One of Manassas’ greatest problems is with its housing stock. Some land use/development decisions from the 1960-80’s have not stood the test of time: areas with too high a density, areas that do not have adequate parking, areas that have not been well maintained, areas that suffer from overcrowding. My approach has been to ensure (as much as possible) that new developments are of a very high quality with materials and design to stand the test of time. A good example of what I am trying to achieve is the new Van Metre development in Old Town. My standard for developers has been, “don’t show me a product that you could not build in Old Town Alexandria.” In other words, do not give Manassas a dumbed down, lesser product.
Success in public education is the single most important issue facing the City of Manassas. Without a school system that is recognized for excellence, Manassas will struggle in attracting (competing for) the high quality businesses and residents of the future. I am a product of high quality public education systems in Chanute, Kansas and Ankeny, Iowa. To me, high quality public education is one of America’s greatest achievements. No other tool in history has provided so many people with an opportunity to improve their lives. To me, having successful public schools is Manassas’ #1 priority.
Like most people, I want my taxes to be as low as possible. As a Citizen and business owner in Manassas, I pay virtually every tax possible. But the bigger issue is, what level of taxation is best for Manassas? Lower is not always better. I have learned that while good government with a high level of service costs more upfront than bad government. A low level of service driven by a revenue stream that is too low will eventually doom the community to a downward spiral. Rot and blight will set in causing those with the means to move elsewhere.
Another thing that I have learned is that it takes a certain amount of money to have good government. A teacher costs what a teacher costs. It is the same for a policeman or utility worker.
There have been several well-meaning proposals to “reduce” taxes by eliminating items such as the BPOL and Machinery and Tools tax. These proposals are typically not coupled with any realistic proposals to reduce government services/spending by a matching amount. The net effect of these proposals is to shift more of the tax burden from the business sector to our residential homeowners.
While I have served on the City Council, Manassas has maintained one of the very lowest average tax bills in Northern Virginia.
Quality of Life
The Quality of Life in a community is what makes any place truly special. In Manassas we are fortunate to be building upon a real history and a long standing sense of community. Over the years, the Citizens and prior leaders have made wise investments that have enhanced our Quality of Life. Lake Manassas, the Airport, the Candy Factory and the Harris Pavilion, all coupled with tremendous City services (utilities, etc.) are but a few. More recently, the investments such as the Freedom Center, the Hylton Performing Arts Center and of course the improvements on Battle and Main streets in Old Town have worked to improve our Quality of Life. Altogether, this makes Manassas a unique community in which to live and work. The vibrancy these assets bring to our community continues to attract new residents and businesses.
“For 26 years, I have been proud to call Manassas home.”
Help me continue my efforts
in building a better Manassas!
In the last election cycle much was said about Lake Manassas. My views on the Lake are pretty simple.
First, any plan to open the Lake for recreational use MUST protect the health of the Citizens of Manassas and their investment in the Lake as the primary source of drinking water for Manassas and much of PWC.
Second, any plan to open the Lake MUST financially protect the Citizens of Manassas. It is my belief that Manassas residents would make up a very small minority of the users of an opened Lake. But currently (as in the past) all of the financial risk involved with an open Lake will fall upon the City and its residents.
Many ideas and plans have been floated. Yet none have positively addressed my concerns as stated above. When someone has a plan that does so, I will be very happy to listen.
The Role of Government
I am absolutely a believer in small government and the free enterprise system. To me, the primary role of government is to provide services for the common good that the private sector cannot provide (Police, Fire, Streets, Public Works, etc.) It is imperative that the level of the services provided by our government be of the highest quality coupled with a high degree of efficiency. Manassas meets both of those tests. We are not perfect but our Citizen surveys show a very high degree of satisfaction with the quality and quantity of the services provided by the City. As for efficiency, the City has the same number of employees in 2016 as we had in 2005. But those employees serve 10,000 more people (31%) than they did 11 years ago. Manassas is fortunate to have a dedicated and hard-working public sector staff.
Another important role of government is to enable the private sector to flourish. In Manassas some examples of this are our investments in Old Town. By improving the infrastructure, the City has encouraged development and new business. The result has been a vibrant addition to Manassas. The City made a small investment that has paid for itself several times over with new revenues.