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Issue 63
Friday, April 30, 2021
Prince William County
Dear Neighbors,

Last year, the County’s budget suffered a reduction of $40 million because of economic uncertainty. I’m incredibly pleased to share, on Tuesday evening, the Board of County Supervisors adopted a Fiscal Year 2022 budget which positions the county to help those impacted in the past year, as well as moving boldly into a future that is beneficial for all County residents.  

Some highlights of the impact of this year’s budget include expanding the Police/Community Services Co-Responder Unit for mental health calls that was fully started last year after a successful pilot program in 2019. Continuing our feeding program and supporting the actions of our Feeding Task Force that established a warehouse and very successful hub and spoke distribution network to efficiently get food to those who need it. Restoring funding for public safety items that had been put on hold, like new radios. Increasing spending on homeless services in all areas of the County with funding for continued locations in the I95/Route 1 corridor and the establishment of a greater level of service in the Manassas/Sudley corridor. Beginning the process of better funding the court system that saw assistance for Juvenile Court Services, court staffing and major additions to the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office.
Too numerous to mention in detail, the budget funded area needs for Social Services, Security, the new Animal Shelter, the new Station 22 in Fire and Rescue, as well as increasing funding for Public Health and the establishment of the new Child Advocacy Center. Supporting our school system with increases in funding year over year. Establishing an Office of Sustainability to move us closer to our environmental goals. Giving employees merit raises of 3% that were cancelled last budget season. Supporting a last-minute request from the Sheriff’s office, for body worn cameras and replacement tasers, that will hopefully work toward support for law enforcement while simultaneously increasing transparency and accountability. 

All of these were achieved even with a reduction in the real estate tax rate, which went from $1.125 per $100 to $1.115 per $100. The first tax rate reduction since 2016. There were some increases, most notably the computer peripherals moving from $1.35 to $1.50 and the establishment of a $.40 per pack tax on cigarettes.
A budget is a reflection of our values. We value our residents, our children, our employees, and our workers on the front lines. We care about helping those in true need in our community, while laying the groundwork for a better and safer future for our children. We have addressed long standing funding needs in various areas while recognizing new needs amid the changing landscape. We are well-positioned for future success as we move forward together.

In Service,
Chair Ann Wheeler
Pre-Registration No Longer Required
You can now schedule your vaccination appointment with the Prince William Health District (PWHD) using the Vaccinate Appointment Scheduling Engine (VASE). Once in VASE, enter your Zip Code, then select 25-miles for the Distance Range (10-miles can be too limiting and clinic options may not show). You have the option to select the vaccine type, the date, and time for your vaccination. For any questions, call the Virginia’s call center at 877-829-4682.
PWHD Vaccine Clinic Locations:

  • Manassas Mall - 8300 Sudley Rd in Manassas (Moderna vaccine approved for 18 and older)
  • Gander Mountain - 14041 Worth Ave in Woodbridge (Pfizer vaccine approved for 16 and older). Now accepting a limited number of walk-ins a day.
  • Veterans Park Recreation Center - 14300 Veterans Dr, in Woodbridge (Johnson and Johnson Vaccine approved for 18 and older, and Pfizer vaccine approved for 16 and older). Walk-ins are welcome.

If you are looking for an appointment with other vaccination providers, use the Vaccine Finder website and enter your zip code.
Temporary Pause is Lifted
The Prince William Health District has announced it is resuming use of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. The announcement follows the Friday, April 23, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation to resume use of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine after a temporary pause.

The FDA and CDC investigation concluded that the vaccine is safe and effective in preventing COVID-19 and its benefits outweigh known and potential risks in people 18 and older. Following the FDA and CDC announcement, the Virginia Department of Health instructed providers across the Commonwealth that they were free to resume administering the Johnson and Johnson vaccine immediately.
The Johnson and Johnson vaccine's efficacy against COVID-19 associated hospitalizations is 93%. It also has a high efficacy in preventing severe outcomes and death for any symptomatic COVID-19 case and efficacy against variants. The single dose can make it easier for certain populations that may have difficulty in getting a second vaccination.
Change in CDC Guidelines for Fully Vaccinated
On April 28, the CDC updated its guidance on what people can do when they are fully vaccinated (which occurs two weeks after their final vaccine dose). The new guidance no longer calls for people who are fully vaccinated to wear masks outdoors, unless they are in crowded settings. Subsequently, Governor Ralph Northam amended Executive Order 72, which goes into effect midnight May 15, to align the mask requirements with the CDC guidance.
The Governor also revised Executive Order Seventy-Two to allow up to 1,000 spectators for outdoor recreational sports, effective immediately. This is two weeks earlier than the previous May 15 effective date, and will allow additional spectators at final games of the current high school sports season and the summer sports season.
CDC Guidelines on Activities
The CDC created the following graphics on choosing indoor and outdoor safer activities and how to participate in them for people who are fully vaccinated and for those who have not yet been vaccinated.
Become a Community Ambassador

