Budget Backsliding

In the past months, Manassas officials have been very busy. From announcing a water base rate increase (nearly doubling the cost of the first drop of water from the tap), to passing a franchise tax on insurance, the city council does its best to find more ways to get money from its citizens and water service fee slaves customers.

And then that same government works hard to keep you from knowing where the money comes from and where it goes.

In 2016, due to our efforts, Manassas adopted its first detailed budget in what may be decades (or ever). Although that budget’s allocation of funds was childish and unrealistic, the taxpayer could at least see the foolishness. The 2016 budget (click here to download), had three funds listed: water enterprise, general, and SPLOST. Although some of those allocations were ridiculous, such as $3400 for street lights and $1925 in no-bid groundskeeping services (allocated to the mayor’s son), both expenses taken out of the cash-rich water enterprise budget, you could at least see the sliminess of it. We’ll dig into more of that slime in future posts.

This year, at the budget review meeting on the 8th of May, the city presented the proposed 2017 budget (click here to download). Unlike the detailed 2016 budget, the 2017 budget artfully conceals income and expenses. Gone is the separate water enterprise budget, and gone are the detailed categories of income and expenses.

Worse, this joke of a budget was approved at 9PM on the 17th of May. Yes, that was a Wednesday evening, or a church night for many people, and at a time when many people need to be in bed so that they can get up in the morning for work. Work that then pays for these exorbitant increases in taxes and expenses.

It is disgusting that the city tells you they need to raise the water base rate, and also passes an insurance franchise tax, but then hides the details from you about what they plan to do with the money.

We’re working to crack open this nut of accountability. You’ll see more, much more, from us soon.

NoQuarter_160x320It is telling that Councilwoman Tonya Edwards has had a pirate flag on her flagpole (shown to the left, click photo to enlarge), proudly proclaiming “No Quarter”. Given the latest water service increase, the new insurance franchise tax, and then the insulting 2017 budget, it is clear that the city has decided to declare a pirate war on the citizens, plundering their treasure on a whim with little to no accountability or visibility as to the outcome.

We can at least thank her for this blatant expression of the city’s demonstrated intentions toward its taxpayers and water customers alike.

Have a hot tip on a public leech, or know someone who has been targeted by a local petty tyrant? Have a public interest event coming up? To let us know about anything of interest to the community, see the Contact Us link at the top of the page.

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[…] charge, from $14 to $27 ($25 plus a $2 tank maintenance fund charge). As you will recall from a previous article, this increase was approved, along with an insurance franchise tax, at the March city council […]