Dale City Local
MANASSAS, Va. — For the past 32 years at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Prince William County, the food of choice at their annual charity dinner has been steak. It’s a house favorite for many, but even vegetarians can appreciate the good work happening at the clubs that serve over 5,000 people each year through community engagement and club programs.
The Steak and Stake Dinner, planned for 6 p.m. Monday May, 21 at the Manassas Boys and Girls Club, will honor three stakeholder local businesses that have generously donated their time, money, and effort to making the Boys and Girls Clubs in Prince William County – The General Heiser Branch in Dumfries, Hylton Club in Dale City, and the Manassas Club – a success.
“We credit a lot to community partnerships. It takes a village to build what the Boys and Girls Clubs is able to provide through quality programming, as well as all of the other activities the clubs are able to provide,” said regional director Glenn Vickers.
Wellburn Management owns several McDonalds restaurants in Dumfries and Woodbridge, while Gino Manzo is the Director and Manassas Site Executive at BAE Systems, and Patrick Girard is a vice president of sales at Staples. All three will be honored at the event for their efforts supporting the clubs.
The event also draws a long list of community members, politicians, as well as business owners, but it comes at a time when the clubs are operating in the red. With 3,200 registered members in the Prince William, the organization has been impacted by rising operating costs as well as per-member costs of about $1,500 each, said Vickers.
The charity dinner normally nets the organization between $40,000 and $50,000, and this year the Boys and Girls Clubs will open up new donation portals online and on mobile devices to make it easier for the community to give.
Through programs like Send a Kid to Camp, as well as educational and sports and fitness efforts, the Prince William Boys and Girls Club gets little funding from its national parent organization but still maintains itself as a fun, safe environment where club members build strong relationships, are recognized, and move on to college, said Vickers.
Tickets for the event are $100 for individuals, $500 for half table, and $1,000 for a full table.
Live coverage of the event will be featured here on PotomacLocal.com, which is an event coverage sponsor.
PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — A community meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Monday, May 14 at Graham Park Middle School to gain public input on proposed boundary changes to balance enrollment at Potomac and Forest Park high schools for the 2013-14 school year. The changes are expected to affect about 100 students for the first school year that the boundary change takes effect.
A public hearing on the proposed high school boundaries is slated for the June 13 School Board meeting at 7 p.m. in the School Board Meeting Room, Kelly Leadership Center.
The completion of the 30-room addition to Potomac High School in 2013 will add 630 seats to the existing capacity of the school. Current enrollment projections and boundaries would mean that Potomac High School would be under-utilized and Forest Park High School would be over capacity, thus the need for realignment. A portion of the Forest Park High School attendance area will be re-assigned to the Potomac High School attendance area.
The Thomasson Crossing, Moncure Woods, Spanish Garden, Barnette Forest, Quantico Terrace, Belleau Wood, Cramers Ridge,Crborough Heights, Stonewall Manor, Graham Park Shores, Graham Park, and Melrose Gardens communities are likely to be affected.
Prior to the May 14 community meeting, staff from the Offices of Facilities Services will meet with the Advisory Council at both high schools.
Information and maps for the proposed high school boundary changes are located on the Facilities Services Web site. Parents with questions or comments should contact Lionel White in the Office of Facilities Services at 703-791-7312.
The School Board is expected to vote on the proposed high school boundaries on June 13 following the public hearing. If approved, the new boundaries would take effect in September 2013.
Citizens who wish to address the School Board during the public hearing must notify the Board Clerk by noon on June 13 in writing to P.O. Box 389, Manassas, Va. 20108; by phone at 703-791-8709; or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Citizens may also sign up in the School Board meeting room prior to 6:55 p.m. on the evening of the public hearing.
WOODBRIDGE, Va. — The private developer of the 95 Express Lanes project has been tapped by the federal government to apply for a loan to help pay for the lanes.
