New Manassas Park Councilman Weighs in on What Matters Most
New Manassas Park City Councilman Preston Banks is slated to take office Monday
Newly-elected Manassas Park Governing Body member Preston Banks received the most votes when he ran for the position in November.
But ask Banks exactly how many votes he received and you probably won't get an answer.
"I've never looked," Banks said. "I was focused on getting the job done. But now the voters have spoken and it's time to get the job done."
Banks, who ran as an Independent, received 1,184 votes, which accounted for a little more than 31 percent of the total votes received in the Nov. 2 local election, according to Virginia State Board of Elections data.
He and Republican councilman-elect Brian Leeper will take office Jan. 3 as the two newest members of the Manassas Park Governing Body.
The two men will fill vacancies left by Independent Michael Bunner, who was not re-elected to the position, and Fran Kassinger, who opted against seeking re-election.
Banks, a federal government employee working for the U.S. Department of Treasury, said he decided to run for city council because he wanted to represent the concerns of the residents.
Early on, he got a sense that there were some concerns about the direction in which the city is heading, Banks said.
During his campaign, Banks said that residents had considered what neighboring jurisdictions were paying and saw that taxes were higher in Manassas Park.
Manassas Park residents pay $1.65 per $100 of the accessed value of the property they own.
"Relative to the neighboring jurisdictions, it is high," he said. "It adds up and that's money they can spend on their household needs."
One of the first things he wants to do is bring businesses to Manassas Park.
"That helps increase the revenue, we can rely less on property taxes," he said. "The residents feel over taxed and they are overtaxed."
Banks said he also wants to protect education funding and prioritized spending on general services such as fire and police.
Residents really take pride in Manassas Park City Schools, Banks said
They love the small classes sizes and the close relationships forged by administrators, teachers and students, he added.
"I want to keep that feeling, I want to keep that ratio, those low numbers," he said.
Banks said he grew up in the Manassas and Manassas Park area and graduated from Stonewall Jackson High School.
He later attended the University of Virginia and received a master's degree from George Mason University.
He's worked for the federal government for five years and before that, he worked in local government, Banks said.
"I've seen the different perspectives of the levels of government and the challenges that each level of government has to face," he said.