The Virginia Department of Health is continuing to accept applications for Community Ambassadors to help share COVID-19 updates and materials with neighbors, peer groups, in classrooms, faith communities, and businesses next door. (issue 62).
Ways to Help Experts Learn from COVID-19
Help Shape Public Health Policy
COVIDsmart is a digital health study led by George Mason University, Eastern Virginia Medical School – Sentara Healthcare Analytics and Delivery Science Institute, and Vibrent Health. The study is looking for individuals to share feedback about their experiences with COVID-19 to help public health leaders better respond to the pandemic and future public health crises. The study aims to recruit individuals who are diverse in age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, race, and culture to reflect Virginia’s diversity and include groups historically underrepresented in biomedical research. Over 500 have enrolled to date. To participate, enrollment must be completed by Monday, May 31.

You can participate in COVIDsmart by completing surveys on your computer or mobile device from wherever you are. Your data is securely collected and all answers are privacy-protected. It will take about 25-35 minutes to complete the initial set of surveys, and you can expect to contribute around 45 to 60 minutes each month.

By taking this survey, you will be automatically entered to win a $50.00 gift card. There will be 20 drawings a month for eight months. An extra entry is earned with each survey finished. There will also be four drawings for a $500.00 gift card for anyone who completes the entire study. Participants will be eligible to win one (1) $50.00 monthly gift card and one (1) $500.00 grand prize gift card.
Help Make Predictions for Virginia
Each year the World Health Organization designates the last week of April as World Immunization Week. This year's theme, Vaccines Bring Us Closer, is particularly poignant. During this week, in partnership with Metaculus, the Virginia Department of Health is launching the Keep Virginia Safe Tournament. Metaculus is an organization that improves decision making by aggregating quantitative predictions of future events made by groups of people.
The tournament will unfold in three rounds over the course of a year. Round 1 is now open and has a monetary prize pool for accurate predictions.

Examples of prediction questions are:
  • What will the percent of Virginia's population vaccinated with at least one dose be on 1 August 2021?
  • When will Virginia's 6-foot distancing requirement for food and beverage establishments be lifted?
Ways to Participate in Round 1
  • Join the Keep Virginia Safe Forecasting Tournament and make forecasts. The starting prize pool for accurate forecasts is $1,000.
  • Share your expertise, brainstorm forecasting questions, and update the community with the latest research in the COVID-19 Discussion Forum.
  • Reach out to researchers and experts to enlist their help, furthering this cause by generating new shared knowledge on the Metaculus platform.
Saturday, May 8 Event
In recognition and acknowledgement of the challenges and stresses that the residents of PWC have endured over the past year, Chair Wheeler’s office in collaboration with Vice Chair Bailey’s office, is pleased to present the Stepping Out of COVID – Walking into Wellness – 5K Mental Health Awareness Walk on Saturday, May 8, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. The event will be held at Prince William Forest Park, located at 18170 Park Entrance Road in Triangle and registration is free.

The day will begin with a yoga session followed by an outdoors, socially distant opportunity for residents to walk one of two trails in the park. There will be nearly 20 mental health care providers offering information and resources about this critical topic. The afternoon will conclude with hearing from people who have experienced firsthand mental health challenges and those who have supported a loved one with a mental health challenge. For more information visit the registration page, or contact 703-793-4645. Virtual participation is also welcome.  
Economic Development
A 'First in the Nation' Opens in PWC
Thursday, April 29, Chair Wheeler attended a ribbon cutting for 7-Eleven's new Evolution Store in Manassas. Located at 10601 Lomond Drive, it is the first Evolution Store to offer customers two restaurant options operating side by side inside the store, with separate ordering counters and shared indoor and outdoor seating. Its popular Raise the Roost® Chicken and Biscuits restaurant, which opened its first location a year ago in Manhattan, will be joined at the Manassas store by Parlor Pizza, an onsite pizzeria with hand-tossed made-to-order pizzas.