Transurban-Fluor will convert the High Occupancy Vehicle lanes on Interstate 95, from Dumfries to Edsall Road in Alexandria, to toll lanes. The lanes will be extended from Dumfries to Va. 610 in North Stafford to complete the 29-mile, $940 million 95 Express Lanes corridor.
The loan is called a Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, or TIFIA loan, from the U.S. Department of Transportation. If awarded to Transurban-Fluor, would cover $928 million of the total cost of the project.
“President Obama called for ‘an America built to last,’ and the TIFIA program can help us achieve that,” said U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary LaHood. “A little TIFIA goes a long way for communities that use these loans to leverage additional funding so they can tackle the big picture transportation projects this country needs.”
Work on the lanes is already underway, as a portion of the HOV lanes from Springfield to Dumfries has been closed each night this week for initial test boring.
When complete, the lanes will be tolled 24-hours a day for single drivers. Vehicles with three or more occupants will be able to use the lanes for free. Currently, use of the lanes is restricted to vehicles with three or more occupants between 6 and 9 a.m., and 3:30 to 6 p.m. on weekdays.
WOODBRIDGE, Va. — Prince William’s new kid on the political block has done more to distance himself from this fellow Board members.
Gainesville District Supervisor Peter Candland is serving his first term on the Board of County Supervisors and cast the lone vote against raising the county’s average tax bill about $110 per year. The
six seven other members of the Board voted to increase taxes for the Fiscal Year 2013 budget, adopting a tax rate of $1.209 per assessed property value. The new budget includes monies for a new police station, new school funding, and raises for county staff for the first time in four years.
Candland, in a statement released late Tuesday night, accused fellow Board members of back room dealings and threats. According to Candland, he was told if he didn’t go along with the budget increase his district would lose out on construction funding for a new Catharpin Park. That park, one of nine that was to be funded in this year’s budget, is no longer funded, he said.
“I stood up in the face of backroom deals and political retributions to fight for a park that’s critical to the families of the Gainesville District, and I’ll continue to push to find ways to get Catharpin Park funded and built as soon as possible. I’m saddened that petty politics won the day, but it’s the taxpayers of Prince William County who will suffer the brunt of these tax increases,” said Candland in his statement.
County officials stated Tuesday that real estate taxes in Prince William County are 28 percent lower than they are in similar counties in Northern Virginia. When adjusted for inflation, the average tax bill is lower than it was in 2009, according to officials.
UPDATE: FIREWORK TO BLAME
The explosion heard by many in the Dale City area this morning was caused by a firework, police said.
A bomb detection squad was called to a home on Evansdale Road today after initial reports indicated a bottle bomb exploded in the area. That was not the case, though neighbors did call 911 when they saw smoke.
No injuries were reported.
DALE CITY, Va. — Fire crews were called to another what appears to be bottle bomb incident today, sources say.
Just after 11 a.m., fire crews in Dale City were called to the to a home at 4412 Evansdale Road, near Cardinal Drive, after a report of someone hearing an explosion and then seeing smoke, according to initial reports. Prince William fire officials have not confirmed the presence of bottle bombs.
There’s no word yet if anyone was injured.
This latest incident comes after authorities in Prince William said earlier this month bottle bomb cases were on the rise again.
WOODBRIDGE, Va. — A portion of the High Occupancy Vehicle lanes will close again tonight and tomorrow as work on the 95 Express Lanes project ramps up.
The HOV express lanes facility is normally open to southbound drivers Friday night through Saturday afternoon. Tonight and tomorrow beginning at 11 p.m., however, the lanes will close from Franconia-Springfield Parkway to Va. 234 in Dumfries as crews complete test boring work.
Drivers will have to use the regular travel lanes to get where they’re going until 10 a.m. Saturday, and again on Sunday, when the HOV lanes are reopened for regular use.
But work on the HOV lanes doesn’t stop this weekend. It will continue throughout next week as the HOV lanes will close from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday through Thursday, and again from 11 p.m. to 10 a.m. next Friday and Saturday, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.
