Archive for February, 2012

Prince William County Saves Millions by Refinancing Debt

On February 14, Prince William County executed a $51.6 million refinancing bond sale that will result in $5.17 million of savings for the County. This refunding sale was completed for the purpose of applying the currently low interest rates to secure cheaper refinancing of existing County debt. As part of this sale, the County’s triple-A rating was reaffirmed by all three major rating agencies – Fitch, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s (S&P). When this refinancing savings is combined with other recent refinancing savings, Prince William County will save $19.3 million and the schools will save $11.7 million on refinancing sales completed since 2010. This means that the combined County and schools refinancings since January 2010 will generate $31 million in savings over the next 18 years.  

Credit ratings are tied strongly not only to the financial management of a local government, but also to the economic climate. Fitch listed several reasons for reaffirming the County’s rating, including the County’s prudent fiscal management; dynamic and strong local economy anchored by federal government presence; below average debt level; and sound reserve levels. Moody’s rationale for reaffirming the County’s Aaa rating includes the “County’s sizable, wealthy tax base; strong financial flexibility supported by effective management and ample reserve levels; and manageable debt burden.” And S&P listed the following reasons to reaffirm the County’s AAA rating: the County has a deep and diverse economy; a sizable and diverse property tax base; strong financial management, resulting in consistent operations and strong reserves throughout the recession; and low-to-moderate debt.

Prince William County is only one of 72 (out of 22,525) or 0.3 percent of local governments that has achieved triple, triple-A ratings.

Proposed FY13 Budget Presented

During the Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) meeting held on February 14, County Executive Melissa Peacor presented the Proposed FY 2013 Budget that, based on BOCS direction, would:

  • Implement the Board of County Supervisors’ Policy and Budget Guidance contained in the Strategic Plan utilizing the Principles of Sound Financial Management;
  • Maintain the commitment to Prince William County Schools through the long-standing revenue sharing agreement that provides 56.75 percent of General Revenues directly to the school system – the highest revenue share for schools in Northern Virginia;
  • Fund in full the Proposed FY 2013-2018 Capital Improvement Plan;
  • Keep average tax bills flat (when adjusted for inflation); and
  • Continue the goal of identifying efficiencies in order to generate capacity for new investment.  This year a total of $19 million in budget savings was identified for FY13.

The proposed FY13 General Fund budget, including the schools transfer, totals $912.2 million, an increase of 2.5 percent over FY12. The transfer to Prince William County Schools is $445.4 million, an increase of 4.6 percent over FY12.

The proposed budget showcases the County’s strong financial management, which has resulted in three (3) AAA bond ratings and enables Prince William County to save considerably on debt service costs and capital infrastructure while still providing needed services for citizens now and into the future. The proposed budget provides a balanced County budget for the next five years.

Through the BOCS policy and budget guidance, and as economic indicators continue to improve, the Proposed FY13 Budget focuses on efficiencies and improvements to County government such as completing the 2006 Road Bond projects, completing the new libraries in Gainesville and Montclair, and adding critical staffing capacity in public safety, economic development and human services to improve the quality of life and safety of Prince William County residents.
 
The following schedule will guide the budget process moving forward:

  • Feb. 18, 2012: Community Meeting, McCoart Building, 9 a.m.
  • Feb. 21, 2012: BOCS authorize tax rate advertisement for FY 13 budget public hearing
  • Feb. 24, 2012: Tax rate advertisement appears in newspapers
  • March 13, 2012: Budget Work Session, McCoart Building, 2:00 p.m.
  • March 20, 2012:  Budget Work Session, McCoart Building, 2:00 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
  • March 27, 2012: Budget Work Session, McCoart Building, 2:00 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. March 29, 2012: Public Hearing, McCoart Building, 7:30 p.m.
  • April 10, 2012: BOCS Budget Recap, McCoart Building, 2 p.m.
  • April 17, 2012: BOCS Budget Markup, McCoart Building, 2 p.m.
  • April 24, 2012: BOCS Adopts FY 13 Budget, McCoart Building, 2 p.m.
  • July 1, 2012: FY 13 Budget and FY13-18 CIP posted online

For more information on the proposed budget and to follow the Prince William County budget process, please visit www.pwcgov.org/budget.

Public Hearing on Merging Park Authority with the County Government Scheduled

UPDATE: The public hearing on the merge of the Prince William County Park Authority with Prince William County Government has been scheduled for the Board of County Supervisors meeting to be held on Tuesday, March 13, 2012.  To view the agenda for the meeting, click here.

For full story, read below…

Black History Month Program

This year’s Prince William County Black History Month program is scheduled for Thursday, February 23, 2012 beginning at 11 a.m. in the Dr. A.J. Ferlazzo Building, 15941 Donald Curtis Drive in Woodbridge.

The program will include a video presentation and keynote speaker covering the topic of Black Women in American Culture & History. Lunch will be served after the program. All are welcome to attend.

Senior Center Memberships Due March 1

The Prince William Senior Centers in Manassas and Woodbridge are now accepting annual memberships of $25. The senior centers are designed for independent seniors, 55 years of age or older. The membership is required for participation in all activities and programs beginning March 1, 2012.

