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Manassas Tea Party: No Public Funds For Private Property!

By Greg L | 25 February 2012 | Manassas City | 17 Comments

The Manassas Tea Party is fighting against the expenditure of taxpayer funds on a private property and sent out this appeal for local residents to participate in citizen’s time at the next meeting of the Manassas City Council.  Their appeal is below the fold.

Calling all citizens of Manassas and those nearby in the county. We urgently need you at Manassas City Hall this Monday night, February 27th to speak at citizens’ time against an outrageous potential city expenditure. You may have heard that our city council is considering a motion to spend $88,000 of our taxpayer funds to conduct renovations on an old PRIVATELY OWNED dilapidated home at 9300 Prescott Avenue. The owner (an Alexandria woman) has refused for years to renovate or sell the home and now that the house has been deemed structurally unsound, the Land Use Committee and the Finance Committee both voted to ask council to approve spending city funds on a new roof, a new paint job and a shoring up of the porch. Again, this is a PRIVATELY OWNED HOME! Yes it is old and was once a beautiful example of Queen Anne architecture, but it has been abandoned for decades and is in such a state of disrepair that even the Manassas Architectural Review Board (responsible for preserving historic buildings in the city) has recommended that the house be demolished!

Yet, there are still some who are pressuring our city leaders to pay for a partial renovation. Aside from the fact that spending public dollars on a private home is just plain wrong on its face, think, too, of the horrible precedent this will set.

· Will council vote for such renovations of other homes in the future? What if your home needed repairs you couldn’t afford? Do you think the city would pay for them?

· This type of spending will indenture the city to this house for the long run. Once you spend that kind of taxpayer money on a property, you can’t just quit. Future needed repairs will require council to invest more funds to justify the initial investment!

This would be a shocking misuse of taxpayer dollars

In the last council meeting on February 13th, a motion was made to put a lien on the home (well within the rights of city government for a condemned property) and have the house demolished. The resulting vote was a 3 to 3 tie. Councilmen Aveni, Way and Wolfe voted for demolition while councilmen Harrover, Randolph and Bass voted no. In Manassas City government, the mayor breaks the tie and Mayor Hal Parrish decided to wait until this coming Monday night to decide which way he would vote. Since that time, the mayor has been hearing from a number of folks (many who live on Prescott itself) who want the city to spend public dollars on saving the house. Whether the house remains in its dilapidated state for the foreseeable future or is demolished, our tax dollars should NOT be spent to renovate it!

PLEASE don’t leave speaking out against this outrage to a small group of regular activists! The mayor needs to hear from you both on the phone this coming Monday (Mayor’s office: 703-257-8213) and at citizens’ time Monday night where you will have up to 3 minutes to speak your piece. Even if you speak at the podium for 10 seconds to opposed this insanity, you will be helping the cause of fiscal decency in our city government! We are hearing that a sizeable crowd of “Vote-no-to-Demolition” supporters will be out in force Monday night. City Council and the Mayor MUST be urged to be more responsible with city funds!

See you there!

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  1. A Taxpayer said on 25 Feb 2012 at 4:38 pm:
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    Jon Way and Mark Wolfe have flipped and flopped on this issue before if memory serves. So has the Mayor. Marc Aveni is your only solid vote on this I believe as the others are all of a sudden trolling for fiscal conservative “creds” and votes before the May 1st City elections.

    An classic example of why I just don’t trust ‘em and won’t vote for ‘em.

    What time does the fun start Monday night Greg?

  2. Greg L said on 25 Feb 2012 at 4:43 pm:
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    Here’s the info from the Manassas City website:

    Regular meetings of the City Council are held on the second and fourth Monday of each month, except legal holidays, beginning at 5:30 pm.

    Public Hearings of the City Council are held the third Monday of each month, except legal holidays, beginning at 7:30 pm.

    I think you need to be there at 5:30.

  3. Badger said on 25 Feb 2012 at 4:44 pm:
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    Well said! I often wonder where the Manassas and Prince William Tea Party are on issues like this. I wonder when they will speak up on the citizen’s behalf regarding Prince William County Discretionary Funds.

    It might appear to some that they don’t like to “eat their own dog food” when the issue is too close to home.

  4. Ray Beverage said on 25 Feb 2012 at 6:44 pm:
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    Greg, you have it right…City Council begins at 5:30 p.m.

    The vote on the House is Item #18 on the Agenda….will be taking up sometime between 6:00 - 6:30 if the Council follows their normal run. Scheduled for 20 minutes.

    Citizens Time is 7:30 p.m. Time Certain

    By Citizens Time, the decision will be done. All that will be left for anyone to say is either in praise of demolishing or wasting funds for saving.