By 11 p.m. during the planned work next week, drivers headed north on Interstate 95 will be able to enter the HOV lanes north through an entrance just past Exit 169 in Springfield. Drivers who use Franconia-Springfield Parkway will also be able to enter the northbound HOV lanes by 11 p.m., VDOT states.
When complete, the 95 Express Lanes will charge single drivers a toll to use the lanes at all times while vehicles with three or more occupants will be able to use the lanes for free. The express lanes will also be extended nine-miles south from Dumfries to Va. 610 in North Stafford.
Currently, vehicles must have three or more occupants to use the lanes between 6 and 9 a.m., and 3:30 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Drivers can use the lanes for free during all other times.
DALE CITY, Va. — Smoking materials led to a blaze at a townhome in Dale City.
Fire and rescue crews were called to the 4600 block of Whitaker Place, off Savannah Drive and Minnieville Road at noon today for a fire in a two-story home.
No one was injured and no one was displaced from the home, said Prince William fire and rescue spokeswoman Kim Hylander.
Fire officials urge those who smoke in their homes to extinguish smoking materials safely by dousing them in water or in sand. They also add not to throw out cigarettes into mulch, flowerbeds, grass areas, or in wooded areas.
The fire caused $5,000 in damage. Fires caused by smoking materials are the leading cause of fire deaths in the U.S., said Hylander.
On Tuesday, April 17th at approximately 12:00 noon, fire and rescue units were dispatched to a structure fire in a two-story townhouse located in the 4600 block of Whitaker Place in Dale City.
UPDATED: PRINCE WILLIAM FIRE CHIEF REMARKS
WOODBRIDGE, Va. — The first and only Prince William County firefighter to die in the line of duty will be remembered today.
Kyle Wilson, 24, was killed five years ago today when he went inside a burning home on Marsh Overlook Drive in Woodbridge to search for those who might have been trapped inside the home. County officials read a message over the public emergency radio at 6 a.m. and will repeat it at 6 p.m. commemorating Wilson’s death.
“Five years ago today Technician I Kyle Wilson made the ultimate sacrifice while operating at Box 1209, 15474 Marsh Overlook Drive. Kyle was staffing Tower 512 and was killed in the line of duty while performing a primary search looking for possible trapped occupants. The Department of Fire and Rescue has made a solemn promise, we will never forget Kyle or the sacrifice he made,” the statement reads.
On the day of the fire, all the occupants of the home had made it out safely unbeknownst to Wilson. Inside the home, he became trapped under a stairwell, radioed for help, but fire fighters couldn’t reach him in time.
While widely covered in Prince William County, Wilson’s death received little attention in the region as he died on the same day as the Virginia Tech shooting massacre.
Prince William fire and rescue chief Kevin McGee issued a statement this morning about Wilson.
“Our Department and our fire and rescue system will never be the same as it was prior to the dispatch to 15474 Marsh Overlook Drive. It shouldn’t be the same and it won’t. We have done much together to improve and make corrections over the past five years to enhance firefighter safety and improve service to our community. We have more work to do,” stated McGee.
The chief asked residents to keep Wilson’s family and friends in their thoughts today.
Kyle Wilson’s family, friends, and and fellow firefighters remember him now each year during the fifth annual “Kyle Wilson 10K Walk for Fitness,” as a way to remember his service to the community and provide a scholarship for those who wish to attend the athletic training program at George Mason University – Wilson’s alma mater.
The walk will be held this year at 9 a.m. at C.D. Hylton High School in Woodbridge.
WOODBRIDGE, Va. — During the decennial political redistricting process in 2011, no Prince William politician’s district changed as much as Marty Nohe’s.
He’s the Supervisor for the county’s Coles District, which now spans the western portion of Dale City west to the Manassas area. Increasing from 57,000 to 62,000 residents in his district last year, Nohe now represents about 30,000 more residents that he did previously, he said.
