As Prince William County moves into 2022, the Board of County Supervisors plans to continue investments in traffic improvements, environmental stewardship and public schools.
Board Chair Ann Wheeler provided a retrospective on 2021 and a look forward to 2022 during the board’s first meeting of the year Tuesday.
Wheeler thanked former County Executive Chris Martino for his service. Martino’s tenure ended Dec. 31 after 26 years with the county; he had served as the top administrator since 2016. Wheeler lauded Martino’s leadership in maintaining the county’s AAA bond rating and improving recruitment and retention of county employees.
Looking back on 2021, Wheeler highlighted the county’s investments in the environment, equity in schools and road safety while decreasing the tax burden on residents.
Wheeler commended county staff for their accomplishments while continuing to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is a universally challenging time,” she said. “But it is important to note that our community remains one of the most desirable localities to live, work and raise a family in the commonwealth of Virginia.”
On the environment, Wheeler noted measures requiring yard waste to be disposed of in biodegradable bags, establishing a joint environmental task force with the school division and creating an office of sustainability.
Wheeler said the county plans to continue pursuing the clean energy goals of the Metropolitan Council of Governments, including 100% renewable electricity for government operations by 2030, 100% of county electricity from renewable sources by 2035 and 100% carbon neutrality by 2050.
“At a time when access to water, air, and green space are at a premium, your Board of County Supervisors continues to showcase good environmental stewardship and planning for future generations who will one day call Prince William County home,” she said.
In the new year, the county plans to continue investing in public schools to address achievement gaps exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.
Wheeler said 32 people were killed in traffic accidents across the county in 2021. She said officials will continue to invest in safety improvements across the county in the coming year.
Wheeler highlighted projects to expand the Horner Road park-and-ride lot, realign Balls Ford Road and build the under-construction auxiliary lane on Interstate 95.
To show the county is continuing to invest in traffic improvements, Wheeler highlighted its recent request of $440 million from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority for eight road projects. The money would fund two interchange projects and six road extensions or widenings.
Finally, Wheeler said the county will try to reduce the tax burden on residents through increasing the county’s commercial tax base.
“Over the coming year, you can anticipate continued efforts to mitigate the residential tax burden, efforts to increase commercial business expansion across the region, and continued prioritization of the safety and well-being of our community while embracing the globally diverse community which chooses to call Prince William County home,” she said. “If we can all work together, we will continue to move our community forward in the coming years as Prince William County takes its place as a premier community to live, work and play.”