One of just eight experiential stores 7‑Eleven operates in the U.S., it has several other exclusive features. There is a well-stocked Wine Cellar and Beer Cooler, fresh-baked-on-site croissants and cookies, customized espresso drinks, and artisan craft sodas and sparkling waters.

It is also the first store to serve as a real-world testing ground for 7‑Eleven's Sips and Snacks emerging brands program. Since 2018, 7‑Eleven has hosted an invitation-only showcase for up-and-coming entrepreneurs to present their most innovative products. Franchisees and company employees vote on their favorites, and the winners land on store shelves where customers have the ultimate say. 
More New Businesses Opening
In the first quarter of 2021, PWC’s Department of Development ServicesSmall Business Project Management Program (SBPM) supported 96 businesses to successfully ‘Open for Business.’ Of these, 76 were new to the County, and 20 were existing businesses that expanded or relocated elsewhere within the County.

These numbers reflect a 7% increase in small businesses opening in the County, compared to the same time last year. The level of small business projects spiked at the end of 2020 and have since remained at over 30 businesses opening each month. This continues the trend of, on average, one small business opening in PWC every day!
“Since inception, the SBPM has helped more than 860 customers open for business. Identifying this is a critical time for our business community, we continually work to improve and better integrate our small business assistance services across all our County community development agencies and partner organizations.” 
Wade A. Hugh
Department of Developmental Services
BOCS Upcoming Meeting
TuesdayMay 4
at 2:00 pm and 7:30 pm

For Public Comment Time options,
visit SpeakUp! Prince William.
Remote speakers must sign-up by
5:00 pm on Monday, May 3.
In-person speakers can sign up at the meeting.
Feasibility Study Funded
On April 21, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) Transportation Planning Board (TPB) approved 11 small planning projects to help build and enhance vibrant communities that are easy to walk, bike, and take transit.

PWC's Innovation Park Town Center Shuttle Service Feasibility Study was one of the 11 projects approved and received $55,000 in funds. The feasibility study for the implementation of a shuttle service within the Innovation small area includes employment centers, commercial, and recreation, and the Broad Run VRE Station.

All of the 11 projects funded are in or near COG and TPB designated Activity Centers, which are focal points for housing, jobs, and transit hubs. The projects selected receive funding through COG's Transportation Land-Use Connections (TLC) Program. You can learn about the other 10 small projects that were funded here.
Weigh-in on I-95 Commuter Options
Commuter Choice, established in 2017, is a partnership of the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC) and the Commonwealth of Virginia. The program invests toll revenues from the I-66 and I-395/95 expressway corridors in Northern Virginia into transit and multimodal projects that benefit their respective corridor’s toll road users. Commuter Choice moves more people, supports the regional economy, increases mobility options, decreases congestion, and reduces emissions.
Of the proposed projects, 4 are primarily located in PWC
  • Renewal of Enhanced Bus Service from Dale City to Ballston
  • Renewal of Enhanced Bus Service on Route 1 Local: Quantico to Woodbridge VRE
  • Renewal of Enhanced Bus Service on PW Metro Express: Ominride Transit Center to Franconia-Springfield Metro
  • Horner Road Park and Ride Lot Expansion

NVTC is encouraging the public to review the 13 project applications for Round Two (FY22 - FY23) of the Commuter Choice I-395/95 Corridor program, and submit comments on the eligible and scored projects. After reviewing the project applications, members of the public can comment by:

Public comment submission period closes Monday, May 17, at 5:00 pm.
County News
Replacing Maps From 1995
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is in the process of updating floodplain maps in PWC and has released its Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). These maps show whether your property is located within or outside the 1% annual chance flood, also referred to as the 100-year floodplain. Upon adoption, these FIRMs will replace the existing 1995 maps.

