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Podcast

Podcast: OmniRide’s rebranding, and its future growing beyond transit buses

In this episode of the Potomac Local Podcast, I talk with OmniRide Executive Director Bob Schneider about the transit agency’s new look, how it is overcoming internal struggles in its organization, and a new service that will operate more like Uber than a transit bus.

We recorded this podcast at the OmniRide Transit Center, home of the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission in Woodbridge, on Monday, April 30, 2018.

Podcast: Manassas goes from ‘investing’ to ‘maintaining’ in this year’s city budget

Pate

Last year, Manassas City officials passed a budget that increased the average real estate tax bill by an average of $198. It was called an “investing year” as the budget included multiple capital improvement projects that included the construction of a new police public safety center, a new fire station, and funding for a project that would remake Grant Avenue — once a main entrance to the city prior to the construction of Prince William Parkway in the 1990s.

This year’s budget process is about “maintaining” the funding the city council committed to funding last year. And, that means city residents are on the hook to pay about $60 more per year on their real estate tax on average.

The proposed tax rate is also about 2.6 percent higher than last year due to another commitment the city council made with the city’s school board to fund the schools with an additional $1.4 million a year for three years.

The city is in year three of that agreement and is in the process of deciding whether or not to keep it up. If the deal is kept and is unchanged, the city’s tax rate could increase up to seven cents on the dollar over the next three years.

Manassas City Manager Patrick Pate talked with us for this episode of the Potomac Local Podcast and gave us an idea as to where officials are in city’s budget process. The budget is set to be approved by city council on May 14.

We tap into the health of the Prince William craft brewery industry

We’re talking about the health of local craft breweries on today’s Potomac Local Podcast.

The founders of Waters End Brewery in Lake Ridge: Ryan Sharkey, Zack Mote, and Josh Fournelle join us to talk about their brewery business model.

The timely conversation comes as two other breweries in nearby Woodbridge — Ornery Brewery Public House and Heroic Aleworks — closed their doors earlier this year. And just last week, the region’s first brewery — BadWolf Brewery in Manassas — announced it is downsizing and abandoning its plans for distribution to store shelves on regional bars and restaurants.

Has the bubble burst on the local craft brewery industry? Is it too late for aspiring craft brewers to get int the game? And what’s the difference between the larger destination breweries vs. s small neighborhood tap house?

I hope you enjoy this episode of the Potomac Local Podcast.

What’s being done to help the homeless in Prince William County?

Prince William County has a homeless problem. 

About 400 people in the county live in shelters, or in wooded areas around major roadways and shopping centers. 

As more development occurs in the county forcing some out of their tents in wooded encampments, the county’s government aims to do more to help the homeless get access to education, training, basic services, as well as work to prevent facing homelessness from going without a roof over their heads. 

On this episode of the Potomac Local Podcast: 

Tony Turnage, Prince William County Homeless Services Division Chief 

Jacob Moser, Assistant to the Occoquan District Supervisor Ruth Anderson 

Juan Rivera talks about adding a charter service, and the future of the Manassas Regional Airport

The Manassas Regional Airport is the largest general aviation airport in Virginia.

For years, the airport has attracted pilots and their clients who are looking for an alternative to larger airports like Regan Washington National or Dulles airports. 

We talked to the airport’s director Juan Rivera who told us that while the airport has little room left to expand its land footprint, it is looking to add new services like a charter plane service. 

It’s all in this episode of the Potomac Local Podcast.

Supervisor Anderson, Police Chief Keen talk traffic safety, enforcement on the first Potomac Local Podcast

Traffic congestion and enforcement is a growing problem in Prince William County.

As the population continues to increase, so do the number of fatal car crashes. There were 26 fatal crashes in the county in 2016, a whopping 145% increase over the prior year.

One local leader, Supervisor Ruth Anderson of the Occoquan District, says it’s no longer enough to address the speeding problem on a case-by-case, localized basis, and has called for the creation of a new panel made up of police, transportation officials, residents, and media to examine the problem and proposed new solutions.

Mrs. Anderson joins us today on the Potomac Local Podcast to discuss her new initiative, to tell us what it will mean for drivers, and for those who want safer roads.

Also joining us on the Potomac Local Podcast today is Manassas Police Chief Douglas Keen.

He’s been the city’s police chief for the past eight years, and he started his law enforcement career in Manassas in 1989.

It’s fair to say he’s seen a lot of change in the region, especially when it comes to traffic.

We talk to Mr. Keen about the challenges of traffic enforcement, and about what new tactics his officers are using to keep both drivers and pedestrians safe.