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Manassas City Council Meeting Tonight

By Greg L | 26 February 2007 | Manassas City | 4 Comments

The Manassas City Council has a meeting and public hearing tonight that should be rather interesting for citizens to attend. There’s the presentation of the proposed FY 2008 city budget. And there’s ten minuted reserved in advance by Philip Van Cleave of the VCDL, who will undoubtably speak about the recent harassment of several citizens by members of the Manassas City Police Department and the discovery of some rather inflammatory statements regarding the incident that came to light as a result of a FOIA request. I’ll be at what will certainly be an equally interesting PWCRC meeting tonight, but the major media outlets will be in Manassas to cover the meeting in my absence, as well as a number of regular readers who I’m sure will be ready to share their observations.

Despite the potential for a lot of passionate discussion, I’m sure citizens attending tonight’s meeting will come away impressed with the way the City Council will manage the meeting and how it will address the citizen concerns that I expect to be expressed. This isn’t the first time the Manassas City Council has had to deal with contentious issues. Hopefully those who address the council this evening will demonstrate the same degree of respect that the council consistently affords to those who address it. Mr. Van Cleave is also pretty experienced in dealing with contentious issues in a respectful manner, so this should end up being a pretty genteel conversation regarding some tough issues. So while informative, the entertainment component of tonight’s meeting should be pretty low, unless folks start reading excerpts from the Manassas Journal-Messenger. Few fireworks tonight would probably a good thing.

While the issue of the “VCDL 7″ is what will drive a lot of tonight’s discussion, I hope that citizens take some time to understand the 2008 budget and weigh in on it. Everyone by this time is well aware of the “VCDL 7″ incident, and I’m pretty sure the city is already well on it’s way towards addressing it, but that should not drown out other topics of conversation. What the city may not be as informed of as this law enforcement incident, is how the citizens view the 2008 budget and what suggestions for improvement they may have. I’m not quite sure that they’ve had a lot of opportunity to digest the budget, however, given that the link for the proposed budget on the city’s website is broken.  While some citizens could have used some more time to evaluate it, copies should be available at the council meeting for those versed in financial statement speed reading. For the rest of the items on the agenda, there’s plenty of detail in the meeting’s Agenda Packet.

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  1. Andy H said on 26 Feb 2007 at 3:55 pm:
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    I do hope to hear from citizens about the budget. I’ll be blogging my thoughts as I wend my way through my first budget session(s) but input is always a good thing. So far, I’ve recieved very little.

    I’m also interested to hear from the VCDL. The police are surely investigating the matter but I doubt any kind of report is available just yet.

  2. citizenofmanassas said on 26 Feb 2007 at 5:26 pm:
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    Here is my opinion on the budget. I realize you are new to the Council and therefore not responsible for past budgets. The City had about three years where it was possible to provide real tax cuts to us thanks to the booming real estate market. Instead, the City went on a spending spree and did not cut taxes at all.

    Currently the real estate market is pretty soft, and we have lost the window for real tax cuts. The Council should keep spending at the same rate as last year, we simply cannot handle more taxes, as it is, my mortgage payment went up another 30 dollars a month just to cover the increase in taxes we are now paying. Sure, that does not seem like a lot but when you consider it is on top of increases over the last three years, it simply is not right to keep spending our money in a irresponsible way.

    Having more events in Old Town to attract out of town people is a good start at creating new tax revenue for the City. It also will lesson the strain on the homeowners of the City. Attracting new businesses should also be a major priority for the Council. Lastly, putting a marina at Lake Manassas will not only provide a new revenue source for the City, but will give us a chance to utilize one of the better outdoor amenities the City has to offer.

    Of course the way the police treated the “Manassas 7″ is not the best way to attract out of town folks, and to encourage more businesses to move into the City.

  3. Batson D. Belfrey said on 27 Feb 2007 at 9:20 am:
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    I was at the meeting. VCDL was well represented. Iwould estimate 80-100 VCDL members and supporters were there, many Manassas residents. The Mayor did a great job of interacting with the crowd. No fireworks, just applause for each of the speakers. No one defended the actions of the Police, although I suspect there is a LTE from William Westhoff being drafted as we speak.

    The only other speakers were a one who spoke in favor of Councilman Harrover’s proactive zoning enforcement initiative, and another who spoke about the need to make sure sidewalks are clear of snow and ice.

    I will be watching what Skinner does. One speaker, a Manassas resident, called for Skinner’s removal, citing his position on 287g and the Tony’s incident as examples of Skinner’s lack of leadership. Not sure that this will happen, but I would imagine that Skinner will be less inclined to give the officer’s a free pass. I predict at least one firing, and a few suspensions.

  4. citizenofmanassas said on 27 Feb 2007 at 11:31 am:
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    That was me who called for the Chief to be fired. Funny how the chief said in defending his position on the ICE program, that his officers are too busy to add another responsibility, yet on a Saturday night, crime was so bad that only seven officers could show up at Tony’s to handle the call. If you look at the calls the department received last year, many were to assist other departments, I would imagine those were the County and Manassas Park, well if the officers are so busy, how is it they can respond to calls outside of the City? Shouldn’t they be to busy fighting crime in our own City to worry about what is going on in the County?

    Skinner has to go!

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