Dear Fellow Manassas Park Residents,
It’s newsletter time again, and I hope this brief summary of issues will be informative.
If you would like to receive updates between newsletters,
please email me at:
or call: 703-401-0498
My Best Regards, Jeanette
Manassas Park Councilmember
A proposal for another residential development came before council that had the potential to further burden the City’s core services: Education, Police and Fire. Fortunately, it was voted down and I will explain why I opposed it.
First, the school budget was very tight this last budgeting season. The schools had to use some of their reserve funds, with the City providing some extra funding as well. This was necessary in order to preserve the student/teacher ratio so our City would not lose funding it receives based upon that ratio. The Middle School is now most definitely at capacity, and providing added building space is not the only factor. There are recurring costs (such as staffing) to educating more children, which are beyond the cost of a structure, and these recurring costs are not covered by proffers.
In addition, when we began the budgeting process very early this year, both Police and Fire Departments gave us staffing reports, which were early indicators of their needs. The City was not able to meet those requested staffing position needs in either department.
Without additional staffing, it will be a challenge for the Fire Department to achieve accreditation and there is the potential for the City’s Insurance Services Office (ISO) rating to increase causing higher fire insurance premiums for residents and business owners. There was also the option to increase work hours of existing staff. Both options had additional recurring funding needs attached to them. Some increase in staff hours was approved but not to the extent requested or needed.
The Police Department requested funding to hire two officers. That funding was not provided and right now the police staffing level per 1,000 residents is about 8% lower than the area average. Some staff restructuring occurred but no new personnel were added.
So considering all this, there was a genuine concern about the impact of additional development on the core services of the City. Proffers are not going to accommodate additional staffing costs because proffers are not traditionally used for recurring expenses such as payroll.
The new development would also have added an estimated 920 vehicle trips per day on our roads. This is in addition to the thousands and thousands of vehicle trips that will be placed on the roads due to development already approved in previous years.
It is possible this proposal could come back to the Council again in some slightly altered form; however, as of this writing it has not.
Modular Health Clinic at Costello Park
In 2013 a collaborative effort lead to the opening of the MAP Clinic (Mason and Partners) at Manassas Park Community Center, providing a variety of acute care services one day a week. About 50-75 patients routinely attend hoping to be seen, however only a maximum of 25 are seen. 27.2% of our City residents (0-64) are not insured. Considering the need that exists, a grant application was made to the Potomac Health Foundation in an effort to expand services. This grant was approved and expansion will occur at no cost to the City.
A stand-alone modular unit housing the Mason & Partners Health Clinic will be placed in the back parking lot of Costello Park, adjacent to Lambert Drive. The projected completion date is June 2016. Every effort has been made not to inconvenience residents who live near Costello Park. There were a very limited number of potential spots where it could be located. The area chosen has ample parking which is underutilized, and also presents the most accessible location for water and sewer hookup.
The MAP Clinic provides care including: school/general health physicals, screenings (hypertension, diabetes, asthmas etc.), pregnancy testing, vision/hearing screenings, and nutritional counseling. Patients will also be seen for sore throat, sinus pain, cough, flu/GI symptoms, fever & other non-chronic ailments.
LUCUS Chest Compression System
In an effort to improve emergency services, our City’s Fire and Rescue has purchased two LUCUS Chest Compression Systems. It delivers automated compressions from first response, through transport and into the hospital setting; thereby improving the patient’s chances for a successful outcome. This was made possible through matching grant funding from the Commonwealth of VA, Office of EMS and Financial Assistance Grant Program.
In addition to the importance for the public, it also assists staff to avoid injury. In a recent survey, nearly 25% of ambulance officers suffer back injury, and about 62% of those are caused by injury related to the delivery of CPR.