Manassas Park burdened by debt from housing bust - The Washington Post
"Over a little more than a decade, the tiny city of Manassas Park — population 15,000 — replaced, refurbished or added onto nearly every public building in its 2.5-square-mile confines. It built a fire station, police station and community center. It expanded all of its schools. And it paid for the nearly $130 million tab with borrowed money. But even before the last brick was laid, the housing market in Manassas Park crashed, sending one in four homeowners into foreclosure and leaving many others underwater on their mortgages. Median home prices tumbled as much as 60 percent. Property tax revenue fell off a cliff. By the time the $20 million community center was finished in 2010, the city was in a position familiar to millions of Americans: digging its way out of debt...Cities across the country are in similar straits, mired in the long tail of a historic housing meltdown and recession. Many will be coping with the financial fallout of the bust for years to come, even as the housing market recovers, said Michael Pagano, a municipal finance expert at the University of Illinois at Chicago."
And this little Virginia municipality is in big financial trouble. If I understand this correctly, it is sort of in but not part of Prince William County, because it is an "independent city," which is a strange entity of which only 42 exist in the US. All but three are in Virginia. The other three are Baltimore (MD), St. Louis (MO), and Carson City (NV).