administrative overhead. Candland respectfully acknowledged all opinions and dutifully took notes, throughout. One attendee said he wanted to see the practice stopped where supervisors bestow carryover discretionary funds to non profits of their choice. Candland assured this would not be his practice.

Supervisor Candland’s office is located at 7001 Heritage Village Plaza, Suite 210, Gainesville. His phone number is 703 792-6195.

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