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County public schools dealing with loss of teachers as they gain experience

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Some alarming information was presented at a July 25 Warren County School Board and administrative staff “Retreat”.  The alarm bells weren’t raised solely by the number of teachers who left the system at the end of the 2017-18 school year (66 of a teacher workforce of 432), but rather by the fact that Warren County Public Schools lost 72% of the teachers hired five years ago, who now have at least five years of teaching experience.

Asked for detail on the teacher retention report, Schools Superintendent Greg Drescher explained that of 53 teachers hired five years ago, only 14 are still with the county public school system – 28%.

Those distressing numbers compare to the loss of 38% of fourth-year teachers; 33% of third-year teachers; and 10% of second-year teachers.

However, the picture isn’t totally bleak. According to Drescher a majority – 261 of the systems’ teachers have more than five years experience.

The 9 a.m. “retreat” last Wednesday at the Warren County Government Center was designed to review trends within the school system in order to prepare for coming years.  That preview includes replacing the loss of what Schools Superintendent Greg Drescher reported last month at an acknowledgement of the system’s retiring teachers as the loss of 624 years of teaching experience in the coming school year.

The staffing report noted that in addition to the total of 53 teacher resignations at the end of the last school year, another 10 teachers left for retirement and three others were listed as “deceased”.  Another 13 cited “other reasons” for leaving.  Those reasons included: family schedule; relocation; taking a break from teaching; moving to a career outside education; becoming a stay-at-home parent; and finally “no reason given”.

The Warren County School Board has a lot on its plate as the 2018-19 school year approaches, including how to replace 53 resigned teachers, including 72% of those with over five years teaching experience. Photos/Roger Bianchini

But it is the loss of more experienced teachers to resignations that is foremost on school board and administrators minds.  The problem – and this isn’t rocket science, kids – appears to be that surrounding localities are making better offers to teachers as they gain experience but haven’t yet become fully entrenched in the system and community where they were initially hired.

And it is not only wealthier, higher tax-dollar revenue communities in Northern Virginia that are gobbling all those more experienced teachers up – a total of 21 of the 53 teachers who left by resignation regardless of tenure, left for Northern Valley or other smaller, rural communities elsewhere in the state.

Those defections included: 11 to Frederick County; 3 to Shenandoah County; 2 to Winchester City; 2 to Clarke County; 2 to Culpeper; and 1 to Franklin County.

Those Northern Virginia communities “abducted” 14 teachers, with Harrisonburg and Manassas Cities taking two more.  Those numbers included: 6 lost to Loudoun County; 3 to Fauquier County; 2 each to Prince William and Fairfax Counties; and 1 each to Harrisonburg and Manassas Cities.

Other than the loss of experience, negative impacts were cited in the breakup of 31 Standards of Learning (SOL) teaching “teams, five of which the staff report noted were comprised totally of teachers with over five years experience.  Numbers presented to the school board indicated the more experienced the teaching team, the better the results by a 14-8 margin, with 4 results considered equal.

Of the problem of teacher turnover, particularly on the more experienced side, Public Schools administrative staff told the school board that, “While not a new issue with Warren County Schools, turnover is an issue that has increased to the point of it being more and more difficult to maintain status quo.  Training 60-plus new teachers every year leaves an experience gap that has no solution other than: 1/ keeping those we train; and 2/ hiring people with experience – neither of which can happen without offering competitive wages and benefits.”

Five of the school system’s 10 retiring teachers were present to be acknowledged for their service at the June 6 school board meeting. From left, Joanne Richmond, Jayne Coulter, Jackie Jenkins, Anne Jeschke and Ruth Ann Henry pictured with WCPS Superintendent Greg Drescher. Drescher noted that the system was losing 624 years of combined teaching experience heading into the coming school year – sure any of you don’t want to reconsider?

Superintendent Drescher pointed to the negative impact, not only on the county’s educational system, but on the community itself:

“A significant bottom line on this issue is the economic impact on our community.  Being able to continue to boast a positive and high performing school system creates students that become positive and high performing community members, workers, and attracts much-needed, high-quality industries to our community.

“Allowing us to become a training ground for educators will have the opposite result,” Drescher observed.

Compensation Study

The Warren County Board of Supervisors, which oversees the public schools budget purse strings, recently authorized a compensation study to address this precise problem of the loss of more experienced staff across County departments, including all administrative staffs, law enforcement, emergency services and public schools.

The County has contracted Maryland-based PayPalHR, which completed a staff compensation study for the Town of Front Royal this year.  That study was motivated by an average 17% annual staff turnover rate, also often among the Town’s more experienced employees.

Royal Examiner will explore the numbers resulting from PayPalHR’s compensation study for the Town as they could impact what the County might expect to hear from its study in a related story.

We’ll throw another party for you, if you do – just kidding, enjoy that retirement – you earned it!!!

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Local Government

Crooked Run West presents their case to Board of Supervisors

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At the June 13th Warren County Board of Supervisors work session, principals of Crooked Run West, LLC  presented their case to rezone from commercial to a mixed used but primarily residential project.

The bottom line appears to be if the Town of Front Royal will supply the necessary water and sewer for their project. Crooked Run West LLC principal Ed Murphy seemed sure that the Town would do so. The Royal Examiner has obtained the agreements the Town has with the County on supplying water and sewer to this area and it appears that they will allow only commercial development. More on this next week.

The Royal Examiner’s camera was there and captured the full work session presentation, discussion and questions, as well as some of the post-work session discussion between the public and Crooked Run West officials.

After the meeting there was some discussions with the developers:

The Royal Examiner spoke with Melanie Salins as well:

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Don’t like the Crooked Run West residential plan – blame Amazon

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Ed Murphy, left, and attorney Joe Silek Jr. paint a pretty picture of their residential rezoning request for the Crooked Run West project. Royal Examiner Photos/Roger Bianchini

Facing approaching deadlines on the loss of as much as $10 million dollars in VDOT matching transportation funding for an altered north corridor developmental plan, principals of Crooked Run West, LLC made their case to the Warren County Board of Supervisors at a Thursday evening, June 13 work session.

The case they are attempting to make, for rezoning and various permitting from the County, and on another front for central water supplied by the Town, is to allow development of a mixed use but primarily residential project creating an estimated 1,025 new homes of various description on the bulk of 119 acres previously earmarked for the expansion of the Target-based Crooked Run Commercial Shopping Center. As local shoppers know, the Crooked Run Shopping Center is located at the northwest corner of the Route 340/522 and I-66 intersection north of the Front Royal Town limits.

And Crooked Run West LLC principals Ed Murphy and Tom Mercuro, with attorney Joe Silek Jr. were playing, not only to a county board holding the zoning and permitting reins to their request, but also to a tough public that has reacted negatively to the proposal. While only Murphy and Silek addressed the board during the work session, Mercuro helped field questions from the public following the 7:30 p.m. adjournment of the work session. That work session convened at 6 p.m., following a 5:15 closed session about – guess what (the EDA).

Ed Murphy, dark jacket, and Tom Mercuro, gray shirt, field post-work session questions from skeptical members of the public.

In explaining the requested change from a commercial to residential-dominated project, Murphy reiterated what Silek wrote to County Planning Director Taryn Logan on February 19 – that explanation is that the existing rezoning to commercial sought in 2009 after the establishment of phase one of the Crooked Run Commercial Center was made “in an environment where promising commercial development (particularly retail) was expected in the Route 340/522 Corridor.”

But a decade later in 2019, Silek cites a “substantial change” in the market place writing, “In 2019, shopping habits have shifted from the brick-and-mortar stores to online outlets such as Amazon. With this shift has come a significant drop in demand for commercial real estate. Moreover, the demand for office space and industrial space has likewise declined.”

So the Crooked Run West attorney asserted to the County Planning Director, “Thus, a rezoning of the Crooked Run properties from commercial to a development consisting of mixed housing types is a sensible response to these changes in overall trends in Warren County.”

Speaking of the EDA – we did briefly, didn’t we? – wonder if anyone has mentioned these changing commercial and retail trends to the EDA Board of Directors? But that’s another subject altogether.

During his work session presentation, Crooked Run Project Manager Murphy noted that for the bulk of its 11 years of existence Crooked Run Phase One has enjoyed 100% occupancy. However, that ended recently when a tenant in the mattress business declared bankruptcy and went out of business. The vacated 4,000 square foot space remains empty because no commercial tenant can be found to lease it,” Murphy told the supervisors.

Murphy reviewed the evolving proffer package that Crooked Run West is developing to address changing impacts on schools and other aspects of the community. During board questions Happy Creek Supervisor Tony Carter noted that he could not ask for specific proffers at this point in the process (because it is not legal).

Tony Carter questions, Royal Examiner films…

But one question he could and did ask was the status of the Crooked Run developers’ negotiations with the Town of Front Royal for the central water deemed pivotal to the proposed residential development.

“If the Town says ‘no’ is that the end of it?” Carter asked Murphy.

Noting that the original Crooked Run West commercial proposal had been earmarked for Town central water, Murphy indicated he did not believe the current town council would arbitrarily deny the request for water to the newly-proposed project if it is rezoned and permitted by the County.

Earlier Murphy had noted that the Town currently provides 2 million gallons of water daily and is permitted to draw 4 million gallons a day from the Shenandoah River, with a water plant capacity of 6 million gallons per day.

Murphy asserted that the proposed changes at full build out would result in the use of about 100,000 gallons of water daily. Murphy also noted that Crooked Run West had reduced its annual build out plans from 225 homes to 150 homes per year, adding that the actual number of yearly building permit requests would be market driven to the proffered limit.

The water discussion led Board Chairman Dan Murray to ask how the projected water/sewer demands submitted to the board estimated slightly less than 100,000 gallons of water used per day (97,250), but almost 122,000 gallons of corresponding sewer capacity projected. The question’s source is the Town’s calculation of its sewer charges based on water usage.

Murphy noted the water projection was based on average residential usage but wasn’t clear on the difference in the sewer projection.

This work session was one step in the Crooked Run West proposal’s march toward a public hearing before the supervisors as they make their dual-fronted presentation to County and Town officials who have differing, but as Carter pointed out, crucial roles in propelling the project forward. After the meeting Silek said a public hearing might not occur before September as details are ironed out between the development group and municipal officials.

See the full work session presentation, discussion and questions, as well as some of the post-work session discussion between the public and Crooked Run West officials in the Royal Examiner video to be posted tomorrow.

Warren County Planning Commission denies Crooked Run West LLC rezoning

Murphy and Mercuro continue to play to a tough crowd – ‘We don’t want new neighbors, we want new stores’ seemed to be one refrain presented to the Crooked Run West developers.

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FRPD gets it newest officer – Chief Magalis ‘badges’ Orion Perry

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Orion Perry and his new FRPD ‘teammates’ during Monday night’s ceremony at the Warren County Government Center – Royal Examiner Photos/Roger Bianchini

In some welcome, non-EDA news, on Monday evening the Front Royal Town Council and Town Police Department made 8-year-old Orion Perry an honorary Front Royal Police Officer.

The Hilda J. Barbour second grader was “badged” by FRPD Chief Kahle Magalis and received some gifts from Mayor Matt Tederick to help celebrate his officer promotion.

Barbour second-grade teacher Rita Werner helped make Orion’s police officer dream come true in the wake of last week’s Relay for Life events.

See the celebration of FRPD’s newest officer in this Royal Examiner video:

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EDA in Focus

Town council votes to sue EDA for financial report and information

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Interim Mayor Matt Tederick, center, was often impassioned in addressing the EDA financial scandal’s impact on this community. Royal Examiner Photo and video by Mark Williams.

On Monday night, June 10, during the Report of the Interim Mayor, Matt Tederick called for Town-County discussion of the dissolution of the local Economic Development Authority in the wake of the multi-million-dollar financial scandal that has thus far left one former public official jailed without bond and another dead in what the Virginia State Police described as an “unattended death” with a firearm at the scene. Those officials are former EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald and recently early-retired Sheriff Daniel McEathron, respectively.

Then after somewhat of a public about face, the past critic of town government behind closed doors defended the necessity of such closed meeting Executive Sessions in the type of legal matters council was poised to adjourn to. On Monday those matters included “legal mechanisms regarding recovery of moneys owed the Town by the EDA” and whether there is compliance with the terms of the Afton Inn-old Town Hall exchange that put the EDA in control of marketing and redevelopment of the Afton Inn site at the head of Front Royal’s Historic Downtown Business District.

Tederick suggested the press to “stick around” to see if “any action” would be announced as a result of that closed session discussion – like we were going anywhere since there was subsequent work session discussion of rescinding past council exceptions to its building codes at the request of the EDA for its at the time workforce housing project. And while the interim mayor was far from the end of his remarks regarding the EDA scandal, its consequences and possible solutions, it was that “stick around” hint that led to evening’s major development.

That development was a unanimously-approved motion to authorize the Town Attorney’s Office to file a lawsuit against the EDA for recovery “of all moneys owed” or that “will be owed” to the Town by the EDA.

The lengthy motion read into the record by Gary Gillespie, seconded by Chris Holloway, added pointed criticism of past and current EDA officials for a refusal to comply with past Town FOIA requests for information related to the EDA’s debt to the Town compiled as part of the EDA financial investigation conducted by the certified public accounting firm of Cherry Bekaert.

Noting the filing of “multiple FOIA requests” to two former EDA executive directors (McDonald and Interim EDA Executive Director John Anzivino) the motion comments on a seeming word game being played by EDA officials about that Cherry Bekaert investigative report on EDA finances over the past decade.

“EDA officials on multiple occasions have stated, orally and writing that the EDA would furnish to the Town a copy of the EDA’s historical study of the finances of the EDA back to at least the year 2014, which EDA officials referred to both publicly … and to the Town as a ‘forensic audit’, yet currently EDA officials not only refuse, in writing, to furnish this ‘forensic audit’ to the Town, but based on publicly reported accounts of court proceedings, the EDA has now represented to a court of law that no ‘forensic audit’ exists and has never existed, just some sort of other ‘historical study of the EDA’s finances’,” the motion reads.

The motion asserts the Town’s right to the information despite the County assuming its share of operational funding of the EDA nearly a decade ago leading to the County footing the total bill for the “forensic audit’, ‘EDA Historical Financial Study’ or ‘Study’ as the Town motion continues to refer to it for legal purposes.

The authorization for Town litigation against the EDA also notes that Town citizens whose Town taxes may be involved in financial losses to the EDA are also County citizens whose taxpayer money is involved in funding the EDA “Study”.

See the emotion of the interim mayor and the Town’s statement of its legal right to what the EDA and County officials are believed to already have, or to at least have seen, in the Royal Examiner videos:

Watch as Mayor Tederick addresses the Town Council.

Councilman Gary Gillespie reads the motion to sue the EDA.

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Local Government

What is I&I? What can we do about it?

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At the June 3rd Town Council Work Session, Director of Public Works, Robert Boyer presented a PowerPoint presentation explaining what I&I is and the different causes and show the past work and cost along with upcoming project’s and cost associated with those. This presentation also showed other Town’s and City’s in Virginia that are currently under consent order as well.

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Is Town Council ready to take action on bad debts?

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At the June 3rd work session the Town Council continued the discussion from the March 4, 2019 work session were Town Council had discussed additional options for collection of bad debt on utility accounts. The items Town Council requested to pursue were:

  1. Judgments for bad debt on utility accounts
  2. Raising the minimum deposit amount from $125.00 to $150.00
  3. Personal guaranty on business utility accounts
  4. Proof of Income

Town Staff is currently processing the first round of utility accounts to obtain judgments and continues to work to streamline the process. Town Staff will report back to Town Council with an update once judgments have been put in place or additional information is obtained.

Town Staff has recommended several options to include:

  • Requiring a personal guaranty and/or furnishing proof of income should help reduce the Town’s bad debt expense, but will make the utility application process more cumbersome for applicants.There are approximately 2,000 new utility accounts opened each year and approximately 240 are subject to bad debt expense after 5 years. The amount written off during FY2018 was roughly 1% of the dollar value billed.
  • Staff recommends raising the minimum amount of deposit on utility accounts, allowing staff to continue pursuing judgments, and possibly review additional collection options such as the personal guaranty & proof of income after one year.

As you can see in these related stories, the Town Council has been discussing this bad debt issue for some time. Is it now time for action? The proposed code (with changes) is below.

Town of Front Royal to write off more bad debt & update policy

$53,364.65 written off; new policy needed to handle bad debt on utility accounts

Town writes off bad debts

Town Council approved a revision to the Bad Debt Policy in March 2019 and requested to review/approve write-off of bad debt quarterly. Town Council is requested to approve the removal of 5 years or older of outstanding accounts receivable (bad debts) on the Town’s ledger for the second quarter of 2019 totaling $27,755.98 which is comprised of 59 utility accounts. All possible recourse of attempting to collect these amounts has been completed and the accounts have no activity for at least 5 years.

HISTORY: The Town of Front Royal had a large dollar value of uncollectible “bad debt” recorded yearly on the Town’s ledger, due to non-payment of utility bills which had not been addressed for over 30 years until 2012. The Town’s auditing firm, Mitchell & Company, requested that Town Council approve a policy that would allow the Department of Finance to review outstanding uncollectable debt annually, and abate the bad debt from ledgers after all avenues for collection had been exhausted. Town Council adopted a bad debt policy on November 13, 2012 that deemed an uncollectible account as having no activity for a period of 7 years. Town Council adopted a revision to the bad debt policy on March 11, 2019 that deemed an uncollectible account as having no activity for a period of 5 years to coincide with the Code of Virginia.

Code of Virginia § 8.01-246 allows action to be taken to collect on written contracts for a period of 5 (five) years. Written agreements are used for Town of Front Royal Utility Accounts. Based on the Code of Virginia, a Town of Front Royal Utility Account would be deemed uncollectible after there has been no activity from the account holder for a period of 5 (five) consecutive years.

Based on the utilities billed & bad debt written off during FY2018, the Town of Front Royal Department of Finance collected approximately 99% of the amounts billed annually before accounts were deemed uncollectible and written off.

Town Staff has determined that the accounts presented meet the criteria for uncollectible as determined by the Town’s bad debt write off policy:

  1. No activity on closed account for at least 5 years
  2. All other methods of collection have been exhausted

The amount of bad debt approved to be removed by Council is as follows:

  • Dec 2013 – $848,191 – approved for removal
  • Dec 2014 – $144,049 – approved for removal
  • Feb 2016 – $225,318 – approved for removal
  • Feb 2017 – $203,808 – approved for removal
  • Nov 2017 – $175,999 – approved for removal
  • Oct 2018 – $166,191- approved for removal
  • Mar 2019 – $277,974.34 – approved for removal along with revision to policy
  • June 2019 – $27,755.98

The FY19 budgeted revenue for the sales of electric, water, sewer, & refuse totals approximately $30.8 million. The amount of $27,755.98 represents approximately 0.09% of the budgeted sales.

Here is a list of the Utility Account Bad Debt
Balance – Service Address – Final Bill Due Date
680.88 84  – E STRASBURG RD #4 –  3/31/2014
205.63  – 604 EARL CT – 3/13/2014
415.08 – 112 W 16TH ST – 5/31/2014
312.82 – 1318 DIXIE AVE – 5/30/2014
171.26 – 1122 N SHENANDOAH AVE #6 – 5/23/2014
400.34 – 111 W 12TH ST #1 – 3/20/2014
216.37 – 706 W 14TH ST – 4/2/2014
422.72 – 842 W 11TH ST – 4/17/2014
207.44 – 708 W 11TH ST #3 – 3/31/2014
246.19 – 708 W 11TH ST #4 – 3/7/2014
318.61 – 650 E W 11TH ST – 3/21/2014
509.49 – 343 KENDRICK LN #20 – 5/31/2014
214.27 – 1400 MASSANUTTEN AVE #2 – 5/23/2014
301.63 – 122-B N ROYAL AVE – 4/17/2014
240.14 – 21-D W 6TH ST  – 3/7/2014
763.28 – 717 VILLA AVE – 4/22/2014
180.38 – 15 MASSIE ST – 3/7/2014
551.07 – 144 CHESTER ST #1 – 4/17/2014
44.71 – 8-A CHESTER ST – 4/17/2014
670.05 – 190 COMMERCE AVE – 5/23/2014
249.70 – 110 E 4TH ST – 4/17/2014
374.21 – 718 WARREN AVE #3 – 3/21/2014
1504.30 216-B E MAIN ST 4/24/2014
219.18 – 615-A VISCOSE AVE – 7/31/2013
418.60 – 518 W MAIN ST #3 – 4/24/2014
52.77 – 117 E MAIN ST #3 – 8/5/2013
403.30 – 413-A E MAIN ST – 3/7/2014
422.50 – 23 S ROYAL AVE – 3RD FLOOR – 4/30/2014
50.87 – 215 S ROYAL AVE #3 – 9/10/2013
120.72 – 124 W JACKSON ST #6 – 3/24/2014
63.61 – 405 E CRISER RD #204 – 3/20/2014
346.70 – 1084 FOX DR – 5/7/2014
326.83 – 19 SHENANDOAH COMMONS WAY #103 – 4/24/2014
139.26 – 17 SHENANDOAH COMMONS WAY #201 – 9/27/2013
224.74 – 13 SHENANDOAH COMMONS WAY #103 – 3/31/2014
586.40 – 634 BEL AIR AVE – 5/23/2014
492.39 – 425 BEL AIR AVE – 4/30/2014
1173.34 – 519 BEL AIR AVE – 5/23/2014
604.67 – 1433 HAPPY CREEK RD – 3/31/2014
84.19 – 541 S ROYAL AVE POOL/OFFICE – 11/28/2013
529.27 – 227 CHURCH ST #3 – 4/30/2014
247.06 – 315 PINE ST – 5/1/2013
4466.22 – 226 CHURCH ST – 2/13/2014
755.37 – 219 CLOUD ST #2 – 3/31/2014
1054.78 – 219 CLOUD ST #4 – 4/24/2014
72.49  – 320 CLOUD ST #3 – 4/14/2014
1024.16 – 320 CLOUD ST #5 – 3/17/2014
202.07 – 10 HIGH ST #1 – 4/14/2014
423.26 – 212 FLETCHER ST – 5/28/2014
152.05 – 322 RITENOUR ST – 3/7/2014
531.84 – 337 RITENOUR ST – 4/22/2014
854.11 – 101 PINECREST ST – 5/10/2013
178.54 – 27 ROYAL LN #3 – 4/2/2014
86.69 – 61 ROYAL LN #1 – 5/16/2014
338.63 – 125 BIGGS DR #8 – 5/23/2014
511.77 – 1443 JOHN MARSHALL HWY #5 – 4/2/2014
863.22 – 2 LAKE AVE – 4/30/2014
82.24 – 205 POLK AVE – 3/13/2014
451.57 – 209 POLK AVE – 3/13/2014
TOTAL $27755.98

This is the proposed code to Town of Front Royal Municipal Code 134-71 related to the remaining four items listed above.

134-71 UTILITY ACCOUNTS-PAYMENTS/TERMINATION OF SERVICE

A. DEPOSIT:
1. Amount: For an existing residential service location, the deposit required for Town utility services shall be an amount equal to the highest monthly bill for that location during the preceding twelve months or one hundred and  fifty dollars ($150.00), whichever is greater.

For an existing commercial service location, the deposit required for Town utility services shall be an amount equal to the highest monthly bill for that location during the preceding twelve months or two hundred dollars ($200.00), whichever is greater.

To calculate the amount of the deposit for newly established residential or commercial service locations, the Front Royal Department of Finance shall establish the deposit at an amount equal to the customer’s anticipated monthly usage of water and electric service, as may be the case.

If, at any time, the customer’s deposit is waived or returned, as set forth below, but the customer’s service subsequently is terminated for nonpayment or the customer has made four late payments during any twelve month period, a deposit, in an amount as set forth above, shall be required.

2. Deposit Waiver: Notwithstanding the foregoing, no deposit shall be required hen an acceptable credit history is furnished by the customer from a previous utility provider. Acceptable credit history is defined as a customer who can demonstrate that during the previous twelve months his bills were paid with no more than four (4) late payments on a monthly billing system or no more than two (2) late payments on a bimonthly system.

3. Payment of Deposit: Payment of the deposit is due upon execution of the service work order. In lieu of the foregoing, when the required deposit for a residential customer exceeds one hundred dollars ($100.00) but is less than two hundred dollars ($200.00), the customer may elect to pay one hundred dollars ($100.00) at the time the work order is executed and pay the balance of the deposit along with payment for the first month’s service. When the required deposit exceeds two hundred dollars ($200.00), the deposit may be paid in two equal installments with one half due when the work order is signed and pay the remaining half along with the payment for the first month’s service.

4. Interest and Refunds: Deposits shall be held in an interest-bearing account. Deposit plus interest shall be refunded either: (1) upon termination of the service account in an amount equal to the deposit and accrued interest minus any amount deducted to satisfy customer arrearages or other debts owing to the Town; or (2) upon the customer’s request after a period of twelve months of service during which there were no more than four delinquent payments. Upon request of a refund, the Director of Finance shall first ensure that customer does not have any debts owing to the Town. If the customer is indebted to the Town, the Director of Finance will apply any refund toward satisfaction of these debts prior to the refund of any money to the customer.

B. PAYMENTS:
1. Due Date – Fines and Charges: All payments for water, sewer, electric, and garbage collection services shall be due within 20 days of the date of billing. Accounts, for which full payment is  not received within 20 days, are delinquent. A late charge of 2% of the delinquent bill immediately shall be charged to the delinquent account. If the account remains delinquent for 10 days after  the original notice, an additional service charge of $10.00 shall be charged. Finally, a service charge will be required to reconnect service that has been discontinued due to non-payment. If the reconnection occurs during normal business hours, the reconnection fee shall be $20.00-first reconnection fee; $30.00-second reconnection fee; $40.00-third reconnection fee; $50.00- reconnection fee for all other times.

2. Allocation of Payments: During a delinquency in the payment for any service (electric, water, sewerage, or garbage collection) any subsequent payment received for services will be applied first against the most delinquent account which is not subject to a defense of any applicable statute of limitations.

3. Budget Billing: Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Director of Finance, in his discretion, may enter into agreements with customers for alternative billing and payment schedules with persons on fixed or limited incomes.

C. TERMINATION OF SERVICES:
1. Notice: The Director of Finance shall notify the customer in writing of all 20 day delinquencies, imminent service termination, and right to contest as set forth below. