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Throw The Bums Out!

By Greg L | 30 August 2008 | Manassas Park | 34 Comments

Today’s edition of the MJM discusses the candidacy of Peter Farrell for the Manassas Park Governing Board, and throws out an interesting campaign issue that would seem to merit just the drive-by reference it received.  This election in Manassas Park should focus on financial issues and in particular that sordid game of real estate assessment fraud that currently props up the city’s spending plans.  Hopefully as the election draws nearer, the candidates will force the local media to discuss this issue.

“They have to be honest and realistic with their methods of raising that money,” Farrell said of the city. “You can’t tell someone their house is worth $260,000 when they know it’s worth $110,000 and make them feel better.”

Farrell is absolutely right here, and I’ve spoken with the Republican candidate Brian Leeper and he is equally concerned.  In order to protect city tax revenue and keep the tax rate from exploding to an utterly ridiculous percentage, the assessments in Manassas Park have been artificially inflated over the past several years.  In 2007 tax assessments remained flat while residential sale prices plummeted, and in 2008 the decrease in assessments nowhere near matches the decline in prices.  Yet still the tax rate in Manassas Park is more than 20% higher than Prince William County and Manassas City, even as the city continues their spending spree.

It’s just about impossible to attribute this scheme to non-nefarious causes.  There clearly has been an effort to defraud the residents of Manassas Park, and absent evidence of behavior that criminal violations of the law have occurred the only alternative is to render a verdict at the polls.  Hopefully Farrell, Leeper and Naddoni will have an opportunity to do something about this ongoing fraud and abuse in Manassas Park.



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34 Comments

  1. me-n-u said on 30 Aug 2008 at 9:41 am:
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    Good luck to those who are running against the establishment.

  2. Anonymous said on 30 Aug 2008 at 9:57 am:
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    Greg supports Democrats. Who knew?

  3. Brian Leeper said on 30 Aug 2008 at 11:36 am:
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    As of sometime in May, the assessments were projected to go down by 3% (from 2008 to 2009) in Manassas Park. (This is based on a slide in a powerpoint presentation I saw at a City Council meeting a few months ago).

    What’s funny about that is I challenged my assessment with the assessor’s office and they dropped it about 6%!

  4. Anonymous said on 30 Aug 2008 at 2:55 pm:
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    These new guys are going to have to campaign more in MP if they want to beat the establishment. They need to knock on hundreds of doors and talk to the people living out here to discuss what has been going on and what they plan to do about it. It is September almost and I have seen no campaign signs, or for that matter no sign AT ALL anywhere that there is an election in two months. People in MP are generally less well-to-do financially, less educated, more dependent on government day to day (read illegals) than all the other surrounding jurisdictions, so therefor they will require some face time. We all know that our assessments were a good 30-40% overinflated this year and we are all pretty angry about that, but what are we to do? There are only three things that can rescue this city next June:

    1. A major cut in services with a large number of government worker layoffs. Seeing as how MP is so small and its level of service so minimal already, I don’t see how doing that can save enough money to make a difference.

    2. An increase in the property tax rate to somewhere in the neighborhood of $2.00 per $100 assessed value to make up for the 40-50% decline in home values. This won’t happen due to the stigma alone of then having one of if not THE highest property tax rates in the country. This will also have the added effect of driving every single business out of town along with a flurry of home owner’s keys that get tossed at the council during the meeting.

    3. Another over-inflation of home assessments which obviously won’t stand up legally for anyone who bothers to refute their assessment again, me included. It’s very easy to run comps for the year for your tax grid and all of them for the past 7 months say that homes are selling for 180-200k (or less in some cases) in my development which is 30-50% less than my last assessment. I didn’t have that ace up my sleeve last year because home values really didn’t start drastically dropping here until after the first of this year which technically makes the city’s last assessments pretty accurate if they were based on 2007 values only. Fair? No way. Accurate if based on 2007 numbers? Yep, pretty much.

