Suffolk Delegates Banking on Budget Grants


RICHMOND Money is on the minds of General Assembly members as they begin to submit their budget amendments, a territorial task which comes with the process of balancing the commonwealths budget.

Budget amendments are provisions for any number of local, regional or state programs for which legislators request funding. However, legislators must first balance the budget and then, as with bills, hope their budget requests are approved.

Sen. Frederick M. Quayle, R-Suffolk, is asking for $46,124 this year and $92,298 next year to support the construction costs of the new Suffolk Health and Human Services building. 

One of the important things (in Suffolk) is the human resources building, Quayle said. Were still working on the money for the social services departments. So, were hoping that well be able to get that this year.

Quayle said he has several budget amendments he hopes will receive funding, including one for the Suffolk-Nansemond Historical Society, an advocacy group that promotes historical awareness and preservation of old buildings to the public.

Quayle said he requested funds for the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts.  Once again, he is not alone.  Delegate S. Chris Jones, R-Suffolk, submitted a similar request for the House.

Delegate Johnny S. Joannou, D-Portsmouth, also is proposing an amendment to provide $150,000 for the restoration of the historical 1800 House.

Both Joannou and Jones are sponsoring a request to improve railroad crossings in Suffolk. Jones also requested general funding of the drug-treatment court, which currently is funded by a federal grant.

Other delegates have submitted amendments for the Suffolk community as well, such as Delegate Lionell Spruill Sr., D-Chesapeake.

Spruill said he is working to renovate the Phoenix Bank of Nansemond into the Suffolk Museum of African-American History, requesting $380,000 from the commonwealth budget to achieve this project.  Spruill also said he must compete with his fellow legislators and their proposed amendments in order to get the necessary funds.

Everybodys got their request to get their fair share of the taxpayers money, Spruill said.

While some legislators want funding for commonwealth plans or for colleges and universities, many are placing local issues on the budget table.

Spruill said everyone is trying to get a piece of the budget and there is a short fall because of stock market and of the state Virginias economy.

We have to balance our budget. That comes first. If that goes well then (the commonwealth) would probably have money to spread around, Spruill said.