Before they become final, FEMA will have a 90 day Public Review and Comment Period this summer. During this time, property owners can submit appeals to FEMA through PWC along with engineering data to contest the overall accuracy of the published Preliminary FIRM maps. PWC's Environmental Services webpage has an interactive mapping tool for the Preliminary FIRMs and will be updated as key dates become available.
Free Virtual Workshops
The annual Northern Virginia Housing Expo is virtual this year and has free online workshops the second Saturday of every month. You can view recordings of workshops earlier this year and register to participate in upcoming ones on the Online Workshop webpage. All workshops are live and offered in English at 11:00 am and Spanish at 1:00 pm. PWC Office of Housing and Community Development is a Platinum Sponsor of the EXPO.
The Saturday, May 8, workshop, Ready to Sign Your First Lease?, will be hosted by the Virginia Cooperative Extension Financial Education and Housing Counseling team. The Saturday, June 12, workshop will be Home Maintenance and Safety. Learn about all the upcoming workshops, and view previous ones, here.
PWC Wants Your Input
As part of its work to implement the Marcus Alert System (issue 61), PWC Department of Community Services is hosting a virtual community conversation on Saturday, May 1, at 9:30 am. The open discussion will focus on hearing resident concerns and experiences with mental health crisis services in the Greater Prince William area. One of the primary objectives of the system is to divert persons experiencing a behavioral health crisis from entering the criminal justice systemRegistration for the community conversation is required.
Another Way to Participate

You can also help by help by completing an online, 22 question, survey. It is anonymous and closes Friday, May 28, at 5 pm. 
Help The PWC Libraries Improve
Prince William Public Libraries (PWPL) is seeking the public’s feedback through a six question survey from April 19 – May 21. The short survey helps the library not only get a better idea of how patrons are choosing materials and using the Digital Library, but also helps in deciding what to purchase in the future. The survey is available on the PWPL webpage, and in both English and Spanish at each of its libraries.
National Donate a Lunch Day
According to USDA, 50 million people in the United States, including 17 million children, are battling hunger and feeling food insecure. For the past four years, Humanity First USA has been organizing the “Fast 2 Feed” campaign during the holy month of Muslim Fasting, Ramadan (issue 61). The campaign includes ‘National Donate A Lunch Day’ on Saturday, May 1. You can donate one lunch for $15 or $50 for a family of four. Visit the Fast2Feed website to learn more and how to fundraise and donate.
Celebrating the Arts
The Hylton Center's Celebration of the Arts Alliance is on Thursday, May 6, at 7:00 pm. This first-ever event will highlight the outstanding artistic contributions and achievements of the Arts Alliance and celebrate their long history with the Hylton Center. The virtual event will feature performances from several organizations, interviews with leaders and an opportunity for you to support remarkable work. Registration is required and available through Wednesday, May 5.
New and Improved
PWC has launched a new website that is user-focused and provides information residents, business owners, and other stakeholders need. The new site has a fresh look, requires fewer clicks, provides a robust search engine, is mobile friendly, and compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
PWC Compost Awareness Day
The PWC Solid Waste Division and its partners, the Virginia Cooperative Extension Prince William Master Gardeners and Freestate Farms, will host a Compost Awareness Day event on Saturday, May 8 from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm The event will be held at the Balls Ford Road Compost Facility located at 13000 Balls Ford Road in Manassas. Masks are required.

Volunteers from the Prince William Master Gardeners will share information on composting at home, as well as, how to use compost in your gardens. In addition, event visitors can drop off food scarps and receive a free compost sample in their own bucket, compliments of Freestate Farms. Compost bins and buckets will also be available for purchase.
Community Opportunities

Regional News
Support Veteran and Military Spouse Entrepreneurs
Saturday, May 1, from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, Veterans Grow America and The Rosie Network are hosting the Veteran Business Expo showcasing 40 Veteran and Military Spouse Owned Businesses. The event will be at the Fort Belvoir Post Exchange, located at 8651 John J Kingman Rd, Unit 2321 in Fort Belvoir. The event will also include a performance by country music artist and combat veteran Donnie Isaacs and KHUR Radio DJ Pynk Dyamond will be there, as well as, food trucks, a fashion show, and more family fun! Learn more and register for this free event.
Please Note
This event is closed to the general public. You MUST have a military or Department of Defense Identification to enter Fort Belvoir.
Many of the Smithsonian Museums and the National Zoo are reopening in May! To ensure a safe environment for visitors and staff, all visitors, regardless of age, must have a free, timed-entry pass to enter. Passes can be reserved up to 30 days in advance online or by calling 1-800-514-3849, extension 1. There is a six pass maximum for individuals and groups are also limited to six. Face coverings are required.
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.