Jeanette Rishell

Mayor Of Manassas Park


Next Generation 911-System Replacement
     The City’s existing E-911 Communications Dispatch System has reached the end of its usable lifespan, and technical support is no longer available through Verizon. A new enhanced Next Generation E-911 System and Technical Support has been purchased through Carousel Industries. Excellent pricing was obtained as the result of riding a state contract, with the new vendor, Carousel, who will provide technical support on the old system until delivery and installation of the new system equipment is complete. The implementation of this Next Generation E-911 System will enhance public safety services throughout the community.
    Our Police and Fire & Rescue Departments have achieved the highest standards, and it is important that we continue to provide the equipment needed for our First Responders to perform their duties. This improvement and upgrading of equipment and services, maintains our City’s commitment to safety. We are all proud of Manassas Park’s designation as the 7th safest city in Virginia. This rating was based upon analysis using violent crimes per capita, property crimes per capita and total crimes per capita; for cities with a population of more than 5,000 people that reported data to the FBI.

Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permit
     Manassas Park has a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permit, which is administered by Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VA DEQ). The MS4 requirements were driven by the EPA’s approval of the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) pollutant requirements flowing into the Chesapeake Bay. Manassas Park has little flexibility within the MS4 Permit, and the City must accommodate these requirements as an unfunded mandate now and into the future.
     The Permit requires that the City reduce pollutants flowing into the watershed; and to accomplish this by developing, implementing and enforcing a storm water management program in accordance with the timeline contained in the MS4 General Permit. The Permit requires reductions in the amount of Pollutants of Concern (POC). The main POCs are nitrogen, phosphorous and suspended solids (sediment). Manassas Park is expected to show benchmark progress.
     So the City has developed and is now implementing Action Plans to meet Permit requirements. Public education is a part of this effort. In addition City code was amended to provide the City with necessary legal authority to regulate non-storm water discharge. For example, no one should pour motor oil or pet waste into curbside drains; and the City needed the legal authority to deal with this.
     Other City efforts toward reducing POC runoff include street sweeping, erosion and sediment control, modification of a Conner Center Pond to slow runoff, installation of a treatment device in a curb inlet on Manassas Drive, etc. It is the City’s understanding that the ponds or permanent wet areas created would not be a breeding ground for mosquitoes because they are also home to predators like frogs and dragonflies, that eat mosquitoes and their larvae.
     The current MS4 Permit cycle (2013-2018) requires 5% reduction, the next cycle (2018-2023) requires an added 35% reduction for a total of 40% reduction, and the following cycle (2023-2028) requires an added 20% for a cumulative total of 60% reduction in the POCs. So it will be a challenge for a small locality such as Manassas Park to attain these requirements. There is a Storm Water Local Assistance Fund (through VA DEQ), to which the City can apply for help. This assistance requires a 50% match of City funds. There will also be a continuing search for other Grant opportunities.
     When pollutant reduction quantities are calculated, there are a number of factors considered, one of which is the size of the City, with consideration given to its land cover. Only forested land is excluded from the reduction calculation, whereas pervious and impervious land covers are used in the calculation. This has important real world impact for our City, because residents have asked if the City intends to increase its size. This would be a very serious consideration. If the City significantly increases its landmass, there would also be an increase in the overall Citywide MS4 pollutant reduction requirement. There are sizable fines for MS4 non-compliance when reduction requirements are not met. So we have to be very careful what we do. If anyone would like to have copies of the City’s Action Plans, please let me know.

VRE Parking Expansion
     Phase One of the VRE Parking Expansion (funded by the NVTA) has been completed and site selection has been made. The VRE and their consultant considered a total of six locations. The site chosen is along the railroad tracks and back a distance from Manassas Drive, and is commonly referred to as the Bays Property. This leaves the areas that are directly on Manassas Drive available for commercial use, and places the parking structure in a location that is not conspicuous and should reduce vehicle backup during peak hours. This is also City owned property and hopefully that will expedite the process. A location not owned by the City may have presented the potential for lengthy negotiations that could have placed the City at a disadvantage.
     Phase Two is beginning, and likewise is funded by the NVTA, at a cost of about $2 million. This will cover the environmental and engineering studies, complete NEPA analysis (National Environmental Policy Act of 1970 that addresses environmental impact), and preparation of the actual engineering design documents for the parking garage. There are still many details to be worked out prior to actually building the parking garage, but this keeps us moving forward.