Former Manassas Park Councilman Announces Campaign | Securities

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A former Manassas Park councilman hopes to reclaim his seat this fall.

Michael Carrera, who recently lost his 2020 bid to become the city’s mayor, has filed a bid to run for the six-seat council again as an independent. He first won council election in 2014 but lost his re-election bid in 2018. The Arlington County business analyst then ran against incumbent Democratic Mayor Jeanette Rishell in 2020, losing against Rishell by just under 400 votes. Manassas Park is the second smallest settlement in northern Virginia with a 2020 census population of 17,219.

Carrera said his main campaign priority is to reduce the city’s tax burden. Manassas Park has the highest property tax rate in Virginia. Despite the tax rate, the city’s municipal salaries have continually tracked the rest of Northern Virginia. Fiscal mismanagement that predates the city’s current leadership has plagued the locality with a particularly high debt burden since the Great Recession more than a decade ago.

“The high tax rate…continues to impose hardship on the city’s working-class residents,” Carrera said.

City leaders attempted to broaden the tax base with a long-term plan to develop the city’s downtown area around its Virginia Railway Express stop. The previous phases of the project created the feedback for the city government originally envisioned. But the most recent downtown project, backed by Rishell and city manager Laszlo Palko, is currently under construction. It will eventually bring new townhouses and a new town hall and library building to downtown. City officials are hoping this will bring new tax revenue to the city, but Carrera campaigned against it in 2020.

Carrera also opposes Prince William County’s plan to take local control of the state-run Prince William Health District, saying it will cost Manassas Park more without sufficient benefits.

Carrera told InsideNoVa that he wants the city to limit some of the city’s payroll growth.

“The workforce has grown by 25% in the last five years alone, where salaries have not increased at the same level,” Carrera said. “It’s the tax rate and also the failure of downtown…that’s basically why I’m running.”

Vice Mayor Preston Banks and council members Alanna Mensing and Haseeb Javed are all up for election in November. Mensing has already sought re-election. The deadline for filing is in June.

Jared Foretek covers the Manassas area and regional news across Northern Virginia. Contact him at [email protected]

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