Stafford County wants to give entrepreneurs a place to work, and to hire a new director to oversee an new business incubator.
County officials want to invest $385,000 in a new coworking space at Quantico Corporate Center, dubbed “Tech Park,” to house start-up businesses. It’s part of an ongoing effort dating back to 2010 where George Mason and Mary Washington universities, and Germanna Community College signed an MOU to explore the possibilities of classes, services, research, and economic development to what is today known as the Stafford Technology and Research Park located in the corporate center.
Based on findings included in the Tech Park Strategic Plan, staff determined that the next logical step includes the creation of a coworking space to accommodate the space needs of new small business entrepreneurs, to hire a part-time executive director to advance the Tech Park’s initiatives, and to locate today’s Center with the coworking space under one roof.
-Stafford County documents
The incubator space will be 5,500 square feet of space inside Building 1000 at Quantico Corporate Center. A new part-time director will be hired and paid an annual $90,000 salary, and will oversee and recruit new talent to the center.
County officials state the new center would break even in the fourth year of operation, and should be profitable by the fifth year. The county will dole out two payments of $192,500 over the next two years to fund he center.
The Stafford County Board of Supervisors will take up the matter at its 3 p.m. Tuesday meeting at the county government center, located at 1300 Courthouse Road in Stafford.
Stormy weather last week prompted the C.D. Hylton Bulldogs to move up their match with the Freedom Eagles.
The game was rescheduled from Friday, October 2 to Thursday, October, 1.
Hylton beat Freedom 34-33.
Mark Lomax was on hand to take photos of the game for Tacketts Mill Football Friday.
October 2, 2015
October 1, 2015
Special approval from the Board of Supervisors is needed to continue repair work at the county’s jail.
A contract between the county and Mosely Architects exceeds a 25% overrun threshold that now totals $901,372 for three phases of repairs to a modular jail in Manassas. The Prince William County Board of Supervisors must approve the total modifications to an original $694,755 contract that has crept up in cost over years.
A 2009 report showed the modular jail, a temporary facility built in 1990, had exceeded it’s intended life. Improvements to the building out of concern for the health of 33 inmates housed there, upgrades to security systems, and fixing water drainage issues in a crawlspace at the jail were all needed, according to the report in county documents.
Phase I and II repairs, having to do with health and water drainage are complete. Repairs for Phase III entail replacing the roof, subfloor, electronic security and CCTV systems and are slated to be completed this month.
This latest contract modification will cost $35,920. The Board of Supervisors must approve this measure because $2,991 of that money puts the contract over the 25% overrun threshold, according to county documents.
The Board is expected to take up the matter on its consent agenda on October 6.
Prince William police released the following statement :
**INCIDENT: STABBING | Manassas ** On October 4, 2015 at approximately 4:00 PM, Officers responded to the 12700 block of Lost Creek Court in Manassas (20112) for a reported stabbing. Officers arrived to find one adult male dead from an apparent stab wound following a domestic altercation. There is no public threat or need for concern. The incident is still under investigation and more details will be released when available.
Police are investigating a homicide on Lost Creek Court near Dale City.
Detectives were called to the 17900 block of Lost Creek Court after a man was found stabbed to death about 4 p.m. Sunday.
The unidentified victim was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police said all parties involved in the incident are accounted for. No charges have been filed as of yet.
Police remained outside the victim’s home just after 6 p.m. Sunday.
We don’t yet have an official cause of death in the case. More as we have it.
Prince William County is made up of close to half a million people.
Millennials (people born between 1980-2000) make up 23% of that population, though at the polls in an election year you wouldn’t know we existed. In a Presidential year, we are underrepresented, and in an off-year state and local election like this one, we might as well not exist.
So, I am writing to every 18 to 35-year–old living in the Occoquan District. Whether you went to Osbourn Park, Woodbridge, or Gar-Field Senior High School, whether you went away for college or went to NOVA, or whether you are a transplant to the area, I encourage you to check out Ruth Anderson to be our Supervisor who will work hard to represent us in local government matters.
Over 60% of millennials are not affiliated with a political party. They base their judgments on a candidate’s ideas.
As a long-time resident of Occoquan, Ruth is a candidate with a great platform and ideas that will benefit us (the Millennials), as well as the rest of the residents of our area. She is the only candidate I have heard talk about ways to keep Millennials in Prince William instead of having us move elsewhere. She wants to “bring Prince William home.” That’s her campaign theme and her driving message, something she learned from numerous communities she’s lived in while moving around the country during a 21-year military career.
Ruth wants to bring more “living wage” jobs to Prince William County so people can actually work where they live, spend less time commuting, and spend more time with their families. I know so many young professionals who spend so much of their time making that hike to their place of employment that will actually pay the bills, including that student loan.
