Provided by Supervisor Frank Principi’s Office
Woodbridge Supervisor Frank Principi emphasized the importance of maintaining a high quality of life for area residents in his FY2017 budget guidance, presented during the Dec. 15 Prince William Board of County Supervisors meeting. He cited Prince William County’s 2014 community survey, in which 81 percent of residents reported that the county is providing a good value for their tax dollars, with 73 percent saying that they wish to see services remain the same or increase.
“The overwhelming majority of our residents value the high-quality services we provide, from parks and recreational areas, to well-trained police and fire & rescue, excellent schools and services that help our neighbors when they might fall on hard times,” said Principi. “As we look to the future, it is critical that we continue to invest in those areas that draw businesses and investment to our community and make people proud to call Prince William home.”
Illustrating the return on investment, Principi noted that from September 2014 to September 2015, unemployment in the county dropped from 4.7 to 3.8 percent, at-place employment rose by 5,000 jobs and commercial real estate vacancy decreased. Additionally, Prince William per capita and median household income are both higher than Virginia’s, and recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis for the second quarter of 2015 showed that Virginia’s GDP increased 4.3 percent; the second highest increase in all Southeastern states.
“What we are doing, in terms of budgeting and providing services, has been met with positive response. So why would we want to dramatically change course, reducing the very services and quality of life our residents value?” questioned Principi.
Principi emphasized that strategic investments in economic development, mental health, public safety and transit are essential.
Principi’s plan would have provided $6 million a year in FY17-21 to preserve PRTC bus service, as well an investment in mental health services in order to decrease the length of wait lists and wait times. Another facet of the proposal would address critical unmet needs in fire and rescue services. PWL Principi also recommended that BPOL be eliminated for more businesses at a faster pace in order to further stimulate job creation.
“Through a combination of thoughtful increases to operational efficiencies and strategic investment in essential services and economic development, we can ensure that Prince William County continues to be one of the most prosperous communities in the country,” said Principi. “The Board has a responsibility to provide the critical services and amenities that sustain our vision to be a ‘community of choice,’ where the economic diversity and quality of life encourage people and companies to choose to locate and remain in Prince William.”
Following several hours of debate, the Board of County Supervisors approved a modified version of Principi’s plan, requesting that County staff draft a FY17 budget that preserves the 5-year plan adopted last fiscal year and includes Fire & Rescue’s critical unmet need for FY17 and a $6 million investment to preserve PRTC bus service.
To view slides from Supervisor Principi’s FY17 budget guidance, to include economic data for Prince William County and Virginia, visit www.NewWoodbridge.org.