    Either way, the city appears to be headed for major financial problems come Summer ‘09 if something isn’t done about it RIGHT THE F NOW. Chopping 30-50% out of your budget overnight just can’t happen, yet asking the homeowner to rescue the city from its own spending spree and incompetence in management is just not going to happen next year either, legally or morally. Catch 22 anyone?

    Manassas Park has suffered much more greatly than most jurisdictions because of the invasion of illegal aliens. Its home values, percentage-wise, dropped much more than surrounding areas (read illegals) in one of the worst real estate downturns since the Great Depression. I respect these three new guys running for office with this dark cloud looming over us because they certainly have their work ahead of them. I hope one of them is learned in the ways of business, finance and legalese…

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/27/business/27bama.html

    Just one of many to fold before this is all said and done. We are in round 3 or 4 of this credit and housing crisis folks. Lots of fun left to come in the later innings. Gustav and Hanna and then Ike hot on their heels should prove to be quite interesting for the country’s financials for the next two weeks as well. Not to mention the human tragedy tolls involved with these storms….

  5. americangal4ever said on 30 Aug 2008 at 3:27 pm:
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    courtesy of americanpatrol www.americanpatrol.com
    Palin was a supporter and fund-raiser for Pat Buchanan as far back as 1996.
    One of Buchanan’s main issues is illegal immigration and the need to control the border and enforce our laws. He is opposed to McCain’s comprehensive immigration reform. Were she to selectively back off illegal immigration and support McCain’s plan she would prove to be a sell-out and would hurt McCain more than helping them. She and McCain must know this. If they don’t, we must make sure they do.

    Here is all contact information on McCain and Palin
    Sara Palin Governor of Alaska
    Governors office
    Juneau Office
    Alaska State Capitol Building
    Third Floor

    P.O. Box 110001
    Juneau, AK 99811-0001

    Phone (907) 465-3500
    Fax (907) 465-3532

    McCains and Palin campaign website 2008 email info@johnmccain.com.

    Laura Ingraham stated on her radio show Friday morning that a few months ago she spoke with Palin and Palin told her that she was against “comprehensive immigration” reform. If it is true that she opposes McCain and Obama and Biden on amnesty and instead is for strong enforcement of the borders, this will get McCain more votes than he would lose from having another open-borders person on his ticket.

  6. Big Dog said on 30 Aug 2008 at 4:49 pm:
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    Manassas Park opted to move their municipal
    elections from May to November. The rational for
    this was to increase voter turn out, while others
    countered that the local folks would be lost in the
    swirl of state and national campaigns. Will be
    interesting to see how it works out.

    FYI - Manassas Park will not have school board elections.
    Unlike most Virginia jurisdictions, the city council
    appoints board members.

  7. Anonymous said on 30 Aug 2008 at 5:00 pm:
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    Anonymous said on 30 Aug 2008 at 2:55 pm makes a very good point about the value of campaigning. I have met Naddoni and Farrell at events. I have yet to see Brian Leeper. No one will get my vote until I have spoken to them - that means you have to show up somewhere (National Night Out, Fall Festival in October at Costello), knock on my door, or call me. Whether you like her or not, Noreen Slater attempted to call every voter on the rolls in Manassas Park. No one else put forward that kind of effort in the last cycle, but in a small community, it is what gets you votes. Jackson Miller, running for a bigger office, knocked on doors as well, from early summer all the way through the fall. I saw Jeanette Rishell come through my neighborhood one day I was leaving. That is the work that you commit to when you put your name in the ring.

    Brian, now might be the time to start walking and knocking on some doors. You will get more votes than by campaigning here alone.

  8. me-n-u said on 30 Aug 2008 at 6:57 pm:
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    Okay Brian. Where are you?

