Vets say millage money being misused

Vets say millage money being misused

FLINT, Mich. – A petition is being circulated asking the Genesee County Board of Commissioners to reverse a decision involving taxpayer money.

The petition's author claims the commission is misusing funds that are supposed to go towards veterans.

"$50,000, is a lot of money."

And it’s at the center of a controversy.

In 2012, Genesee County voters approved a millage to support veterans.

On Monday, the board of commissioners voted to use 50-thousand dollars of the millage, to sponsor the Ally Challenge PGA Tournament.

It will be held at the Warwick Country Club.

Veterans will be able to attend for free.

Comissioner member Drew Shapiro voted against using the money on golf.

He started a petition to stop it.

He says voters expected the money to be used elsewhere.

“Frankly I think it’s an abuse of public trust, I think it’s a misuse of public’s trust and a slap in the face of our veterans

Board of commissioners’ chairman Mark Young says the tournament will help veteran outreach.

He says vets who attend will get a chance to learn about what services are available.

“We can do outreach if we set up at the mall but also we might not be able to draw in people there and have a little more bit active of a lifestyle,” said Young.

Young says there are up to 32,000 vets in our county. If each attends, that's a cost of $1.36 each. But veterans we spoke to say that money could still be used better elsewhere.

"The veterans need that 50-thousand dollars more than they need to watch someone play golf,” said Richard Cramer of the Fenton VFW.

Young says the promotion will reach an often-overlooked young generation of vets. Shapiro disagrees.

“As a 29-year-old myself, I think if you're trying to reach out to young vets, giving them tickets to a senior PGA event is not the way to do that.”

Young says considering he's a vet and Shapiro, he knows best.

“If he really wants to know about the veterans, i would challenge him to do what i did when i was 30 years old and join up.”

The $50,000 is about 5.6 percent of the estimated millage amount.

It's worth noting, the deputy director at the county's department of veteran affairs says he agrees with the petition.

He says the money would be better used for other things.

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