Magisterial districts like Coles, as well as state and congressional election districts are redrawn every 10 years by politicians to account for population changes, and, some argue, to ensure the greatest possible reelection outcome for the current political party occupying a particular district.
Once approved by the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, the new magisterial maps were sent to the federal government for preclearance — a review under the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
They were approved, but on Wednesday officials announced Prince William was given a pass under section five of the act governing preclearance, making it the largest jurisdiction in Virginia to receive such a bailout.
“Having had a very fair and non-partisan redistricting process that was widely adopted by the community was really the lynchpin that made it possible for us to get bailed out that preclearance [requirement],” said Nohe.
Virginia is one of nine states primarily in the southeast, and various jurisdictions in New York City, North Carolina, California, Michigan and others, that must submit to the preclearance process. In Virginia, 14 jurisdictions have been given a pass including Fairfax City, Roanoke, and Winchester.
“I think it speaks very well with the redistricting process we went through. We applied for a bailout of preclearance prior to that redistricting process, and we had looked into it in previous years but we had not pursued it because, for whatever reason, it was not the right time,” said Nohe.
Now, Prince William County can be looked to as example in the redistricting process, he said. He added, other jurisdictions should make sure they meet preclearance requirements if considering applying for a bailout.
Jurisdictions are provided an opportunity to be exempted from the requirement of preclearance, known as “bailout” if they can demonstrate ten years of unbiased voting regulation practices. This requires:
• Evidence that no test or device has been used to determine voter eligibility
• No federal examiners were assigned
• All voting changes were submitted in a timely manner
• No objections by DOJ or denials by D.C. Court were levied against the jurisdiction
• Elimination of dilutive voting procedures
• Constructive efforts made to eliminate harassment and intimidation of voters
• Opportunities for convenient registration and voting expanded
• Minority persons have been appointed as election officials throughout all stages of registration/electoral process
Source: Prince William County
PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — The federal government has given a pass to Prince William County when it comes to officials deciding where voters will go to the polls.
Since the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was enacted, Prince William and jurisdictions in nine other states had to report changes in voting districts, as well as changes in the hours polling places would be open, even changes in the names of polling places to the federal government, under section five of the Voting Rights Act. The requirement known as “preclearance,” was adhered to as recently as last year during the decennial political redistricting process, when changes to local magisterial districts voted upon by the Prince William County Board of Supervisors was submitted to the federal government for approval.
This action was taken to help prevent racially motivated disenfranchisement of voters by providing federal oversight of such matters as redistricting and the conduct of elections
The waiver, known as a bailout, is the largest such exemption granted to any jurisdiction in the U.S. forced to comply with rules put forth in the Voting Rights Act, stated Prince William County officials.
This is a developing story and we’ll have more on this soon.
MURDER CASES AT 10-YEAR LOW
WOODBRIDGE, Va. — In 2011, police in Prince William County investigated and solved three murder cases – the fewest number of murders in the county in 10 years.
There were six fewer murders in Prince William in 2011 than there were in 2010, according to the police department’s annual crime statistic report released today. Detectives in Prince William in 2006 investigated 16 murders, the year that saw the most murders in the county in the past 10 years.
Overall, the report shows the crime rate in the county continued its five-year decline.
The number of reported rapes in the county fell from 53 to 46 in 2011, so did the number of reported robberies from 221 to 173. The categories like burglary, larceny, aggravated assault, and vehicle theft also saw fewer reported instances in 2011.
“The crime rate in Prince William County continues to decline in 2011 at 17.5 crimes per 1,000 residents. This downward trend represents a decrease in the rate of criminal activity. The crime rate is intended to serve as a basic indicator of overall crime trends and is a commonly accepted community measure,” the police report states.
The county’s population was tallied at 409,345 residents, up 11,000 more from the previous year.
Some crimes in Prince William County, however, saw a rise in reported incidents last year.
Assaults, DUI, weapons charges, and charges for the sale and manufacture of drugs rose, the report states.