  9. info said on 30 Aug 2008 at 7:09 pm:
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    http://www.predatoryaliens.com/

  10. es_la_ley said on 30 Aug 2008 at 8:30 pm:
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    info said on 30 Aug 2008 at 7:09 pm:

    http://www.predatoryaliens.com/

    Thanks for posting that link.

    Good grief. What a collection of @$$holes. I wish one could search the vermin by state/region/zip.

  11. Brian Leeper said on 30 Aug 2008 at 10:37 pm:
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    I am here. My contact information is:

    Phone: 703-367-0300
    Email: brian.leeper@gmail.com

    Feel free to email or call me.

    I’ll be going door-to-door in September/October.

    By the way..I told city council a year ago during Citizen’s Time that my assessment was over-valued and that prices are dropping. In the surrounding jurisdictions, assessments went down in 2007 yet in MP they went up. That doesn’t make sense; real estate in MP is not worth significantly more (or less) than a comparable property in PWC or Manassas City.

    In any case, the total tax bill is what matters the most. Inflating the assessments to have a lower tax rate while pulling in more tax revenue doesn’t fool anyone. My tax bill has more than doubled in the 8 years that I’ve owned a house in MP.

    Unfortunately, the spending on all the “nice-to-haves” is not going to bring us prosperity. The prosperity needs to come first; then we can buy and pay for the “nice-to-haves”.

  12. Brian Leeper said on 30 Aug 2008 at 10:44 pm:
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    “Unlike most Virginia jurisdictions, the city council
    appoints board members.”

    Someone needs to collect 10% (about 550 in MP) of registered voter’s signatures on a petition so that the question of elected school boards can be put up for referendum.

    I’m not aware of anyone ever having done this in MP (or attempting to).

    It would be a worthy undertaking, IMHO.

  13. Brian Leeper said on 30 Aug 2008 at 10:45 pm:
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    This document describes the process that must be followed to have a referendum on elected school boards:

    http://www.sbe.virginia.gov/cms/documents/Skl_Bd_REF.pdf

  14. Anonymous said on 31 Aug 2008 at 7:43 am:
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    Brian, my assessment dropped by 40k as did everyone else’s that I know by a similar percentage. The assessments did drop last year, but values in the city were in free fall so fast that even the new assessments did not reflect the actual value of the house at the time, only because they were based on 2007 values only. Try as I might, I just don’t think that MP illegally overinflated the assessments. Morally what they did was wrong because they knew the current values were no where near what the assessments were, but legally those assessments were pretty accurate since they were based on 2007 values. The real trials start next Spring when the new assessments come out and they have to value the homes at 2008 values which were in free fall for the entire year. There has not been a single house that sold in my development for more than 200k which is about 100k less than my last assessment. Ouch.

    The city putzed around so long and did nothing about all of these Hispanics that swooped in here and turned the city into a trashed out flop den for all their illegal alien buddies. Zoning violations were ignored, association rules were ignored most likely due to racism concerns, etc, etc. Now we are paying the price for that. Either way we have to figure out something because the salaries of our teachers, police and firemen rely on this tax revenue.

  15. Brian Leeper said on 31 Aug 2008 at 9:33 am:
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    You are correct, assessments did go down for 2007 (Jan 1 08 assessed value), it is in 2006 (Jan 1 07 assessed value) that they went up in MP yet went down in PWC and Manassas City.

    The big problem is the spending, which is what determines the total tax bill. We’d be at somewhere around $3.00/per 100 if assessed values were what they were in 2000 (the tax rate was then $1.44/per 100).

    We would not be in this mess if there hadn’t been a real estate bubble or if it had been recognized as one and spending held in check as a result.

  16. Anonymous said on 31 Aug 2008 at 11:27 am:
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    electing our school boards was the biggest mistake ever in Va election law. The only people that are usually interested in running are parents with kids or grandkids in the system ( where do you think MP mayor boss Jones got his tax and spend start).

    Once on the school board they throw the idea of good fiscal management out the window and start screaming for more and more money from the city council/county board. We need to go back to appointed boards throughout Virginia.

