Archive for April, 2012

Board of Supervisors Adopts FY2013 County Budget

Adopted rate of $1.209 per $100 of assessed value allows Prince William to continue its history of the lowest Real Estate Tax Bills and lowest real estate tax burden among Northern Virginia counties.

The Prince William Board of County Supervisors continued its long history of providing the lowest residential real estate tax bills and lowest tax burden among all counties in Northern Virginia, adopting the FY2013 Budget on Tuesday, April 24, 2012, setting a rate of $1.209 per $100 of assessed value. Further, as part of the Budget adoption, the Board directed Business Professional and Occupational License (BPOL) threshold be increased to $250,000 of gross receipts.

The Board of County Supervisors also honored its commitment to the revenue sharing agreement with the Prince William Public School System, whereby the Board provides 56.75% of general fund revenues to the Schools. The adopted rate meets the request of the School Board for an increased rate to generate sufficient funding to provide pay raises for teachers in this fiscal year. Also, the budget includes a new police station, scheduled to open in 2016, to be added to the Capital Improvement Program, and merit increases will be granted to county staff for the first time in four years.

By adopting the FY2013 budget and the FY2013-2017 Five-Year Budget Plan, the Board maintains its commitment to keep real estate tax bills 28% lower than the rest of the Northern Virginia region. The average residential real estate tax bill for FY2013 will be $3,505 (includes the Fire Levy). This reflects an increase to the average tax bill of $110 over FY2012, yet in real dollars, tax bills remain below FY2009 levels.

The County’s conservative fiscal approach combined with innovative programming has paid dividends in recent years. Analyzing the per capita expenditures for all Virginia jurisdictions from 2007-2011, the Commonwealth’s Auditor of Public Accounts determined that per capita expenditures in Prince William County increased only $3 from 2007 to 2011, an independent verification of fiscal prudence. This compares to an average $136 per capita increase for the rest of the Northern Virginia counties.

The adopted budget maintains the Board’s guidance including:

  • An average tax bill that is flat when adjusted for inflation
  • Implementation of BOCS Strategic Policy Guidance and Principles of Sound Financial Management
  • Maintenance of the County/Schools revenue sharing agreement
  • Budget practices to maintain the County’s three AAA bond ratings
  • A balanced Five Year Plan
  • The lowest tax bill in Northern Virginia
  • The lowest tax burden in Northern Virginia
  • The lowest staff per thousand residents in Northern Virginia

New capital improvement projects funded with this year’s budget include the addition of a new Central District Police Station to meet the needs of mid-county residents. Funding is continued for the following:

  • 2006 Road Bond Projects
  • Prince William Parkway expansion (Old Bridge Rd. to Minnieville Rd.)
  • Minnieville Rd. widening (Spriggs Rd. to Route 234)
  • Rollins Ford Rd.
  • Route 1 North widening (Neabsco Mills to Featherstone Dr.)
  • Route 28 widening (to Vint Hill Road)

 Public Safety Improvements

  • Bacon Race Fire Station Design & Construction
  • Coles Fire & Rescue Station #6 reconstruction
  • Nokesville Fire Station #5 Reconstruction
  • Gainesville Fire & Rescue Station #4 Renovation

 2006 Library Bond Projects

  • Montclair Community Library
  • Gainesville Community Library

 Park Projects

  • Fuller Heights Park
  • Catharpin Park, Phase II
  • Rollins Ford Park (proffers only)
  • Potomac Heritage Trail
  • Extended trails throughout Prince William County
  • Veterans Park Improvements

For more specific information about the budget, visit www.pwcgov.org/budget.

PWC Largest Local Government to be Granted Exemption from Preclearance Program

The U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., entered a Consent Judgment and Decree on April 10, 2012, granting Prince William County exemption from the requirements of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This action makes Prince William County the largest local jurisdiction in the nation to be granted exemption.

In 1965, through Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, Congress required all jurisdictions in nine states, including Virginia, to submit any changes in voting to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for review prior to implementation. This action is known as “preclearance.” The Voting Rights Act also required select towns and counties in seven other states to seek preclearance. 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. Section 5 preclearance is required for any change potentially affecting voting, no matter how small, including such things as expanding the office hours for voter registration, or changing the names of polling places. The standards for a court to grant a community an exemption from the Section 5 preclearance requirements are quite high. Following an independent and extensive review of election history in Prince William County, the United States Justice Department informed the Court that it believes Prince William County meets those standards and deserves to be exempted.

