City of Manassas approves budget
By Jeremy Borden,
The Manassas City Council formally adopted its fiscal 2013 spending plan last week, unanimously approving a $96.4 million general fund budget and a small tax increase for most city residents.
City Council members Monday backed a $1.19 real estate tax rate, which, combined with the city’s levy for the fire and rescue department, would result in an average tax bill of $2,934, an increase of about $12 for residents.
Manassas added a communications position, a museum coordinator and a fraud investigator in its social services department, City Manager John Budesky said. The social services position is partly paid for by the state and would assure that those who receive welfare and other benefits actually qualify.
“The more we can focus on weeding out fraud, the more funds that are available for truly deserving clients,” Budesky said.
Although next year’s budget doesn’t have funding for the Winter’s Bike Trail, the potential start of construction budgeted for the following fiscal year has worried many neighbors. Funding to area nonprofit groups from city coffers stays mostly flat in the next year, despite months of wrangling over the best way to allocate funds.
Mayor Harry “Hal” Parrish II (R) said the city needs to do a better job of planning for its infrastructure needs, including plans in the pipeline to replace the aging Baldwin Elementary School building. School officials have requested funding from the City Council, along with $3 million for a new central administration building. But Parrish said that the School Board has provided too few details about the buildings.
“The council doesn’t understand what their plan is, and I don’t think the community does either,” Parrish said.