  17. Anonymous said on 31 Aug 2008 at 11:36 am:
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    Brian, since you are campaigning here, can I ask you a few questions?

    What will you do differently in terms of budgeting and city management in light of the current assessment crisis?

    How do you think you will work with Frank Jones and the remaining members of the Governing Board? How will you foster a constructive working relationship with them, while staying true to your core values (which you are campaigning on) as a Republican?

    Do you hope to work with Help Save Manassas once in office to address the impact of illegal immigration on this community?

    Thanks!

  18. Anonymous said on 31 Aug 2008 at 10:29 pm:
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    Brian, I have done the math and it’s plain to see that unless a tax rate of $1.70 or higher is adopted next spring that the city will have major financial issues. Since REAL values have dropped roughly 30-40% this year so far then it stands to reason that you take 1/3 of your current rate ($1.27) which is 42 cents and you add it to $1.27 which would put you in the neighborhood of $1.70 per $100 assessed. Even that rate only keeps revenue flat and doesn’t account for the much higher expenditures that the city faces this year compared to last year with the price of commodities and fuel through the roof. In order to offset these costs and to allow for the step increases of your government workers and your upkeep of buildings and general yearly maintenance and expense increases, I would think it is fair to say that without a $2.00 per $100 assessed rate next year that we are headed for serious problems. Has anyone thought about this over there? Have you or the other 2 guys? That is the first thing I would worry about if I were you. The city of course could always try to vastly overinflate the assessments next year in the hopes that only a small percentage of people refute them and take the time to run the comps and mail in the form. This method might be easier than telling the town that they have the highest property tax rate in the state and most likely the country.

  19. Brian Leeper said on 1 Sep 2008 at 11:54 am:
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    “What will you do differently in terms of budgeting and city management in light of the current assessment crisis?”

    There will need to be spending cutbacks. There’s no other way to handle the problem. Some “nice-to-haves” may need to be cut back, others will need to be re-executed in a more cost-effective manner. There are guaranteed to be opportunities to create cost savings if we sit down and look at how and why the money is being spent.

    Within the last couple of months, City Council did something I agree with. They cancelled the land acquisition for the new City Hall. I thought that was a bad idea when they decided to move forward with it last December. I’m glad they’ve seen the light on that. Now maybe they can spend a little money to fix the leaking roof on the current City Hall instead of a lot of money building a new City Hall.

    “How do you think you will work with Frank Jones and the remaining members of the Governing Board? How will you foster a constructive working relationship with them, while staying true to your core values (which you are campaigning on) as a Republican?”

    Nearly everyone on the current Governing Body leans Republican, or they have said that they do. So I believe we can work from there. Sometimes all it takes is one person to suggest that maybe a different course of action is the better choice. This at least gets the idea out for consideration.

    “Do you hope to work with Help Save Manassas once in office to address the impact of illegal immigration on this community?”

    Help Save Manassas does a great job of bringing the concerns of citizens to the forefront, and we should listen to those concerns and do what we can to address them. Although some will throw their hands up in the air, declare it a “Federal Problem” and do nothing, the fact is that this “Federal Problem” is a local problem, or at least, it’s effects are, and they need to be dealt with at the local level. The Federal Government can’t do anything about a property blight situation on Manassas Drive; that’s our problem for us to deal with.

  20. Brian Leeper said on 1 Sep 2008 at 11:59 am:
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    “Brian, I have done the math and it’s plain to see that unless a tax rate of $1.70 or higher is adopted next spring that the city will have major financial issues. Since REAL values have dropped roughly 30-40% this year so far then it stands to reason that you take 1/3 of your current rate ($1.27) which is 42 cents and you add it to $1.27 which would put you in the neighborhood of $1.70 per $100 assessed.”

    You are correct. In 2006 the 5-year budget that I saw had a 10% per year increase in spending, every year. Whatever spending that was on the table from years past needs to be re-evaluated to ensure that it’s something that we need, as opposed to a “nice-to-have”.

