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Issue 145

Friday, December 16, 2022

Prince William County

Dear Neighbors,

As in past years, The Wheeler Report issue following our last Board of County Supervisors meeting closes out the year. As you'll see below, the Board meeting on Tuesday, December 13, was very productive. So much so, all the articles in the County News section below has been devoted to several of its significant agenda items.

Once we have said our goodbyes to 2022, you can expect to see The Wheeler Report back in your inbox the first week of January 2023. Until then, I wish you all a safe and joyous holiday season with friends and family. It is truly my honor to represent the residents of Prince William County and I believe that together we can make 2023 a wonderful year.

In Service,

Chair Ann Wheeler

Chair's Calendar

Annual Meeting

Wednesday, December 14, Chair Wheeler participated in the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) 2022 Annual Meeting where area elected officials are joined by business and nonprofit leaders to reflect upon and celebrate the region's shared priorities and accomplishments in 2022. As Corporate Vice President, Chair Wheeler opened the event, welcoming attendees and commended regional leaders for finding new ways to strengthen existing partnerships and grow more unified in planning priorities.

Chair Wheeler Elected 2023 Corporate President

At the meeting, COG members elected the 2023 incoming slate of corporate officers and elected Chair Wheeler Corporate President.

Serving with her, District of Columbia Councilmember Robert C. White, Jr. and Charles County Commissioner Reuben B. Collins II were elected as Corporate Vice-Presidents, and City of Frederick Mayor Michael O’Connor was elected as Secretary-Treasurer.


Friday, December 16, Chair Wheeler attended the PWC Police Department's law enforcement class #51 graduation. With 28 graduates the class #51 is one of our counties most robust. These individuals worked tirelessly over the past 6 months to develop the skills needed to become the first class first responders we need in our community.

Special thanks to the Circuit Clerk's Courts Office for the photo below.

Next Meeting

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

2:00 pm

Annual Organizational Meeting

Links to the agenda and to register to participate in Public Comment Time remotely will be shared in issue prior to the meeting.

Board Commendation

During the Tuesday, December 13, meeting, the BOCS commended Patrick F. O'Leary, Captain, USAF, Retired, for 50 Years of Exemplary Service to Prince William County, including his 28 years of service on PWC's Industrial Development Authority (IDA).

Learn more about Mr. O'Leary and the IDA in County Kudos below.

County News

Supervisor Resignation

Tuesday, December 13, Gainesville Magisterial District Supervisor Peter "Pete" Candland sent a letter to the BOCS announcing his resignation effective Friday, December 16, at 6:00 pm. This followed his press release announcing the resignation on Friday, December 10. During the Tuesday, December 13, meeting, the Board passed a resolution accepting the resignation. The resolution also declared a vacancy and directed County Attorney, Michelle Robl, to notify the Circuit Court of the vacancy and request a Writ of Special Election. Following the passing of the resolution, Supervisor Candland abstained from Board votes.

What Happens Next

County Attorney, Michelle Robl, will be filling the Writ of Special Election on Monday, December 19. Information and details regarding the Special Election will be shared in future issues.

"All the best to Supervisor Candland...I know that he really served the Gainesville District well over the last eleven years, and worked diligently to do that and was very engaged. I am grateful for his service."

Ann Wheeler

Chair At-Large Board of County Supervisors

Pedestrian Bridge Funding

As his final item before the BOCS, at the Tuesday, December 13, meeting, Supervisor Candland made a motion for the transfer, budget, and appropriation of $2 million in general use proffer funds to the James Madison Highway (Route 15) Pedestrian Bridge project. The motion was unanimously approved. This new capital project in the Gainesville Magisterial District involves the design and construction of a pedestrian bridge across Route 15 at the intersection of Dominion Valley Drive and Graduation Drive.

The intersection is located at Battlefield High School. Over the last few years it has been the site of multiple pedestrian accidents, most recently on November 22. Sadly, several of these accidents have resulted in fatalities.

"Thank you. It's been great working on this project with you and so many other things over the last year or so. You have served your constituents well because this is important to them and this is the beginning of getting it done. So, thank you very much."

Ann Wheeler

Chair At-Large Board of County Supervisors

Additional Project Funding

 County staff has submitted the Pedestrian Bridge Project for SMART SCALE FY2026 funding (available in Summer 2025) to fully fund the remainder of the Project. County staff will be informed in Spring 2023 if the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) awards SMART SCALE funds to the Project. District funding is available to complete the Project if SMART SCALE funds are not granted

SMART SCALE stands for System for the Management and Allocation of Resources for Transportation, and the key factors used in evaluating a project’s merits: improvements to Safety, Congestion reduction, Accessibility, Land use, Economic development and the Environment. It is a process that helps Virginia meet its most critical transportation needs using limited tax dollars.

