Gillum spoke of the many changes residents saw in 2001. He also touched on some more immediate events, such as the impending sale of Dominion Semiconductor to Micron Technology, a Boise, Idaho-based company, that will cause several area employees to lose their jobs.
“A period of due diligence is now under way, but the sale is expected to be consummated in a few months,” Gillum said to a standing-room-only crowd. “A sale of this magnitude in an industry this competitive will always raise some uncertainty. But we are confident of the business advantages that we offer in terms of tax and utility rates and have already welcomed Micron Technology leaders by letter and phone.”
Gillum named public safety and education as the city’s top priorities. Gillum reiterated the fact that the School Board and the City Council signed an agreement that assures the school system of 56.2 percent of annual city general purposes revenues.
“The agreement facilitates long-range planning for both operations and capital improvements,” he said. “With the recent completion of a ‘new’ Osbourn High School and a muli-million-dollar technology initiative, Superintendent Chip Zullinger has begun a community-based strategic planning process to provide a guide for future priorities.”
Other projects currently under way include improving the Prince William Health System. At a time when several members of the Health System have become distraught over the proposed closing of the widely used Fitness Center, Gillum focused on more positive aspects such as future expansion.
“Ground was broken for the new birthing center in September and a master facility plan for the health-care campus on Sudley Road is being finalized,” he said. “With the number of emergency-room patients jumping from 38,000 in 2000 to near 50,000 in 2001, expansion of that critical facility is essential.”
Gillum also emphasized area transportation improvements. He addressed the recent opening of the new Va. 234, which was opened to traffic Oct. 22.
“Manassas now has direct four-lane divided highway access between Interstate 66 and Interstate 95,” Gillum said. “A ‘No Through Trucks’ plan that has the cooperation of area trucking companies will be implemented shortly. This will reduce heavy truck traffic in Old Town as well as on other overburdened city streets.”
Staff writer Trina Goethals can be reached at (703) 368-3101, Ext. 121.