She is going to do this by advocating for the phase-out of the Business, Professions, Occupations License (BPOL) tax. She’ll also push for a balanced mix of commercial and residential properties so businesses have space to set up shop. She also wants to set aside “enterprise zones” to be hubs for millennial entrepreneurs.
With Ruth’s emphasis on encouraging more living wage jobs in Prince William County, Millennials will benefit in so many ways. It will take some of the tax burden off the backs of residents and put it on businesses. She also wants to make core government services (police, schools, firefighters) state–of–the–art enterprises that will be supported by the new businesses (which will also keep professionals and Millennials in Prince William County).
I challenge every Millennial (and anyone who reads this article for that matter) to take out their cell phone and look up Ruth Anderson, right now, on her website, Facebook, or Twitter. Make a decision on who you want to work hard for your local community, right here in Occoquan. This Millennial wants someone who is going to implement policies that will encourage and support my desire for a better work/life balance.
That candidate is Ruth Anderson and I will be voting for her on November 3.
Jacob Mosser is a lifelong resident of Prince William County and works as a substitute teacher in Prince William County.
Josh L. King is running for the Virginia House of Delegates 2nd District seat.
The seat is currently held by Micheal Futurell who opted not to run for reelection to the seat.
King faces Republican Mark Dudenhefer, who held the seat from 2011 to 2o13.
Potomac Local sent a questionnaire to King and he sent us the responses below:
PL: What are the top three major issues facing the district you wish to represent?
King: 1. Education- I am running because my daughter and six other autistic students spent the past school year without a teacher. This story is far too common in our public schools. Some schools in Eastern Prince William County are packing nearly 40 elementary students into a classroom. We need to start the hard work of fixing this problem today.
2. Transportation- Traffic is a perennial campaign issue, I would be lying if I said electing me or anyone else would solve the issue overnight. We need to face the reality that the HOT lanes have failed to reduce traffic and are at best a short-term solution.
Wider roads are fine but we all know that more lanes quickly means more lanes where we are stuck in traffic. We need to work toward metro in Prince William County, more VRE trains, and other mass transit options.
3. Jobs- The national capital region is one of the best regions in the country to live and work but I believe there is more that can be done to create jobs where we live. With the threat of a government shutdown averted for a few months, as a region we need to recognize that we can’t count on the federal government as an employer the way we used to.
We have a very talented work force here in Prince William and Stafford counties and I think the region would be very attractive to companies specializing in the high tech fields. We need to make sure we encourage that growth with special tax zones, credits, or other deals. We must also continue to make investments in STEM education, so these new industries have an educated workforce ready to go.
PL: What concrete solutions do you propose to address these issues?
King: Education- We need our fair share from Richmond plain and simple. The state contributes less per student than in 2009 but somehow still meets the SQL requirement. The burden of making up this very real short fall has been left to counties and in turn taxpayers. I believe there is also a teacher retention problem as evidenced by what happened to my daughter’s class.
The biggest problem is that we continue to underpay our teachers and they are forced to go elsewhere. There is currently no requirement to track and report teacher retention to the General Assembly and Governor. I think the first step to solving this problem is to understand what is happening in our schools.
Jobs and transit are two issues that I think tie together closely. Many of us commute because our jobs are not in Prince William County, myself included. Stafford County has a better job-to-resident ratio but still has a lot of commuters too. I believe that the ultimate solution to our job and transportation problem lies with extending metro.
A recently released report by Metro indicates that nearly half of the regions jobs are within a half mile of a metro station. In the short term I think we need to look at our tax code and ways that we can incentivize Virginia businesses to place offices closer to where their workers live. We should also look at ways to improve VRE and bus service so commuters have more confidence in the mass transit that is available.
I know Metro won’t get here over night but it is important to note that while the Silver Line took 30 years to plan, actual construction only took six years. If we aggressively complete the studies and planning I believe we can have a metro line in Prince William County sooner than many people think, but this will require hard work and compromise on the part of elected officials. During my time in Iraq, the only thing that mattered was getting the job done. I had to work with people of all stripes to accomplish our mission and that is the attitude I will bring to Richmond.
PL: From your prospective, what is the job description of the office you’re seeking?
King: I believe that a legislator’s first job is to listen and represent the best interests of their constituents. That means being available to them, understanding their lives, and working tirelessly to solve their problems. I think too often politicians forget that we have a government by, of, and for the people. I believe that working together we can do great things.
PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?
King: I will bring a willingness to find a way to get things done for the residents of Prince William and Stafford counties. I know why education, transportation, and j
I live in Woodbridge with my wife and three children. My two school age kids attend River Oaks and Potomac Middle school respectively. I commute to work in Fairfax County like so many others. My wife and I love the home we have here. I love taking my kids to Stafford County on the weekends.
