Yesterday the BOCS approved the Prince William County 2010 budget of $848.3 million dollars. This action cuts spending by about $194 million dollars and also cuts most tax bills on average over $400. This budget is based on a $1.212 tax rate which is a little over $.24 cents higher than the 2009 budget.

Even though most homeowners get a tax break, the passage of the budget leaves citizens wondering what service they will have for the 2010 fiscal year. The Washington Post quotes Corey Stewart:

“This budget is significantly smaller,” board Chairman Corey A. Stewart (R) said. “We’ve cut our costs, we’ve made our government more efficient, and by doing so, we are going to be able to reward our constituents with a sizable tax cut. That was my number one goal with this budget.”

This budget postpones capital improvements, freezes PW government workers salaries, forces neighborhood libraries to close one day a week, takes about $4.6 million from the ‘rain day fund,’ and cuts the staffing increases in half for the fire department and the police department.

The Washington Post also reports:

The budget uses $4.6 million from the county’s $26.2 million “rainy day” fund, gives $407.8 million to county schools, forces neighborhood libraries to close on Fridays and eliminates about 140 government positions — most of which are vacant.
The board did take steps, however, to restore funding to the Virginia Cooperative Extension’s 4-H and nutrition programs, the Flory Small Business Center and the At-Risk Youth Program’s parenting classes, which were all initially targeted for reductions.

The board also restored almost $162,000 to the Healthy Families program and $40,000 to Spinaweb — an Association for Retarded Citizens of Greater Prince William program that provides employment opportunities for the mentally disabled.

The budget also places nearly $3 million in reserve. Supervisors said they hope to have that money on hand in case federal stimulus funding becomes available and the county is asked to provide matching funds to qualify.

One stimulus grant the county has sought would enable it to move up funding for 25 additional sworn police officers from the fiscal 2012 to the fiscal 2010 budget.

Meanwhile, most of us are wondering exactly what services we will no longer have. We wonder how long it will take for police to respond. How long will it take the fire departments to answer a call? Will the lines for county services take longer than usual? Will people employees leave Prince William County and go work where they are less stressed, and have more colleagues to share the work load.

Somewhere along the line, have we become penny wise and pound foolish? Have we cut things too short? How will all of this budget affect our schools that have not yet set their budgets? Will we lose teachers? Will there be 40 students per classroom?

Time will tell. Right now many of us are holding our breath. How much can a suburban county the size of Prince William cut back without disturbing quality of life?

[Ed: Budget Information: The Board of County Supervisors will adopt the County’s FY2010 budget at its meeting on Tuesday, April 28 at 2 p.m. in the Board Chamber of the James J. McCoart Administration Building]

32 Thoughts to “2010 PW Budget Approved”

  1. I find it rather ironic that Corey “Teabags” Stewart is relying on Federal stimulus money to (hopefully, one day) fully fund our police force. Only a week ago, he was riling up local teabagging enthusiasts, angrily rejecting this money, and screaming, “The rebellion starts now!”

    I’m not joking, he screamed it twice. It was raining and his teabags were soaked.

    Little did this boisterous crowd of 38 teabaggers know, but Captain Corey was even at that moment, secretly counting on future stimulus money to close the public safety gap he had created … for his own political purposes and for little else … in our county.

    Perhaps instead of offering a codified, “teabaggers rebellion” quote to the Washington Post, he could have explained to us non-teabaggers how and why it came to be that we … the second wealthiest county in the Commonwealth … are no longer providing for public safety by ourselves.

    His mismanagement of our government has been so thorough that we are under-funding our police, fire, and rescue during a time when crime rates are rising, and our firemen AND police officers are at risk due to under-staffing.

  2. Starryflights

    Cutting back on public safety is a terrible idea at a time when violent crime is increasing in our community. The safety of ourselves and families should never be compromised.

  3. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    Ah yes…”teabagging”…..a typical Saturday evening at the WHWN house?

  4. Moon-howler

    (clearing throat) Good morning, Slow. Your wit did not escape me.

  5. Moon-howler


    Speaking of which, and this is only based on information you have published here, what is your opinion of outting people on blogs? I noticed your spanking comment. Was there something going on there that didn’t meet the eye?

    That seemed like an over-reaction to a rather nebulous remark.

  6. Moon-howler

    WHWN, It sounds like PWC has the greatest tax relief in the county. That sounds to me like a re-election plan…but what do I know?