    We should not be using a budget created back in 2005 when some were under the impression that townhouses in Belmont Station would be worth $500k by 2010.

  21. Brian Leeper said on 1 Sep 2008 at 12:11 pm:
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    That should say, “back in 2006″.

  22. Anonymous said on 1 Sep 2008 at 12:28 pm:
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    The way things are going in this city we will be lucky to have our townhouses worth $50k in 2010. My neighborhood is just inundated with homes for sale and foreclosures. My immediate neighbors have at least 10 people in their house at all times and similar behavior is occurring all over the development. MP is impotent when it comes to enforcing zoning and this needs to stop. 50% of our downturn is caused by illegal aliens and its effects on the community. Giving a $350k loan to a landscaper and a maid to buy a house is just ridiculous. You know they are just going to rent out rooms to their illegal buddies in order to make the payment, either that or walk away when them and all of their buds lose their construction jobs which is what happened to this city. All of those decisions not to enforce zoning and not to jump on the 287g bandwagon have really come back to haunt us. I would say that IF this city fails that the main reason will be because the city government failed to act on that one issue alone which caused a huge snowball effect on local real estate when the illegals and their ilk moved on and left their houses behind. They were soon replaced with investors who bought up the abandoned homes for pennies on the dollar and have been renting them out to Georgetown South ingrates who act identically to the illegals that they replaced. Talk about out of the pot and into the fire. I know that I am sick and tired of paying these exorbitant taxes to put up with this kind of crap. I would like to see a town hall meeting nearer the election for concerned citizens to discuss these matters with the local government. What do you think the chances are of arranging that one? Slim______/None

  23. Big Dog said on 1 Sep 2008 at 4:55 pm:
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    Manassas Park Votes $2.75 Tax on Realty!

    “The Manassas Park town council at a special meeting
    Wednesday night, unanimously adopted the first real
    estate levy in the two year history of the town.
    The tax rate will be $2.75 per $100 of assessed valuation.”

    Manassas Journal-Messenger
    (October 1, 1959)

    Back to the future?

  24. former COM employee said on 1 Sep 2008 at 5:21 pm:
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    Mr. Leeper, I agree with most people on here about the illegal alien issue. So I would like to know your position on having the City take a stance in line with the County and the City of Manassas. Also, we need to find another income source. Maybe one source would be to make the crossing guards a dual position and swearing them in as Parking Enforcement Officers and let them go after some of the scofflaws that don’t obtain their City and State licenses, park in fire lanes and in handicap parking spaces illegally. One or two officers could more than make their money back. Of course, someone would have to go and make the owners of the few shopping centers we have properly mark their fire lanes and handicap parking spaces. In addition, as a current City of Alexandria employee, maybe it is time for the City employees to forgo a raise for the better cause. Alexandria did not give COLA raises this year and it is looking slim next year but you will hear little grumblings because we realize the hard times ahead and we have a good job to go to everyday. It is time for the Citizens of MP not have most of the tax responsibilities on their back. While I am a strong Republican, I am open to voting for a Democrat in a local election should they have a good plan for the City. Also, I plan on trying to meet all the candidates and I don’t want to hear about your abortion stance, your thought on the Iraq war, your position on national issues, just tell me what you are going to do for us here at home in MP.

  25. Anonymous said on 1 Sep 2008 at 9:43 pm:
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    “There will need to be spending cutbacks. There’s no other way to handle the problem. Some “nice-to-haves” may need to be cut back, others will need to be re-executed in a more cost-effective manner. There are guaranteed to be opportunities to create cost savings if we sit down and look at how and why the money is being spent.”

    I agree with you, to a point. But your answer disappoints me in that you fail to mention developing a business base. People need certain services, you can’t cut everything. When I talked to Naddoni and Farrell, they mention both cuts and business and had sensible ideas regarding both. I hope you will develop some as well, as the future of our community depends on it.