There were also 91 more reportable traffic crashes in 2011 leading to a 2.9 percent rise in the county’s overall crash rate. Of the 11 fatal crashes that took the lives of 12 people in Prince William in 2011, three involved large commercial trucks, one involved a motorcycle, and one involved a pedestrian death. There were seven fewer fatal traffic crashes in 2011 than in 2010 in Prince William, according to the report.
With conditions still ripe for wildfires, Stafford authorities banned outside burning and Prince William officials remind residents to wait until after 4 p.m. to burn.
The National Weather Service issued a Red Flag warning for the region today, as they have since the weekend, warning that the combination of high winds, low humidity and dry conditions produce an atmosphere where wildfires flourish.
In Stafford, an outside burning ban remains in effect until 7 a.m. Wednesday, according to a statement from the county’s fire marshal. Officials in Prince William remind residents to adhere to the state’s burning law that restricts outside burning between 4 p.m. and midnight.
“Most outside burn permits are limited to commercial or agriculture operations and as part of the process a comprehensive review of the operation are conducted before a permit will be approved and issued,” said Prince William fire and rescue spokeswoman Kim Hylander.
Residents in Prince William are urged to call 703-792-6360 for more information on obtaining burn permits.
It’s recommended that residents make sure that grills, recreational or campfires are supervised during use and that they are completely extinguished, said Hylander. With the forecasted gusty winds today, Hylander also said residents should secure all outdoor furniture, trash receptacles, cooking grills, and other freestanding items that may become air born causing injury and damage if not properly secured.
DALE CITY, Va. — Police in Prince William County arrested two people in connection to a string of robberies on April 4.
At 10:42 p.m. in the 14300 block of Wrangler Lane, off Darbydale Avenue at the Dale Forest Apartments in Dale City, a 15-year-old boy told police he was approached by two mn who threatened him and demanded in shoes and jacket valued at $120, and then fled in a dark SUV once they got them, according to police documents. The victim was not injured.
Later at 11:15 p.m. in the area of Savannah Drive and Prather Place in Dale City, about a mile from the first robbery, a 13 and 14-year-old boy told police they were walking in the area when three males walked up, threatened them and demanded their things, according to police. The suspects made off with a cell phone and then again fled in an SUV, according to police.
On Thursday, police made arrests of two of the three people suspect to be involved in the cases. Marcus Dequann McClurkin, 20, is charged with three counts of robbery. His court date was not released. Also arrested is a 16-year-old male of Woodbridge, charged with three counts of robbery. His court date was also not released by police.
Police are also investigating another unrelated strong arm robbery in the Dale City area.
Officers were called at 2:45 p.m. Thursday to the area of Minnieville Road and Heneford Drive where a man riding a bicycle was knocked off the bike and assaulted, according to police documents. The victim suffered minor injuries.
The attacker took the victim’s wallet containing cash and then fled the area. Police were not able to locate the attacker.
He’s described as black, between 20 and 30-years-old, 6 feet tall, 190 pounds, medium build, with short black hair, a goatee and a scar on the left side of his face, last seen wearing blue jeans and a blue shirt, police documents state.
WOODBRIDGE, Va. — Over the past few weeks, chemical bottle bombs have become an increasing problem in Prince William County. There have been a number of occurrences in the Lake Ridge area beginning on March 18 and April 1 on Kempston Lane and April 5 on Berwick Place. The Fire Marshal’s Office and Prince William Police are working together to investigate, apprehend and prosecute those individuals responsible for these deadly devices.
Due to the corrosive nature of the mixture, anyone coming in contact with the materials while manufacturing or discharging the device can sustain serious and long-term debilitating injuries. Permanent injures to the skin, eyes, and respiratory tract are common.
The Fire Marshal’s Office and Police Department reminds everyone that individuals involved with the possession, manufacture, or discharge of chemical bottle bombs will face criminal charges for their actions. Additionally, they will be held responsible for costs associated with any property damage, emergency response and mitigation (police, HazMat, fire and rescue), and clean up. Due to the hazardous nature of the residual material, clean- up costs can be substantial.