  7. anona

    The school’s budget was already set with teachers actually getting a 2.9% COLA raise, which apparently is unheard of in these times as no one else is getting one. Classroom sizes were restored as well as kinder. aides. The only fall out was a fee for middle school and high school sports.

    Hopefully both the county and the schools just made wise budget decisions. When times are good, you spend more: send more people to conferences, put on more events, upgrade the copier and software, buy new office chairs. When times are bad, you cut out those extras which still maintains the basics. It is no different than a family cutting back. It means cutting manicures but still buying milk for the kids, cutting HBO but still paying your light bill, giving up the daily latte and buying gas instead.

    I like to think of it as a cleansing colonic. We just went through a time of enormous good fortune with the building boom and waste is natural. There are things that could have been cut and this just brought them to light.

  8. Moon-howler

    That might just be the grossest analogy I have ever read. re: cleansing colonic

    I don’t consider keeping promises to the Fire Dept ‘wasteful.’ Kyle Wilson lost his life. What will it take to give the depart what it needs to keep its firefighters safe? The PWC death of Kyle Wilson is being used as a national prototype for new standards. How embarrassing if our county won’t be able to implement them.

    New furniture and enough first responders just don’t equate. Same with equipement that saves lives. Do we need a tax cut when these kinds of issues are on the table?

    Class sizes were already stretched this past year. The fact that this years limits were restored is nothing to crow about.

  9. Gainesville Resident

    I don’t know about PWC offering the highest tax relief. My property taxes on my City of Manassas townhouse have decreased both in percentage and dollar amount much more than my property taxes on my Gainesville house, which is worth a lot more. I’m seeing about a $900 decrease on my townhouse property tax, which is a 30% decrease. Not quite as much dollar amount decrease on my Gainesville house, and obviously not that percentage either! My townhouse may have decreased more than the city average property – seems like the Point of Woods area was very hard hit in property values. My property decreased from $272K to $123K from 2008 to 2009, and back in 2007 hard to believe it was assessed at $354K.

  10. Gainesville Resident

    I’m back in moderation again?

  11. Elena

    Don’t know why you would have been in moderation. I’m sure it was just a fluke.

  12. Gainesville Resident

    Elena – you are right – it was strange as the very next post (the one where I asked if I was in moderation) went right through – and it was just 1 minute later. Software fluke obviously, whatever detects something to go to moderation activated for some unknown reason.

  13. Elena

    I just approved it, weird!

  14. Moon-howler

    I don’t know why you went into moderation either, Gainesville. Sometimes if people list more than one link, they end up in spam.

    Another reason people get in moderation unintentionally is if they use one of their other email addresses that they didn’t come in under. For instance, if I changed my own email address I would have to let myself out of moderation. Alanna has gotten stuck in there before and didn’t realize it. It was fun to rescue the blog owner.

    If anyone gets hung up in there, let one of us know and we will pull you out. Gainesville, you going in was definitely a fluke.

  15. ShellyB

    Are people buying the idea that this is a Corey Stewart Tax Revolution? And not the steepest decline in property value in PWC history? When you raise the tax rate this much, you can only say it’s a tax cut you have to have a constituency that suffered losses like Gainesville Res described. We’re supposed to thank Corey Stewart for that?

  16. ShellyB


    When you raise the tax rate this much, you can only say it’s a tax cut IF you have to have a constituency that suffered losses like Gainesville Res described.

  17. TWINAD

    I’m working with a loan officer to try to purchase the home I live in from my father. Probably will not be able to do it because he said the assessments in 20110 and 20109 (remember the ones we were all dying over becuase they fell 39% from last year?!) are actually inflated! He said the actual appraisal will probably come in even lower than the assessment and the assessment is already 40K less than what my father paid in 2001! He said the zip codes in Manassas are in the absolute worst shape than anywhere on the east coast from Philly to Florida.

  18. Gainesville Resident

    Definitely a fluke MH and Elena – both posts were from the same computer, same browser and actually same screen on antibvl, a minute apart! No links in either post, so just plain weird. The software rolled the dice and I lost on the first post!

  19. ShellyB

    “zip codes in Manassas are in the absolute worst shape than anywhere on the east coast from Philly to Florida.

    Okay, so when it comes to tanking property values, we are in the worst shape of any place on the east coast. But at least we are not the worst housing market in the nation. Isn’t it true that Maricopa County, Arizona is even worse than Prince William?

    So if there isn’t enough to “celebrate” and “thank Corey Stewart” for in Prince William, Greg Leteicq and his four faithful groupies can move to Maricopa.