There are so many great things about this area and I want to ensure we are even better. I also bring an expertise in law enforcement and veterans issues. Having served as a combat soldier in Iraq I know the needs of our returning veterans. I know how to help make sure we have career and education services in place to transition our veterans. As a Deputy Sheriff I work to help make sure we maintain a safe community.
PL: Do you feel that the average citizen is well-informed and understands the workings of local government? If not, how do you intend on improving communication with your constituency?
King: I believe that the average citizen is as informed as they can be about local government. My local PTA has a parent engagement issue because so many parents can’t make it back from work for a 7 p.m. meeting. I think the issues is that people simply don’t have the time to be as engaged as they would like to be. They are probably stuck in traffic somewhere trying to get home.
PL: Have you ever made any mistakes in your public life? How have they effected you?
King: Fortunately, I have not been in public life long enough to make mistakes. I hope I don’t break this streak.
PL: Our readers want leaders in local government. Why should they vote for you?
King: I have spent my life in service this country, Virginia, and our community. I believe serving our area in the House of Delegates is another extension of that service.
In the Army we never cared if someone was a Democrat of Republican. You worked together to get things done, and I will bring that same attitude to Richmond. That is a lot of potential allies in reducing class size, fixing our transportation system, and attracting jobs not just to Prince William and Stafford counties, but across the commonwealth.
Over the past decade, our local government, through its land use decisions and budget process, has created an infrastructure deficit that continues to have significant impacts on our quality of life as residents and our ability to entice businesses to bring more high-paying jobs to our community.
That infrastructure doesn’t just include roads – it’s also schools, public transportation, parks and libraries. These services, and their need for greater support and investment, frequently get the media coverage and attention they deserve.
One that doesn’t, however, and is of critical importance to our community, is the Prince William County Police Department. In 2008, the Prince William Board of County Supervisors adopted a public safety plan that included recommended staffing levels of two sworn officers per 1,000 residents. But as the population in our community continues to grow, our police department hasn’t grown with it. In fact, it isn’t even close.
At the end of 2011, our department had 571 sworn officers, which put staffing at just over 68% of the level mandated by the Board. My opponent for chairman claims that we’ve added new officers significantly during his tenure. But the reality is that over the four years ending in 2014, only a net of 22 additional sworn officers were added despite significant population growth.
Because of that growth, instead of being 267 officers short of meeting the public safety guidelines, we’re 287 officers behind or 67% of where the Board states that should be. In other words, our department is not gaining ground but losing it.
While it is certainly true that overall crime rates have declined in Prince William County overall for the last 20 years, and that’s certainly a good thing, the decline isn’t necessarily attributable to police staffing. Many different economic and demographic factors affect crime rates.
The real cause for concern is the safety of our police officers and their ability to perform important proactive services such as crime prevention and community outreach instead of focusing strictly on reactive policing. Make no mistake; we have a tremendous group of officers at all levels in our police department who want to be more proactive. But they simply don’t have the staffing or support they need to prioritize these functions.
The Board of County Supervisors needs to be more creative and forward-thinking in terms of creating opportunities for our officers and county staff to work better with our citizens. One example that has been suggested by police officers but found no support is the creation of a Victim/Witness Advocacy Center in our community. The concept is to house officers in the same building with Social Services staff to provide victims of and witnesses to crimes a more welcoming environment in which to interact with law enforcement. We know that there are crimes that go unreported. And we know that some witnesses are leery of coming forward to share valuable information that can help solve crimes.
It makes perfect sense to reallocate staff, without added expense to taxpayers, in a way that helps our officers do their jobs and makes residents more willing to come forward. Our community deserves this, and it is time for the Board to make it happen. Our police officers need our support. They need to be paid competitively and offered the benefits warranted to them based on the sacrifices they make on our behalf.
This year, the 401a program was reinstated for local government employees. But the 0.5% they were offered as a match for retirement was nothing more than a slap in the face to hard-working county employees, particularly when considering that departments were told to “find the money” within their existing budgets.
A few hundred dollars a year for retirement for folks who risk their lives on our behalf is unacceptable. It is completely irresponsible to continue to claim that we value public safety but refuse to invest in the people who keep us safe. We owe it to ourselves, and especially our children, to make public safety a top priority. That means investing in our officers.
Our department should reflect the diversity in our county, and we need to do more to ensure that our officers can not only work but also live in our community. It will make us safer, and help bring us together.
Rick Smith is a candidate for Chairman of the Prince William board of supervisors.
When I moved to Prince William County in 1972, the population was 111,000. Today, we have almost 450,000 neighbors.
The County has had monumental growing pains in the interim with a need to build an infrastructure of roads, schools, and County services to this enormous population growth. Our population is 60,000 more than the City of Cleveland and more than twice the size of the City of Richmond.