    Given that house is beyond viability, may the Mayor make the right call.

  5. Maureen said on 25 Feb 2012 at 6:46 pm:
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    Citizens time starts at 7:30. So unless you want to be part of the meeting you do not need to be there until 7:30. However, I would suggest you come no later than 7:25

  6. Maureen said on 25 Feb 2012 at 6:48 pm:
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    Ray is correct so I would suggest the phone calls and emails to Mayor Parrish.

  7. Chester said on 26 Feb 2012 at 7:33 am:
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    Spending $88,000 in taxpayer funds to shore up the porch on the Prescott house is no different than spending $88 million in taxpayer funds to patch the hole on the Titanic (with no effort made to raise her).

    This is typical Manassas feel-good-trodded-by-the-liberals-gobbly-gook.

    I have a great idea - torch the place and use it for a training excercise for the local fire and rescue folks. After all embers have been put out, have party at the Olde Towne Sports Pub with proceeds going to create a small park where the Prescott house once stood. Plant some trees and a single park bench, that is all we need.

    Hal Parrish is on the fence because he wanted to delay action to gather more feel-good-trodded-by-the liberals-gobbly-gook in his veins, steered mostly by the Prescott Ave. crowd of liberal save the world goons.

  8. John said on 26 Feb 2012 at 8:53 am:
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    I understand the argument here ideologically, but it is a little misleading. The City will be spending money on this property EITHER way..they will pay to have it fixed up to a point where it is safe OR the City will tear it down…by spending City funds to do so. Also, keep in mind the City will get the money back…either from this owner or from a future buyer, they will have to pay the bill. So…..either way, tax dollars WILL be spent on a private home. So…again…why not save something that identifies Manassas and its culture? Or…do we want another matchstick house or a new town home monstrosity like we have on now on 28 south across from the fire dept?

  9. Occupy said on 26 Feb 2012 at 9:23 am:
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    another example of the white elite in power helping out other white elites with the money of the people - occupy now!

  10. just sayin' said on 26 Feb 2012 at 9:27 am:
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    Ever notice the Mayor tends to delay some items on the agenda for effect?

    Watch that happen here and the item goes after citizen time.

  11. Ray Beverage said on 26 Feb 2012 at 11:35 am:
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    @Just: yeah, he does have that habit. I still reserve some hope he does not….he made two smart moves in delaying it long enough for the ARB who, by Manassas Code, could advise him and rightly so.

    This has gone on long enough, and now with the new article over at Manassas Patch saying it was a HUD-backed Reverse Mortgage, that opens a whole new can of worms if true and the City should be asking hard questions to HUD as to why, after the Mother moved out and it was no longer her primary residence - as she is the listed owner of the property and it was her reverse mortgage - they did not implement action to recover the funds, and if not payable, seize the property. They dang sure have done that in a lot of other underwater mortgages.

  12. G Man said on 26 Feb 2012 at 12:30 pm:
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    John, yes either way the city is putting out funds. But putting up funds to temporary maintain the house is just the beginning of what would be needed. It is the camel nose in the tent and sets a bad precident. As the Manassas Tea Party indicates: “Once you spend that kind of taxpayer money on a property, you can’t just quit.” Whereas the city paying to tear down or burn down the place is a one-time expense.

  13. VRC said on 26 Feb 2012 at 9:33 pm:
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    You nailed it, G Man…

  14. Anonymous said on 27 Feb 2012 at 7:57 am:
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    Its kinda cool to have an old abandoned dilapadated house on the block. Put a fence around it and be done about it! Untill it becomes a safety hazzard to other people, let a private homeowner neglect there property if they so desire! The city fouled up one this one since day one when they were negligent on enforceing ordinances to stop the decay.

    Put a fence around it and be done about it!

  15. Doug Brown said on 27 Feb 2012 at 10:48 am:
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    Maybe the city was worried about HUD coming after them again? Then again if Ray is right maybe HUD really should own the place?

  16. G Man said on 27 Feb 2012 at 10:12 pm:
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    I could not make the City Council Meeting tonight. What was the Mayor’s decision?

  17. G Man said on 28 Feb 2012 at 8:23 am:
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    The Manassas Patch Facebook page reports: “Mayor votes ‘yes’ to motion that would give the homeowner of the ‘Prescott House’ 30 days to secure, repair or tear down the porch; 90 days to restore, repair or tear down the house; or the city can demolish it. Story coming tomorrow. This is the motion that would result in the least amount of taxpayer dollars expended.”

    Yeah the Tea Party and taxpayers win one!

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