Issue 19
Friday, June 26, 2020
Prince William County
Dear Neighbors,

Issue 18's theme of change continues and it will likely do so for a long time. I know for most the prospect of change, or even just mentioning the word, is often met with a visceral resistant reaction.

However, I suggest we reframe our thinking. This isn't just change for the sake of change. These are times of growth, which is what life is about. As you spend more time outside of your home, take time to notice the flowers of summer and remember their beauty can only come from their ability to grow.

This issue focuses on moving Virginia Forward to mitigate COVID-19, the county creating a new reality and the state a new commemoration of history. You will also find out how to be part of our growth by influencing our new strategic plan, learn about changes in state laws and new opportunities to serve the county.

In Service,
Chair Ann Wheeler
COVID-19 Update
Forward Virginia Phase Three
On Wednesday, July 1, Virginia enters Phase Three of Governor Ralph Northam's public health restrictions. Safer at Home guidelines will still apply which:
  • Recommends continued social distancing
  • Encourages teleworking whenever possible
  • Requires individuals wear face coverings in indoor public settings
Some Changes in Phase Three Include:
  • Maximum number of individuals allowed in social gatherings will increase from 50 to 250 people
  • Fitness centers may open indoor areas at 75 percent occupancy
  • Recreation and entertainment venues may operate at 50 percent occupancy, or a maximum of 1,000 persons
State And County Websites With Details For Specific Areas
Turning a County Resolution into Reality
On June 16, the BOCS adopted a resolution to develop an Equity and Inclusion Framework and Policy. So what does that mean? Raul Torres, Director of the Prince William County Human Rights Office , recently explained the framework will provide a methodology to assess programs, planning and processes for equity and inclusion, and identify racial and social disparities. Stakeholders will use "lenses" or tools, which are different ways of looking at things, to determine who benefits, is burdened, and participates in county planning policies, programs, and services. 
"It really matters how we approach our community, how we interact with them. It's very important for us to set about, with intent, to address how we use these policies, these programs and these services." 
Chris Martino, Prince William County Executive
State News
Last Friday, on Juneteenth ( Issue 18 ), Governor Northam announced 20 new state historical highway markers which address topics of national, state, and regional significance in Virginia’s African American history. Five of the 20 were suggested by students in the Governor’s inaugural Black History Month Historical Marker Contest.
“It is past time for Virginians to more fully understand and appreciate the experiences and many contributions of African Americans who shaped the Virginia of today. Yesterday’s actions by the Board of Historic Resources couldn’t be more timely or fitting.”
Julie Langan, Director of the Department of Historic Resources
Board Of County Supervisors
We Want Your Input!
As detailed in Issue 17 , the county is working on the 2021-2024 Strategic Plan and c ommunity engagement is a vital component. Your input will help in selecting goals and priorities to guide the county’s vision for the future.  The BOCS has started the process of launching the two methods that will be used to hear from you.
A Brief Survey
First, everyone can help by responding to an online survey. Only 8-questions, it is strictly anonymous and will be available online until August 30 .
Community Conversations
Every magisterial district will hold virtual conversations with its residents. They will be interactive online and telephone discussions to solicit multiple viewpoints on future aspirations, opportunities, and challenges for the county. The dates for these will be coming soon.
For More Information
To learn more about the process, you can visit the 
Office of Management and Budget's Strategic Planning web page or
email the Strategic Plan Coordinator at
Virginia Legislative Changes
What's New in VA
Virginia's General Assembly's newly enacted laws take effect on Wednesday, July 1. Occasionally, laws are also removed and this year there a significant one was repealed. Sadly, Virginia still had a Jim Crow-era exemption in its state laws stating certain jobs traditionally held by African Americans, including ushers and doormen, didn't have to pay minimum wage. Thankfully, this will no longer be allowed starting July 1.
Some of the New Laws Effective Wednesday, July 1, 2020
  • Multiple gun-control laws including expanded background checks and reinstatement of Virginia’s one-handgun-a-month law
  • Expanded voter rights including making Election Day a state holiday and allowing 'no-excuse' early voting
  • Children must ride in rear-facing car seats until age 2 unless they meet weight requirements for a forward-facing seat
  • Drivers cannot smoke in motor vehicles when a child under the age of 15 is present
  • Caseworkers are required to look back at least five years to see if a child has been abused or neglected in another state
  • 'Tommie's Law' makes abusing an animal a Class 6 felony which is punishable from one to five years in jail
  • Changes to existing law will now prohibit tethering a dog outside in extreme weather and raises the minimum tether length to 15 feet
  • Decriminalization of simple possession of marijuana
  • Raises the minimum age to purchase tobacco to 21
Established at Jamestown on July 30 in 1619 the  Virginia General Assembly is the oldest continuous law-making body in the  New World   (Western Hemisphere). In 1699 it moved from Jamestown to Williamsburg and became the General Assembly in 1776 with the ratification of the  Virginia Constitution . The state government was then moved to Richmond in 1780 during the administration of  Governor   Thomas Jefferson .
Business News
Round 2
The Small Business Relief Micro-Grant Program  ( Issue 16 ) has opened a second round for applications from qualified PWC small businesses and non-profits impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. You must act quickly though because all required documents must be submitted with the application by 
Sunday, June 28 at 11:59 pm.  
Diamond Anniversary
The Prince William Chamber of Commerce celebrated 10 years this week! The Thursday afternoon event included parting remarks from the 2019-2020 Chairman of the Board, Bishop Lyle Dukes, the Induction of 2020-2021 Board Members and a welcome for incoming Chairman of the Board, Kathie Johnson. Chair Wheeler gave a special message of thanks to Bishop Dukes and Senator Jeremy McPike lead the new board induction.
Opportunity To Serve
Making a Difference
In Issue 18, we featured the powerful impact of a recent Jail Board decision. Now you can have the opportunity to take part in shaping our county! Our office is seeking citizens with a passion and/or expertise for appointments to several County Boards and Commissions.
If you are interested in serving on one of the following, please
email Chair Wheeler outlining why you would like to be considered.
Be sure and include your contact information!

Purpose: Administer the County ordinance for historical sites and adjacent districts. Reviews and approves certificates of appropriateness to erect, reconstruct, alter, or restore a building or structure, including signs. Reviews National Register nominations, advises BOCS on historic preservation issues and maintains the County's 'Certified Local Government'  status.
Term Length: 4 years
Meeting Schedule: As needed basis; minimum four times annually

Purpose:  Identify and promote better understanding of the problems of the aging in the County, Manassas, and Manassas Park; plan and promote programs meeting the needs of the elderly; serve in an advisory capacity to BOCS and Prince William Area Agency on Aging.
Term Length:  4 years
Meetings:  Last Tuesday of each month at 10:00 am

Purpose:  Acts as an appeals body for property owners that disagree with real estate assessments.
Term Length:  1 year expiring on December 31 of each calendar year
Meeting Schedule : Dictated by the number and nature of appeals filed

Purpose:  Reviews and decides appeals of zoning determinations and variances to zoning provisions.
Term Length:  5 years (staggered terms)
Meeting Schedule:  TBD
Boards, Committees, and Commissions (BCC)
An important part of our county government:
  • There are more than 70 BCCs in PWC
  • Includes citizens appointed by the BOCS
  • Term length and meeting schedules vary
Responsibilities vary by board and can include:
  • Establishing policies
  • Determining budget priorities
  • Advising on specific issues
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.