Manassas needs a comprehensive plan for next 30 years.

The following is a Potomac Local article from October 22:

Mark Wolfe is running to keep his seat on the Manassas City Council. Spending eight years on the council as Republican. This is the first time he seeks office as a Democrat.

We sent a questionnaire to Wolfe and his responses are below:

PL: What are the top three major issues facing Manassas residents?

Wolfe: Improving our schools, enhanced economic development and involving our citizens in planning for the future of Manassas.

PL: What concrete solutions do you propose to address these issues?

Wolfe: First, we need to engage our citizens in a comprehensive, public, strategic planning exercise. We need to fully understand the goals, desires and vision of the citizens of Manassas as we plan for the next 30 years.After gaining citizen input, we can begin implementing programs and budgetary choices consistent with the vision expressed by the citizens.
One idea that has been suggested in the education community is adding having universal Pre-K to our schools. Educators have told me that this is the most effective means of improving results/test scores in the schools.
Another idea is to expand our Economic Development efforts. That we need to expand the staffing and resources dedicated by the City to recruit new businesses to Manassas and to help the existing businesses to grow.PL: From your perspective, what is the job description of the office you’re seeking?Wolfe: The job of the City Council is to be responsive to the citizens. Taking input from our the citizens the Council sets the priorities and vision for the City staff to implement. The City Council does not manage the City workforce; that is the job of the City Manager. Nor does the Council administer the Schools.

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Wolfe: The expertise I bring in eight years of experience in doing the job coupled with over 35 years of business experience. This experience involves success in both the profit and non-profit sectors.

PL: Do you feel that the average citizen is well informed and understands the workings of city government? If not, how do you intend on improving communication with your constituency? 

Wolfe: Our citizens are not as fully informed or engaged about their local government as the could/should be. Many of our citizens have recently moved to Manassas and are not familiar with their government and the plans for the future of Manassas. The most impactful step that the City can take to improve the level of understanding and engagement is to involve the citizens in a broad-based input process for the Manassas strategic plan. This was last done in 2003. Think of how Manassas has changed since 2003. To have a positive future for Manassas it is imperative that all parts of the community are afforded the opportunity to be a part of this process.

PL: Have you ever made any mistakes in your public life? How have they affected you?

Wolfe: That we (and I) have at times been too slow to address important needs and opportunities confronting our community. A good example is a need for a Southside fire station. The City has known for years that the fire/rescue response times to much of our community to significantly above the recommended times and national standard. Yet it has taken the City years to begin to rectify the problem. I should have been more forceful in bringing this issue to head.

PL: Our readers want leaders in local government. Why should they vote for you?

Wolfe: Because I have been a leader in helping to make Manassas a better place to live. With Andy Harrover I helped champion the Battle Street redevelopment. I then led the way to the improvements on Main Street. Together these projects have added to the vitality of Manassas and have provided added City revenue without raising taxes. I have also led the way on the Gateway project which will add significantly to our commercial tax base. I have championed the revitalization of the South Grant Avenue area, the Prince William Street improvements and the location of a new library into Manassas. And I have also fought for a South Side fire station. It is easy to be comfortable. To say that things are good enough. And not to push for change and continued growth. But Manassas competes in a global marketplace for businesses and residents.