  26. Brian Leeper said on 1 Sep 2008 at 11:25 pm:
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    “Mr. Leeper, I agree with most people on here about the illegal alien issue. So I would like to know your position on having the City take a stance in line with the County and the City of Manassas.”

    I think it would be great if the City took a stance in line with the County and the City of Manassas. They are participating in 287(G) now but they waited far too long to do so. They essentially said, a year ago, that they weren’t going to do it. I was at that City Council meeting and I will tell you that I was disappointed.

    I’m also disappointed that, to my knowledge, not a single MP councilmember has ever gone to an HSM meeting. In fact, I believe I’m the only candidate running who has.

    “In addition, as a current City of Alexandria employee, maybe it is time for the City employees to forgo a raise for the better cause. Alexandria did not give COLA raises this year and it is looking slim next year but you will hear little grumblings because we realize the hard times ahead and we have a good job to go to everyday.”

    In the private sector you don’t (usually) get COLA raises(I never have).. I suppose I don’t see why the public sector should need to give them out, particularly if times are tough.

    “It is time for the Citizens of MP not have most of the tax responsibilities on their back.”

    I fully agree.

  27. Brian Leeper said on 1 Sep 2008 at 11:30 pm:
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    “But your answer disappoints me in that you fail to mention developing a business base. People need certain services, you can’t cut everything. When I talked to Naddoni and Farrell, they mention both cuts and business and had sensible ideas regarding both. I hope you will develop some as well, as the future of our community depends on it.”

    It will take time to develop a business base–that’s a long-term solution.

    I’ve stated previously, on another post here on BVBL:

    “We have a situation in Manassas Park where we do not have a strong commercial base. I remember why Digital Drive was named that. It was supposed to be for commercial development, which did not happen and now most of Digital Drive is zoned PUD[1]. Planned Unit Development. More residential. More of what we really don’t need right now. Particularly when we have so many houses for sale in the City. [Most developers are holding back on building new developments right now due to the housing slowdown, so the land will sit idle till at least as long as it takes for the housing decline to start reversing itself.]”

    also I stated:

    “I believe that off-track betting is no solution to the city’s economic issues.

    In fact, I believe that as long as off-track betting remains an option, it will continue to serve as a “safety net” that the City can rely on.

    You can’t expect someone to do the hard work when there is an easy way out lurking around the corner. I think off-track betting should be taken off the table as an option. [Currently, right now, it could be brought back up for referendum per Virginia law]. I believe that law should be changed so that it cannot be brought up for referendum, ever. Once it is clear that off-track betting will not be the solution to our problems, perhaps more progress will be made towards finding other solutions.”

  28. Brian Leeper said on 1 Sep 2008 at 11:30 pm:
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    I made those statements here:

    http://www.bvbl.net/index.php/2008/06/22/manassas-park-incumbents-motivated-by-what-is-wrong/

  29. Candy said on 2 Sep 2008 at 2:40 pm:
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    I agree with the statement that we need to have a public meeting to discuss the MANY problems within MP. They are not just issues regarding the immigration problem, and the housing. We, as a community, drove the market sky high by paying inflated prices and now we are having to pay the price. The market, as we all know, works in cycles, and we will just have to wait it out. The real problem I see around the park is zoning violation after zoning violation and nothing being done about it. And I don’t mean the lawns being ten feet tall, I mean 3 bedroom homes that house 20 people or more, some living in closets made into bedrooms. I am a real estate agent and I cannot believe the conditions that I see when I go into some of these homes! And the new city square!? What a joke - now they are rentals???? I could go on and on, but let’s set up a meeting at the high school and have the candidates there to speak more about how they are going to clean up this mess we WANT to call “home”!!!!!