  20. GainesvilleResident

    Funny though, Manassas didn’t have a resolution and property values tanked there even more than the area around it. I also think Manassas Park did just as bad as the city. You can’t blame everything on the resolution. I happen to think there is a high ratio of lower income people owning houses, that got in way over their heads in the Manassas area – with predatory lenders, that exacerbated the problem there.

  21. Moon-howler

    Gainesville, you make a good point. I have never blamed the entire real estate situation on the Resolution. However, I do think it had something to do with it. And I think Manassas Park and Manassas were sucked into the vortex. I think that was just one component of the perfect storm that broadsided us.

    I have not talked to a single person in house trouble in this area who has been able to refinance and get themselves out from under these huge, upside down loans.

    I never thought I would say this but if I had one of those monster loans I would figure a good ten years to ever have the house worth that much if then. I would be real tempted to let it foreclose just to get out from under the gun. Having a foreclosure in this day and age is a lot less stigmatizing than it would have been even years ago. There has to be some foregiveness with credit bureaus.

  22. GainesvilleResident

    Yes, I’m sure the resolution contributed, it would be stupid to say it had zero affect. But I think the economy and the demographics of the 20110 zip code had far more to do with real estate values there. I know the two townhouses across the street from me were both bought a couple of years ago for around $350K, by people who could obviously not afford those townhouses.

    I doubt there is any easy way to get out of an upside down loan. I did hear from a coworker – a friend of his had trouble meeting his mortgage payments. I don’t know if he was upside down or not. The bank made a deal with him that they cut his principle by 20%, and also he did not have to pay the next 10 months mortgage payments! Not that I’m in any trouble on my mortgage, but I’d sure like an offer like that one! That being said, I know a lot of people have found the banks are unwilling to deal with them when they’ve told them they are in financial trouble.

    From a credit perspective though, once a foreclosure is on your record, I think it can stay on for 7 years and during that time it is probably going to be very difficult to get any kind of loan. The credit bureaus have a formula, and it just crunches the numbers and spits out your credit rating. It is the loan companies that need to have some forgiveness, when they look at both your credit rating, your credit report, and any info you supply as to why you had those credit history problems. Then again, with the number of people having foreclosures – maybe over time the loan officers at banks and other lenders WILL be more forgiving. But I don’t expect the forumla used for calculating credit ratings to change. That really is in the hands of one company – Fair Isaacs – which developed the formula that determines your credit rating. They tweak it over time but nothing major. I only know this as for a 3 year period I worked for a company that wrote software to predict bankruptcy based on the credit rating and other things (someone’s credit card charge history, balance history, etc.). We worked with Fair Isaac who wrote the credit score forumala.

  23. ShellyB

    Gainesville, it’s not all his fault. But it just seems outrageous that Corey Stewart would be asking us to thank him for destroying the value of our homes.

    I mean, if we enter another Great Depression and 50 percent of us lose our jobs, is Obama going to ask the nation to thank him because we are suddenly paying less income tax?

    Give me a break!

    But yes, all of this stuff with immigration is conjecture. That’s the problem with the Immigration Resolution in the first place. It’s basis was entirely assumptions that turned out to be wrong. Or worse, it was based on propaganda intended to deceive the public deliberately.

    But let’s assume that the proponents of the Resolution met their goal of terrorizing families into leaving, either for fear of racial profiling, fear of deportation, fear of racism, or all of the above.

    People that lived in Manassas City or Manassas Park were also afraid because those places are both surrounded by Prince William County. And, it wasn’t just the police they felt they could no longer trust. They felt they could no longer trust the county government. And they felt they could no longer trust their neighbors.

    But that’s not our point on this thread. The point is that if Duecaster, Stewart, Stirrup, and Letiecq are correct, and they have successfully frightened hundreds of people out of the county, enough to impact our ESOL numbers, to impact the “brown faces at the bus stop,” etc. THEN, they cannot claim to have had zero impact on the worst housing market east of the Mississippi. Period.

  24. Starryflights

    The Rule of Law Resolution has been a total disaster for the people of Prince William County.