People 60 years of age and older who participate solely in the nutrition lunch program at either senior center will not be required to have a membership, but activities will be restricted to just those offered as part of the nutrition program.

Both the Manassas and Woodbridge Senior Centers have been in operation for over 25 years. They are open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. – except for government holidays, the last Wednesday of each month and when schools are closed for inclement weather. The Centers are closed the week between Christmas and New Year’s and the week of July 4th.

The Manassas Senior Center is located at 9320 Mosby Street in Manassas, 703-792-6405. The Woodbridge Senior Center is located at 13850 Church Hill Drive in Woodbridge, 703-792-5081.

For more information, visit www.pwcgov.org/aaa.

Public Hearing to be Held on Merging Park Authority with the County Government

During the Prince William Board of County Supervisors meeting this afternoon, the Board requested a public hearing to be scheduled to discuss whether the Park Authority should end its corporate existence and merge with the County government. This is in response to the Park Authority Board resolution dated January 25, 2012, requesting the Board of County Supervisors consider this merger. If the merger is to occur, the Park Authority’s existence as a separate corporation will terminate on a specific date, targeted to be June 30, but no later than December 31, 2012.

The Park Authority Board has indicated its support for this merger by recommending the following steps:

1) Create a Prince William County Department of Parks and Recreation to provide all services currently being provided by the Prince William County Park Authority;

2) Merge the Park Authority into County government through the following steps:

  1. End the separate corporate existence of the Park Authority by amending its Articles of Incorporation to specify that the Park Authority’s term of existence shall end on June 30, 2012;
  2. Transform the Park Authority Board into the Prince William County Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, effective July 1, 2012;
  3. Transfer all probationary and non-probationary persons employed by the Park Authority as of June 30, 2012, below the Executive Director level, to like status in County employment as soon as this may practically be done, while causing the least disruption to operations, after July 1, 2012, with the Executive Director, who is a contract employee of the Park Authority, to be taken into County employment as a probationary employee;
  4. Assume ownership of all Park Authority property in the name of the Board of County Supervisors, on behalf of the citizens of the County; and
  5. Assume all contractual obligations and all liabilities of the Park Authority in the name of the Board of County Supervisors on or before July 1, 2012.

Staff from the County government and the Park Authority are working together diligently to make recommendations to the Board on the steps necessary to complete the merger and to make sure that there is seamless service to the community.

Annual Business Recycling Report

All Prince William County businesses are asked to complete the annual recycling report by February 15, 2012. The 15-question report can be accessed at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/pwcrecyclingreport. The report can be completed in 5-10 minutes preferably by the property manager or the person most familiar with trash and recycling services for the property. The Department of Public Works is conducting the annual program to gather information on recycling activities from all businesses and non-residential properties, a requirement of the Prince William County Code and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Recycling is mandatory for everyone in Prince William County.

Annually, about 58% of the County’s waste gets disposed each year at the Prince William County Landfill and the County encourages residents and businesses to do more to reduce, reuse and recycle their waste so that we can conserve natural resources and landfill capacity for future generations.

Home-based businesses and businesses located within the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park or the incorporated towns of Dumfries, Haymarket, Occoquan or Quantico are exempt from filing this report. The recycling information is needed in order for the County to comply with recycling reporting requirements established by the Commonwealth of Virginia under Code of Virginia, Section 10.1-1411 and 15.1 – 11.5.2.

For more information on the annual non-residential recycling report or to learn more about ways that you can reduce, reuse and recycle in Prince William County, please visit www.pwcgov.org/trashandrecycling or call the Solid Waste Division at (703) 792-4670.

Master Food Volunteer Training Information Session

The Master Food Volunteer Program of the Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) office will offer an informational session about the upcoming Master Food Volunteer Training. If you love cooking, learning about nutrition and wellness, and want to help others, this training may be for you! The next information session is scheduled for Friday, February 17, from 10 a.m. until noon at the Sudley North Government Center, 7987 Ashton Avenue in Manassas. The training program will meet for four Thursdays beginning March 1 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at All Saints Anglican Church in Woodbridge.

The Master Food Volunteer Program is modeled after the Master Gardener Program of Extension. Volunteers in the Master Food Volunteer Program receive 30 hours of training in basic nutrition, meal planning, healthy cooking techniques, and food safety, with an opportunity to sample delicious recipes. In exchange, they are asked to complete 30 hours of volunteering within one year. The $95 fee for the class includes a notebook and other educational materials, an apron, a tote bag and continental breakfast and lunch each day of the training.

Opportunities for volunteering include food demonstrations and displays at health fairs or farmers markets, food preparation and food safety classes and assisting with nutrition education programs. In addition, volunteers will have the opportunity to create their own forum for outreach in the community.

Volunteers have a wide range of experience including Registered Dietitians, Registered Nurses, culinary arts students, chefs, entrepreneurs, Family and Consumer Sciences teachers, and more. This is the fourth training in the VCE Northern District of Virginia. In FY 2011 fourteen Prince William County Master Food Volunteers delivered 400 hours of educational programming at 15 locations with 350 participants.

For more information, contact Extension Agent Nancy Stegon at (703)792-4764.