Issue 37
Friday, October 23, 2020
Prince William County
Dear Neighbors,

Exactly thirty weeks ago, on Friday, March 27, the federal CARES Act was signed into law. Since then, it has been featured prominently in The Wheeler Report. We've frequently outlined the extensive details, numerous parameters and provided updates on allocations.

One of those parameters, especially at the time of its enactment, hasn't garnered much attention. Now we are approaching November and nationally the daily new COVID-19 cases are climbing dramatically. Suddenly, the December 30, 2020 CARES Act deadline to use the funding looms large.

During the Tuesday, October 20 BOCS meeting, I asked my colleagues on the Board to join me in sending a letter to the federal delegation seeking an extension on the expenditure of CARES funds. I am happy to report all seven supervisors have added their signatures.

As noted in past Wheeler Reports, Prince William County is utilizing CARES Act resources to address an array of local needs to help serve our most vulnerable community members. There is no end in sight of the coronavirus or its economic impact on our community. For months, I have expressed concerns over this issue when speaking with Members of Congress and the U.S. Senate and am happy to report the initial response from our Prince William County federal delegation has been favorable to the Board's letter.

As always, I will update you in future Wheeler Reports on any changes to the CARES Act expenditure deadline.

In Service,
Chair Ann Wheeler
At the October 20 meeting, the BOCS finalized the creation of a Racial and Social Justice Commission. Their mission is to examine the state of racial and social justice for people of color in our county.

The Commission will consist of:
  • Several standing members, to include the Human Rights Commission Chair and the Chief of Police
  • Eight BOCS citizen appointees

The Commission will examine ways to:
  • Reduce racial disparities
  • Treat all residents equally
  • Proactively give all residents the chance to fully participate in County programs, services and benefits

The Commission will submit their report and recommendations for review to the BOCS in December 2021.
Some specific areas of concern the BOCS wants the Commission to address include policing, government services, and public education. Among things the Commission will examine are the PWC Police Department's practices and policies, including use of force and hiring.
Broadband & Technology In PWC
Rob Mancini, PWC's Chief Information Officer, gave an update at the BOCS October 20 meeting on their July directive regarding improving broadband internet access throughout the county. In response, the Department of Information Technology is creating a Technology Inclusion Initiative. The goal of the program is to make PWC a 'connected community' by addressing the existing broadband issues of availability, affordability and literacy.
County News
Only twelve other Virginia agencies, and only one percent of parks and recreation agencies nationwide, hold CAPRA accreditation. 
PWC's Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism (DPRT) has achieved accreditation from the National Recreation and Parks Associations (NRPA) Commission on Parks and Recreation Accreditation (CAPRA). As part of the year-long accreditation process, the Department documented compliance with 151 standards demonstrating well detailed processes, efficient operations and a high level of service to the community.
"From neighborhood parks to waterparks, from trails to sports fields, from skateparks to recreation centers, there are so many examples of how our Board, staff and residents work together to address the needs of our community and embody best practices in municipal parks and recreation."  
Ann Wheeler
Chair At-Large Board of County Supervisors
According to recent data released by the Virginia Tourism Corporation and the U.S. Travel Association, in 2019 PWC maintained its position as the ninth largest tourism economy in the Commonwealth. During that year the county had a record setting $643 million spent locally by visitors, an increase of $118 million since 2014.
Prior To The COVID-19 Pandemic
  • Local tourism-supported careers totaled 6,782 individuals throughout the county
  • Local tourism-related taxes paid by visitors in 2019 were $37.8 million
Census Recap
Following a Supreme Court ruling terminating the October 31 extension, the 2020 Census officially ended field data collection on October 15. This included nonresponse follow-up and the availability to complete it online, by phone, or mail.

Final self-response rate for PWC was 76.9%.

Thank you to all who completed their census and encouraged others to complete theirs.
What's Next
  • Census Bureau experts finalize the apportionment count. The statutory deadline to provide apportionment counts is December 31, 2020.
  • Census Bureau experts process redistricting data. The statutory deadline to provide redistricting data is March 31, 2021.
The BOCS next meeting is
TuesdayNovember 17 at
2:00 pm and 7:30 pm.