Corey Stewart has been Chairman of the Board of County Supervisors for almost ten years. In order to fund his election campaigns, he has raised almost $1 million from real estate developers.
Right now, we have some 30,000 homes in the pipeline. As a result, taxpayers will have to raise hundreds of millions of dollars to build new schools.
As Democratic candidate for Chairman of the Board Rick Smith points out, we have one of the largest class sizes in the Washington area. Our teachers are among the lowest paid, and we are among the lowest in per capita aid to education.
We are in a vicious cycle. Some 78% of county expenses come from real estate taxes. And unlike Cleveland, Richmond, and most other large cities, we have little commercial development that other areas have to help support local government costs.
Against these enormous odds, there must be a change in this vicious cycle. Corporations do not settle in Prince William due in large part, to overcrowded schools.
Rick Smith has some fresh ideas to address our problems. We need a change before we drown in debt and contingent liabilities.
Rick has been a resident of the county for over 35 years. His agenda is to address gridlock on our roads, strengthen our schools and improve the environment to attract new businesses and higher paying jobs to Prince William.
On November 3, please consider casting your vote for Rick Smith for Chairman of the Board of County Supervisors.
As we enter the final few weeks of campaign season, it is important to remember that we have a great school system in Prince William County.
Charter schools certainly have merit for some parts of the country but we don’t need them here in Prince William County. My campaign platform in 2015 focuses on class size reduction, competitive teacher pay and safe schools.
These are the issues that matter to Prince William County’s parents and educators. Charter schools are helping economically disadvantaged kids in places like Washington, D.C., Houston, and New York City; we cannot deny this fact.
Charter schools are not a panacea for all struggling public school systems (ours not included) but they do offer innovative and responsive solutions to student needs. It is not fair that the quality of a child’s education is sometimes determined by their zip code.
This is why charters enjoy bi-partisan support including Democratic Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Rep. George Miller (D-CA), New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, and even President Barrack Obama (Politifact.com, 2015).
With that being said, we have a great school system here in Prince William County. Our staff is hard-working and dedicated; they love their jobs and they love our kids.
We have diverse specialty programs empowering our high school students with choice and educational diversity. Every school in Prince William County has an innovative robotics program teaching our young people to think critically and work together to solve problems.
The business, faith-based and civic communities in Prince William County are eager to partner with our school system. Through partnerships, we build a stronger school system and better Prince William County.
With such a great community and school system, we don’t need charter schools in Prince William County. My family moved to Prince William County in 1979. I am a proud product of Prince William County Schools.
Counting my kids, my siblings, my mom who worked as a school librarian and myself, my family has 70 collective school years and counting in Prince William County Schools. I love this community and want to give back to the school system that has given so much to my family and me.
While necessary in some parts of the country, charter schools are not on my agenda.
Every seated school board member and candidate in Prince William County readily agrees our class sizes are too big. Having the highest student to teacher ratios in the state is not “world class.” It is disgraceful.
In the 2015 Superintendent’s Budget presentation Dr. Walt’s stated, “Lowering class sizes by one is not likely to lead to clear and measurable improvements in test results. But it will provide teachers and students with increased one-on-one time.”
Indeed after two years of various reduction plans, such as decreasing 9th grade math classes by one student, our teachers are seeing little to no improvement. Many report their class sizes and caseloads have increased this year and none have had increased one on one time with students.
Out of control class sizes, lowest teacher pay and student performance in the region are symptoms of greater illness. Treating these issues with quick, last minute poorly planned and implemented Band-Aid’s will not be effective.
To cure the symptoms our School Board must be committed to treating the cause. The cause is a lack of priorities. Our current administration has not developed a comprehensive plan and without one our division has been planning to fail.
If we are serious about the educational success of our children, class size reduction cannot be the last line item funded. Attention needs to be paid to the fact that a one size fits all solution is not going to work for our large and diverse school division.
As your elected School Board Chairperson I will bring parents, teachers and administrators together to set an appropriate course. Together we will establish objectives, annual goals and form a comprehensive 10 year plan. Its successful implementation will incorporate the input, buy in and continuous evaluation by our teachers.
Plans made in a vacuum, without consulting the latest research or educational experts, such as those made by Tim Singstock, are careless and will result in waste that PWCS can ill afford. Politicians, like Ryan Sawyers, who claim they will demand unlimited funding, display an enormous misunderstanding of the School Board’s authority.
Prioritizing funding for reduction will require team work, commitment and determination. This is what I am offering. I am not a politician; my interest is in education and the future of our children.
Tracy Conroy is a candidate for Prince William County School Board Chairman.
September 28, 2015
September 24, 2015
September 22, 2015