“This is a major milestone in our County’s history,” praised Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart. “This shows how far we have come in the past 45 years. We are an inclusive community. We protect the voting rights of all U.S. Citizens regardless of race, religious preference or ethnicity. And this demonstrates our commitment to those essential rights of our citizens.”

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

DOJ attorneys interviewed members of the community and reviewed a significant quantity of documentary evidence, including background information; demographic data; minutes of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, the Prince William County School Board, the Town of Dumfries, the Town of Haymarket, the Town of Occoquan, and the Town of Quantico; and the preclearance submissions of Prince William County, the Prince William County School Board, the Town of Dumfries, the Town of Haymarket, the Town of Occoquan, and the Town of Quantico. This review confirmed that Prince William County met all the requirements necessary to be exempted from the preclearance process. This action bails out Prince William County Government, the Prince William County School Board, and each of the incorporated towns within Prince William County from preclearance.

For more information on the exemption or the settlement, contact the Registrar of Voters, Betty E. Weimer at (703)792-6470.

Board of County Supervisors Approves Park Authority Merger

During the Prince William Board of County Supervisors meeting March 13, 2012, a public hearing to consider merging the Park Authority into Prince William County Government was conducted. Following the public hearing, the Board voted unanimously to end the Park Authority’s separate corporate existence and to begin the formal process of creating a Department of Parks and Recreation.

The Board took action in response to the Park Authority Board’s resolution dated Jan. 25, 2012, requesting the Board of County Supervisors to consider the merger, and effective June 30, 2012, the Park Authority will be dissolved. Its function will become the responsibility of a new Department of Parks and Recreation effective July 1, 2012.

Staff from the County government and the Park Authority are working together to make recommendations to the Board on additional steps necessary to complete the merger and to make certain that there is seamless service to the community. For more information on the merger, visit www.pwcgov.org/parksmerger.

New Economic Development Director Announced

​After a nationwide search, Jeffrey A. Kaczmarek has been named the Economic Development Director for Prince William County because of his expertise, experience and documented successes in local economic development efforts. The Board of County Supervisors approved his hire during a special meeting on March 5, 2012, and he is expected to began work April 2, 2012.

Kaczmarek comes to Prince William County from Kansas City, Mo., where he served as the President and CEO of the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City from 2005-2011. During his time in Kansas City, Kaczmarek had several accomplishments:

  • Announced 135 projects with $2.1 billion in private sector investment and 14,000 new jobs;
  • Oversaw a $4 million budget, with a 30-member agency;
  • Helped to develop a new marketing brand for Kansas City – “America’s Creative Crossroads;”
  • Developed a life sciences cluster in Kansas City, including the creation of an animal health corridor;
  • Provided technical support to technology driven projects, including animal health, alternative energy and information technology;
  • Facilitated the opening of a biotechnology micro-incubator;
  • Launched the KCBizCare initiative to retain existing businesses and increase job growth; and
  • Worked to develop partnerships with the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Council of Kansas City.

Prior to his time in Kansas City, Kaczmarek worked for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation from 1999-2005 and the Oakland County, Michigan Community & Economic Development from 1980-1999.

Kaczmarek earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Urban Planning from Michigan State University. He has received more than 30 national and state awards for accomplishments and excellence in economic development and is a frequent speaker and contributor to many economic development organizations.

Since its inception in 1997, the Prince William County Department of Economic Development has announced 377 projects, $3.54 billion of investment and more than 15,000 jobs. Prince William County was ranked #13 in the nation by CNN/Money.com for attracting new jobs over the past 10 years, ranked #3 in the nation and #1 in Virginia for job growth by the National Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2011, and listed by the American Community Survey as the nation’s ninth highest median household income.

Key strengths for future economic development growth include:

  • Consistent County investment in capital infrastructure including the most robust County road-building program in Virginia;
  • Military, health care and technology interests along the I95/Rte 1 Corridor;
  • INNOVATION Technology Park serving as Northern Virginia’s leading life science business park;
  • Two major U.S. Interstate Corridors (I-66 & I-95) with growing demand for defense, healthcare and technology business growth;
  • George Mason University Life Sciences Campus and two campuses of the Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC);
  • Location of the Virginia Workforce Development Center at the Woodbridge Campus of the NVCC;
  • Supportive and involved business leaders;
  • World class public school system; and
  • Quality of life and amenities that attract economic development.