  30. MP Mom said on 3 Sep 2008 at 1:56 pm:
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    I know plenty of people who would be interested in hearing what these candidates have to say. We have waited far too long to set forth real opposition to the current mayor and board, and look where it’s gotten us. Brian, they canceled the aqusition for the land for a new City Hall because their backs were FINALLY in a corner. People were finding out about it and were furious. Make no mistake about it- the current board would have spent money they don’t have on a brand new City Hall in a second if the plans weren’t becoming public. People in this city are rightfully mad about the lack of good judgement and common sense regarding the ridiculous rate at which our money has been spent. This board has been blatantly irresponsible- how anyone, in good conscience, can stand behind the spending of $23 million dollars on a new Parks and Rec facility when we are in such a state of financial distress is pretty disgusting to me. Would a new facility be nice? You bet. Would I rather send that money to our aging water and sewer structure, which will need millions of dollars in overhaul in the coming years? Would I rather see less cutbacks to our schools to keep them as top-notch as they are now? Would I rather know that our firefighters and police officers aren’t faced with cutbacks to their professional services instead? What do you think?

    I’d love to hear about how the candidates on the November ticket are interested in dealing with these issues, and if I feel they are the best people for the job, I would GLADLY do all I could to help campaign for them. What stands now in Manassas Park is totally unacceptable. I’m happy to do what I can to show the current board the door!

  31. Candy said on 4 Sep 2008 at 10:21 am:
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    MP MOM, you bring up GREAT thoughts. Made me think of something else I wanted to mention regarding the police and fire/rescue. The City, it seems, would rather spend money on building new builidngs (that would be nice, but not NEEDED at this time) than to grant much needed overtime to the police department, where crime is up do to the growing amount of vacant homes, etc., that the police are dealing with. No overtime for police is OUTRAGEOUS!!! I’m not saying it should be a free for all, but not an act of Congress either. The police and fire resuce personnel are paid pennnies comparied to surrounding jurisdictions such as Fairfax and Prince William Counties. I want to see a board that is PRO emergency personnel. Like you said, a new rec center would be great, but NOT NOW in this budget. We need to spend the money on more important issues and I want to know who is on board with this.

    Leeper, Ferrell, any thoughts??????????????????????

  32. Brian Leeper said on 5 Sep 2008 at 5:04 pm:
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    We should spend money on employees, rewarding them for a job well-done, as well as spending money on the tools/equipment that make their jobs more productive and efficient.

    We also need to maintain the city infrastructure and keep it from degrading. Often, deferring maintenance simply means spending more money down the road.

    Finally, I like to point out that it’s the people inside the building that actually matter. Without them, it’s just an empty shell. A well-maintained building is important, but the building should not take priority over those who work inside.

  33. Candy said on 5 Sep 2008 at 5:22 pm:
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    Brian, it’s nice to hear what you say, but I want you to back up what you say when the time comes. It’s great to say that you support the fire and rescue and police, but we are the only jurisdiction where overtime is not in the budget! For public safety? That is outrageous. How can that not be included in any publc safety budget? It seems that it’s more important to buy homes for intersection improvements that will never happen. And what will happen to the homes that were purchased adjacent to the new police station that have been vacant now for nearly 2 years??? These questions have come up before but there never seems to be an answer. Can you please address??

  34. Brian Leeper said on 9 Sep 2008 at 12:08 am:
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    Regarding overtime:

    Not including overtime in the budget–do they not expect to have any?

    You don’t want your employees working too much overtime, but on the other hand, you should not have so many employees that they never work overtime, particularly when the workload is variable, as I would expect it to be for fire/rescue/police work. A balance must be struck between having so many employees that you never have anyone working overtime (and possibly have under-utilized employees) and having not enough employees so that too many are working overtime.

    So I would expect that a budget include overtime. Otherwise, are they hiring another full-time employee to keep someone from having to work the occasional 45 or 50 hour workweek? That makes no sense.

    Regarding the houses adjacent to the police station:

    If the city has no definite plans for this property it should be sold at fair market value.

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