If a chemical bottle bomb is discovered or suspected in the community, citizens should immediately relocate a safe distance away from the device and call 911 to report it. Under no circumstances should anyone touch or move a suspected device. Further questions or information should be directed to the Fire Marshal’s Office at 703-792-6360.
WOODBRIDGE, Va. — There are four transportation organizations that help govern how some commuters travel in Northern Virginia. Now there is a renewed call to consolidate them.
A total of 22 elected legislators in March sent a letter to the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission, one of the four transportation groups on the list that was asked to explore consolidation. PRTC operates OmniRide and OmniLink bus service in Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park.
For the past two sessions of the Virginia General Assembly, there have been failed efforts to consolidate PRTC, Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, Northern Virginia Regional Transportation Authority, and the Northern Virginia Regional Alliance.
The PRTC Commission is lead by several elected officials who meet on a monthly basis. Prince William Coles District Supervisor Marty Nohe Chairs both the NVRC and the NVTA.
“We ask you as chairs of NVTA, NVRC, NVTC, and PRTC, to engage your organizations in an effort to determine whether consolidation and/or improved coordination would improve regional planning, including transportation planning and services,” the letter stated.
Delegates from the Potomac Communities who signed the letter include Richard Anderson, R-Prince William, and Scott Lingamfelter, R-Woodbridge.
PRTC commissioners are scheduled to take up the matter at tonight’s regularly scheduled commission meeting.
DALE CITY, Va. — Fire crews were called to a wooded area in Dale City to douse a brush fire that claimed two acres of land.
Crews were called about 4 p.m. Tuesday to the area of Mapledale Avenue and Mahoney Drive after a fire was found in a wooded area behind several homes. The woods sit adjacent to Andrew Leitch Park, home of the Prince William County Park Authority’s Waterworks Park.
Crews on the scene said they initially were called to Mahoney Drive but could also access the burning brush from Rapshody Court. A creek lies in the woods where the blaze was found and flames burned brush all the way up to the creek, an incident official said.
This is the latest in a series of brush fires in this area, the official added.
Virginia American Water today announced the start of water main replacement on Castle Court in Dale City to enhance water quality and improve service reliability. The cost of the water system improvements is approximately $90,000.
Beginning the week of April 2, Virginia American Water will replace approximately 500 feet of aging two-inch cast iron water main with six-inch double-cement-lined pipe on Castle Court, located in the Cloverdale Community. The company is replacing pipe that dates back to 1967 and has a history of leaks. These improvements are part of Virginia American Water’s long-term strategy of ongoing capital investment in its water systems.
Crews will work weekdays between the hours of 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The estimated duration of the project is four weeks. During the project, some residents of Castle Court might experience limited inconvenience as the construction crews work near their driveway entrances. Crews will work as quickly as possible to shorten the length of any temporary inconveniences.
Virginia American Water, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water services to more than 300,000 people. Founded in 1886, American Water is the largest publicly traded U.S. water and wastewater utility company. With headquarters in Voorhees, N.J., the company employs more than approximately 7,000 dedicated professionals who provide drinking water, wastewater and other related services to
an estimated 15 million people in more than 30 states and parts of Canada. More information can be found by visiting amwater.com.
WOODBRIDGE, Va. — While final plans are not yet in place for High Occupancy Toll lanes on Interstate 95, transportation officials will begin preliminary work on the project next week.
Drivers will notice the work taking place on the highway shoulders on I-95 between Springfield and Dumfries, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.
The proposed toll lanes, if approved, will be a public-private partnership between the Virginia Department of Transportation and private construction firm Fluor-Transurban. Taxpayers are expected to foot $97 million while the private firm is expected to fund $843 million.
In December, officials said construction could begin as early as this spring. But no formal announcement has been made. According to vamegaprojects.com, the work scheduled next week is utility work.
