Va. Beach defends $3,000 signs at Witchduck Rd. expansion site

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by David Alan

WVEC.com

Posted on July 8, 2010 at 2:46 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 17 at 2:12 PM

VIRGINIA BEACH -- Groundbreaking to tout the area's first federal stimulus project was a made-for-the-media event. There were city officials dressed in business suits posing for pictures atop heavy construction equipment .  They took part in the carefully- coordinated turning of the first shovel of dirt, even though construction already had begun.

Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessions called it a great day for the city.

"This is quite a compliment to our great city," Sessoms said.

The share the good news, the city spent $3,000 of your money on two Federal Stimulus Signs at the construction site just to let you know how your money is being spent here.

"I think it's ridiculous ... because our money can be used in other places," said Jenny Lynn Vanak.

The city defends the expenditure.

"Ultimately, we made the decision ourselves to put up the signs," said Phil Pullen, transportation division manager. 

He stated the city's gotten some feedback in the last year that people want to know where the money is going that Congress allocated.

"I think $3,000 is very reasonable for us to spend to advertise this project," Pullen contended.

Gonzalo Wo doesn't necessarily agree.

"As for how they should do it, I suppose that's debatable," he stated.

Wo said the public should be informed about how their money is being spent but $3,000 for two signs seems a bit much.

"I think there are other ways of communicating, you know, putting that information out to the people," Wo argued.

In fact, there are other ways. The government has a Website that lists all of the Federal Stimulus Projects. VDOT has a site that advertises the projects as well and the Witchduck Road project is advertised on the city's Website.

The signs, while not required by the federal government, are strongly encouraged.  The city said VDOT encouraged them to install the signs as well.  

VDOT said it won't put up pricey signs at Federal Stimulus Projects it manages and it never encouraged Virginia Beach to put them up, either.

We asked the city for documentation that exactly showed who at VDOT encouraged them to put up the stimulus signs, paid for with your money. We're still waiting to hear back.

 

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