More information will be provided in future Wheeler Reports closer to the date.
During October 20's meeting Chair Wheeler, in conjunction with an energy initiative by Supervisor Boddye, issued a directive to develop a community-wide climate planning process over the next 6-12 months. The initiative is to address how the county will comprehensively address the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) greenhouse/carbon reduction goals and include looking at programs already underway at other NOVA jurisdictions.
In addition to items featured in this Wheeler Report, at the October 20 meeting the BOCS:
  • Appropriated $631,420 in Grant Funding from the Center for Tech and Civic Life for COVID-19 Elections Support.
  • Appropriated a $40,000 Community Development Block Grant from the Office of Housing and Community Development to help the Department of Social Services provide transportation services to the homeless. 
  • Ratified a grant from the Department of Homeland Security which allows the PWC Department of Fire and Rescue to accept planning software valued at $60,800 to help coordinate emergency operations. 
A Great Opportunity
Registration is open for Amazon Web Services (AWS) Girls' Tech Day! This year's virtual program will explore Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Coding, Virtual Reality, Robotics, and more! The complimentary event is held to inspire and motivate girls and young women, ages 8-24, to develop and pursue their interests in technology. Activities are designed so that students can go at their own pace, and join the as many times as they like between November 14 – 28.
A Special Honor
The PWC Arts Council and the Poet Laureate Circle invite you to watch a live streaming of the Crowning Ceremony for the Prince William County Art Council's Poet Laureate 2020-2022, to be held virtually via Zoom Meeting on October 24th at 3pm. All Nominees have been invited to attend in person and to read a short original poem prior to the award ceremony.
Meeting ID: 966 2109 3824
Passcode: 069216
The nominees for the Art Council's 2020-2022 Poet Laureate are:
  • Inger McPhail
  • Jesus Torres
  • JoAnn Lord Koff 
  • John Dutton
  • Katherine M. Gotthardt
  • Kim B. Miller 
Seeking Nominations
The PWC Human Rights Commission is accepting nominations for its Annual Human Rights Award for outstanding accomplishments in the area of human rights. Individuals, nonprofit organizations and businesses are eligible. Nominations must be submitted by November 30. Award recipients will be honored at the annual Universal Human Rights Day to be held virtually on Saturday, January 16, 2021.
The mission of the PWC Human Rights Commission is to eliminate
discrimination through civil and human rights laws enforcement and to establish equal opportunity for all persons within the county through education. It consists of nine at-large members appointed by the BOCS. The Commissioners advise the BOCS​ on issues pertaining to human and civil ​rights enforcement and concerns that arise in the community.
Sounds Like Fun
Did you know this year the full moon coincides with Halloween? PWC Parks and Recreation did and have planned a special evening. Join them from 9 pm to 11 pm on Saturday, October 31 at the Neabsco Regional Park. There will be S’mores and a moonlit night hike on the award winning (Issue 28) boardwalk. Bring a flashlight and remember to bring a face mask. Social distancing will be practiced. Open to all ages, please register in advance.
If you want more of the outdoors, on Friday, November 6 from 6 pm to 7 pm PWC Parks and Recreation is hosting another event at Silver Lake Regional Park. In their Raptors program, you will learn about birds of prey from a raptor expert who will show you some of our feathered friends at the park. Open to ages 6-99, please register by Tuesday, November 2.
Upcoming Events
The PWC Solid Waste Division is hosting a free paper shred event on Saturday, November 7 from 9 am to 1 pm (or until trucks reach capacity). Customers are required to stay in their vehicle, wear a mask and place the items in the back most part of the vehicle (trunk, hatchback, truck bed). The two locations are the PWC Landfill at 14811 Dumfries Road in Manassas and Chris Yung Elementary School at 12612 Fog Light Way in Bristow.
  • The event is for residents; no business or commercial shredding will be accepted
  • Only confidential documents such as bank statements and tax returns are accepted
  • Non confidential documents such as junk mail should be recycled at the curb or Solid Waste facility customer convenience center drop-off
  • Paper clips (regular size) and staples do not have to be removed
  • Residents may bring the equivalent of up to four boxes (18”x12”x15”) of paper for shredding at no charge
Don't Forget
Prescription Drug Take Back Day
is Saturday, October 24 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at:
  • Novant Health UVA Health System's Prince William Medical Center
  • Haymarket Medical Center
  • Sentara Lake Ridge
State News
Governor Ralph Northam:

  • Announced $22 million in federal CARES Act funding will be used to create a statewide program to distribute COVID-19 vaccines when such vaccines are approved for public use. 
  • Signed 11 new laws aimed at strengthening the Commonwealth's COVID-19 response and recovery efforts.
  • Signed five new laws to reform criminal justice and policing.
  • Announced $65.8 million in new funding to increase access to child care and support child care providers amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Ann B. Wheeler was elected Chair At-Large of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors during the 2019 General Election and assumed office on January 1, 2020. Prince William County is located 25 miles south of Washington, D.C., and is the Commonwealth of Virginia’s second-most populous county with approximately 470,000 residents.