  25. Gainesville Resident

    Funny, I’ve seen plenty of posts on here by various posters blaming the PWC housing market ENTIRELY on the resolution, and the posters made that very clear. I don’t believe people flocked out of Manassas and Manassas Park due to the resolution. In my neighborhood they left because they could no longer afford their houses. The foreclosures I’d studied (because I was thinking about putting my house on the market but ultimately didn’t and just rented it out) – all were bought for ridiculous prices and mostly turned into boarding houses. There was one across the street that was not, but they paid $360K for it, and the family living there who owned it, worked for a local cement company and could obviously not afford that kind of loan. They lasted just 2 years in there and got foreclosed. The house eventually sold for $150K late last year, which now looks like a good price for my townhouse, given the assessment of $123K.

    Anyway, while a lot of posters here say the resolution just contributed to the housing price drop, there is a subset who have posted that it is entirely due to the resolution. Those are who I disagree with.

    I could not care a wit what Greg or anyone else says – and that had nothing at all to do with my previous post. I don’t know why you brought Greg up in response to my post. That gets a bit tiresome too. I have nothing to do with Greg or anyone else on bvbl, I have never met anyone there, etc. etc. Not sure how many more times I have to say this.

  26. Gainesville Resident

    And finally, from what I heard, there are places in Florida in much more dire situation than here, as far as the housing market goes. I’m not really sure it is a FACT that we are the worst housing market in the East! There’s an awful lot of distortion going on depending who you talk to, and real estate agents or the press are the last people I’d trust to be truthful on this. I’ve seen statistics bent so far out of shape and distorted when discussing all of this (in the media in general) it isn’t even funny. If someone can point me to specific raw data that compares PWC to everywhere else, then I’ll buy it. Until then, I’m very skeptical of any of these claims. No one has shown any numbers to back them up actually – just flat out statements such as “PWC is the worst on the East Coast”, etc. etc.

  27. TWINAD


    I didn’t see it, but my lender is the person that told me that (about being in the worst shape between Philly and Florida). He also referenced an article in the Washington Post Real Estate section that ran either last Saturday or the Saturday before as showing a map that showed how bad things were in the Manassas zip codes. He also said that based on the 2009 Assessments they are seeing, actual appraisals are coming in even lower than those rock bottom assessments!

  28. Gainesville Resident

    At least in the area around my townhouse, I just saw some sales recently ABOVE the January 1 assessments by a considerable amount. One townhouse like mine, which was also assessed in the $125K range, sold for $150K. I saw one other one sell at a similar price. Earlier in the year I did see some townhouses in my old neighborhood selling for around $100K, that were assessed in the $125K range.

    So I’m not sure, those are admittedly just two samples of very recent sales. They may be a fluke of some sort, but it gives me some hope for my townhouse. I’m renting it now but would like to just sell it in the next year or two and leave that neighborhood behind completely. I actually would be happy to get $160K for it at this point, so that’s why these recent sales give me hope.

    Again, I’m not so sure actual data supports the analysis that says we are the very worst between Philly & Florida on the East coast.

  29. ShellyB

    There is an article in the Post today warning that once the moratorium on home foreclosures is lifted, home values will fall even further.

  30. Gainesville Resident

    Quite true probably, I’ve heard several reports that a second wave of foreclosures is coming, all over the USA.

  31. ShellyB

    I just have a problem with Chairman Stewart congratulating himself for a “tax cut” when really the rates have ballooned since he’s taken office. Wasn’t it 78 cents a year ago? Now it’s a dollar twenty something. That’s a big hike.

    To call that a tax cut is just salt in our financial wounds. It’s reminding us that our home values have plummeted. It’s an insulting political stunt that assumes we are too dumb to remember the last political stunt: the Immigration Resolution.

    To be fair, I don’t think Chairman Stewart realized the impact the Immigration Resolution would have. Apart from a political impact, but even THAT was miscalculated. No one was focused on economic issues at the time. It was all “illegal” this and “alien” that. I can’t believe how blind we were! If we had known this crisis was coming, I’m sure that we would not have stood for a huge political stunt and a costly program that would make things worse.

    But few of us knew. And those who did know, like the County Executive’s office, were somehow unable to get through to the public. I think this was because they reported to the Board instead of to the public. Or maybe we just were not paying enough attention. Or maybe we were just too distracted by “illegal” this and “alien” that.

    In any case, we were not focusing on the right priorities and now we are ALL paying the price. Corey Stewart’s current political stunt rubs salt in our wounds and reminds us all too well of previous political stunts.

    One stunt after another succeeds in distracting us. But when will we hold him accountable for the state of things?

  32. Howard Roark

    MoonHowler, the budget was not approved on April 21 – that was merely budget recap. The Board does not actually vote on the budget until April 28.

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