Once known as HOT lanes, the project has apparently been rebranded 95 Express Lanes to match its counterpart toll lanes on the Capital Beltway, the 495 Express Lanes which are scheduled to open late this year.
I-95 north from Exit 150, Joplin Rd. (Route 619) to Springfield Interchange – Mobile right shoulder closures Monday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to noon for utility work.
I-95 north from Exit 150, Joplin Rd. (Route 619) to Springfield Interchange – Mobile single lane closures Tuesday through Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to noon for utility work.
I-95 south from the Springfield Interchange to Exit 150, Joplin Rd. (Route 619) – Mobile right shoulder closures Monday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. for utility work.
I-95 south from the Springfield Interchange to Exit 150, Joplin Rd. (Route 619) – Mobile single lane closures Tuesday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. for utility work.
I-95 High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes from Springfield Interchange to Dumfries Rd. (Route 234) – Mobile alternating shoulder closures Monday through Thursday from 7 am. to 7 p.m. and Friday 7 a.m. to noon.
WOODBRIDGE, Va. — Prince William County officials tonight will hold a public hearing on a proposed $912.6 million budget for 2013.
The public hearing begins at 7 p.m. at the Prince William County Government Center on Prince William Parkway in Woodbridge.
The new budget includes, among other items, funding for 12 new police officers, two new arson investigators within the county fire department, five new 911 operators, upgrades to the security system at the county’s juvenile detention center, more cash for the county’s gang response team, and a new center for economic development concentrated on redeveloping the U.S. 1 corridor in eastern Prince William.
Teachers in Prince William County who have been clamoring for pay raises got work last night they would receive them, but announced they would appear at the meeting in mass to urge the Prince William County Board of Supervisors to maintain the proposed tax rate of $1.215 per $100 of the assessed property value.
“Any lowering of the tax rate will directly impact public education as the Superintendent’s current proposed budget is based on the advertised tax rate,” stated Brandie Provenzano in an email to PotomacLocal.com.
Provenazno has said teachers will organize outside the government center to urge county supervisors to approve the proposed tax rate.
Tonight’s public hearing comes as county staff in recently years has trimmed $140 million from its budget, and has passed on more retirement costs to their employees, officials said.
PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — The Prince William County School Board approved an $861 million operating budget Wednesday night, directing the Superintendent to find $5 million in new spending cuts to cover the cost of providing a step increase to employees on the current pay scale.
Budget approval came a week later than originally expected, as Board Members debated how best to afford enhanced pay increases. The new plan builds on the foundation of the spending reductions originally proposed to pay for an across-the-board raise in the budget plan rejected during last week’s Board mark-up session.
By a 5-3 margin, Board Members voted this time to provide the widely sought step increase based on a 7.5 hour instructional day. The step will provide an average 2.85 percent pay hike, but actual amounts will vary according to each employee’s position on the current pay scale. In addition, all employees will receive an added one percent increase to offset the cost of a new state mandate that will require each PWCS employee to make a one percent contribution to the Virginia Retirement System over the upcoming school year.
Board members also approved an amendment directing the Superintendent to use any additional funds that could be received toward reducing class sizes and/or adjusting the budget-diminished Capital Improvements Program, according to future Board directions.
The immediate challenge for the School Division will be finding $5 million in cuts beyond those already included to fund pay increases in the Superintendent’s previous proposal. Prince William County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Steven L. Walts conceded that it will not be easy to find those additional cuts but noted, “We will make every effort not to lay off any employee.”
Though passed, the Budget is not yet final. It immediately goes to the Board of County Supervisors for their approval. Additionally, the county has yet to finalize the tax rate on which the budget revenues are based; the tax rate advertised last month can still decrease, but not increase, meaning PWCS could face further shortfalls. The state budget picture is uncertain as well. Clarifying legislative action could come as early as Friday, but might still require adjustments to the spending plan.