Addressing Police Department Compensation Needs

During the Tuesday, December 13, meeting, the BOCS passed a County staff resolution proposing adjusting the police pay scale and hiring bonus structure for attracting new hires in hard to-fill positions. These proposals were in response to two directives issued by the Board on October 11 to address staffing concerns. Details of the two directives and an additional item is provided below.

During the discussion, Acting County Executive Elijah Johnson shared that as part of the upcoming FY2024 budget process, County staff is looking at all County pay scales, including Fire and Rescue. This will be part of the proposed FY2024 budget presented to the Board on February 21, 2023.

Adjusting the Pay Scale

Currently, PWC police officer minimum pay is $52,749. This is lower than the current minimum in Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Washington D.C., which range from $54,698 to $60,353. Staff provided five pay scale adjustment options (page 2). The Board approved adjusting the minimum pay to $62,000, which provides the greatest increase, effective January 1, 2023.

Hiring Bonuses for Hard-to-Fill Positions

The Board was presented a three tiered, hiring bonus structure (bottom of page 2) ranging from $3,000 to 10,000 to attract new hires for hard-to-fill positions. The proposed hiring bonuses would be made in two payments. The first payment with the employee’s first paycheck and the second payment upon completion of the employee’s probationary period. The Board approved the bonus plan effective January 1, 2023.

How Will These be Funded?

As mid-budget cycle items, these two approved proposals are not in the adopted FY2023 budget. Therefore, funding is needed through the remainder of the FY2023 budget cycle, which ends on June 30, 2023. Those funds are being appropriated from the County's portion of the projected FY2023 general revenue surplus and the remaining adopted FY2023 budget contingency fund (pages 380-381). Note, under the County/Schools Revenue Sharing Agreement, (page 27) 53.27% of the County's general revenue surplus would be available to PWC Schools. 

How Will Funding be Addressed in the FY2024 Budget?

The adopted FY2023-2027 Five-Year Plan does not include increases to employee pay scales. Therefore, the full-year cost of the minimum pay increase will need to be included in the proposed FY2024 budget.

The adopted FY2023-2027 Five-Year Plan and FY2023 Budget do not include a hiring bonus plan. County staff recommended, in light of existing labor market issues, maintaining the hiring bonus through FY2024. Therefore, the full year cost will need to be included in the proposed FY2024 budget.

An Additional Item

While not part of the Board's October 11 directive, providing GAP pay (explanation below) and increasing holiday pay to 1.5x the hourly rate for Adult Detention Center (ADC) staff was included in County staff's recommendations. The Board approved the proposal through FY2023, ending June 30, 2023.

The funding for this through the FY2023 end date of June 30, 2023, will be managed within the ADC’s existing budget (pages 285-291). The necessary budget shifts to continue these changes beyond FY2023, will be included in the ADC’s proposed FY2024 budget. 


The Virginia Gap Pay Act requires an overtime rate of 1.5x the hourly rate between 160 monthly hours and 171 hours for law-enforcement employees. ADC regional jail employees are not included in the Commonwealth’s definition of “law enforcement employees.”

Comprehensive Plan Update Adopted

During the Tuesday, December 13, Public Hearing, the BOCS adopted the December 2022 drafts of the five chapters of Pathway to 2040: Comprehensive Plan Update (issue 144). The previous Comprehensive Plan was last updated in 2008 and 2010. The process of updating it began in 2016. During that time, PWC Planning Office staff and its independent consultants have conducted extensive research.

The update process has also included soliciting community feedback, hosting informational sessions, and holding public meetings. This work and the opportunities for community involvement in updating the Comprehensive Plan has been shared in The Wheeler Report since issue 49 on January 22, 2021.

County Happenings

Community Cocoa and Sign Unveiling

Tuesday, December 20, 11:00 am to 11:45 am, come out for a celebratory “reveal” of the new UVA Health Haymarket Medical Center marquis. You'll be able to grab a cup of hot chocolate to keep you warm and hear local leaders, including Chair Wheeler, reflect on what it has meant to become part of UVA Health over the past year. First 100 attendees will receive a free gift!

July 1, 2021, UVA Health became the full owner of Novant Health UVA Health System, a Northern Virginia regional health system previously owned by the two institutions through a joint operating company. You can learn more about this in the County News section of issue 73 and this video.

The UVA Health Haymarket Medical Center is a 60-bed acute care hospital with a 24/7 emergency room, physicians’ offices and an outpatient surgery center. It has 

  • Been recognized as a leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.
  • Received a Gold Plus Achievement Award by the American Heart Association for its success in using Get with the Guidelines® for Heart Failure.
  • Received Women’s Choice Awards in Bariatrics, OB/GYN, and Emergency Services.

Boardwalk Holiday Light Walk

There is still time to enjoy the PWC Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism's inaugural Holiday Walk of Lights at the Neabsco Creek Boardwalk in Woodbridge. In addition to the almost mile of light displays, there is holiday music and, on some nights, food trucks. The free event will be open 5:30 pm to 9:00 pm, Friday December 16 through Sunday, December 18, and Friday, December 30. No reservation required and once the parking lot at the park is full, two shuttle buses will run continuously from Mary G. Porter Traditional School. The video below gives a glimpse into this special event.

County Holiday Information

Holiday Operation Schedule

All PWC Government offices and courts will be closed:

  • Friday, December 23, and Monday, December 26.
  • Monday, January 2.

All PWC Public Libraries will be closed:

  • Friday, December 23, through Monday, December 26.
  • Monday, January 2.

Saturday, December 31, the PWC Dale City, Dumfries, Independent Hill, Lake Ridge, and Nokesville Public Library branches will be closed.

The PWC Landfill and Balls Ford Road Compost Facility:

  • Will be open 6:00 am to 2:00 pm on Saturday, December 24.
  • Does not operate on Sundays, therefore, it will be closed on Sunday, December 25, and Sunday, January 1.

Recycling Holiday Greenery

After all the holiday festivities are over, give your Christmas tree, wreath, and other cut greenery another life as compost and mulch. PWC Solid Waste Christmas Trees and Greenery webpage advises after removing all the ornaments, decorations, tinsel, nails, and tree stand, recycle your cut tree and live greenery in one of the methods listed below.  

PWC encourages residents to closely inspect freshly cut Christmas trees for signs of spotted lanternfly (County News section in issue 138).

Recycling Holiday Lights

While holiday light strings help make the season special, they don't last forever. When disposing old lights, PWC Solid Waste Management Disposal Guide recommends:

  • Bringing them to the County Landfill or Ball Ford Road Compost facilities.
  • Not putting them in your curbside recycling bin or recycling trailers.

Additional Options Include:

  • Through Tuesday, January 31 bring them to MOM's Organic Market in Woodbridge to be recycled into roofing, car batteries, flatware, jewelry, and more.
  • Ship them to HolidayLEDs a receive a coupon good for purchases from its online store.

County Kudos

A Lasting Impact for PWC

A graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Patrick O'Leary served from 1966-1972 in the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations at various bases in the U.S. and overseas. In 1972, Patrick and his wife, Jane O’Leary, decided to make PWC home and raise their three children, Patrick C. O’Leary, Kathleen Hitchcock, and Michael O’Leary here. Upon graduating from Georgetown University Law School in 1975 he began his 47-year law career, specializing in international trade, customs, regulatory practice, business, and corporate law.

From September 1994 to April 2022, Mr. O’Leary served as the Occoquan Magisterial District representative to the PWC Industrial Development Authority (IDA). During that time, he held the office of Vice Chairman for many years and served as Chairman from November 2017 to April 2022. The IDA s one facet of a multi-pronged approach to PWC economic development and works its partners, the PWC Department of Economic Development. Its primary activity is to issue tax-exempt revenue bonds, as well as serve as a conduit for investments made in our community by the BOCS in the form of incentive grants. The goal of these services is to attract new business to PWC and to help existing businesses expand.

The IDA's Impact

One of the many projects IDA has been involved in is Innovation Technology Park, Northern Virginia’s only university-centered research corporate park. The 1,500-acre campus in PWC, anchored by the George Mason University Science and Technology Campus and the Prince William Science Accelerator, is the only public-private commercially available wet lab spaces in Northern Virginia. Industrial Revenue Bonds played a significant role in financing companies locating to the Park early in its development.

The PWC Department of Economic Development is utilizing the IDA for its Restore Retail grant program (BOCS section in issue 94). Since it opened in 2021, the IDA has awarded over 350 PWC small businesses more than $5 million (County News section in issue 137). You can read about more projects IDA has been involved in here

Helpful Links


How to Get Vaccinated (including boosters):

How to get tested:


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 482,000 residents. 
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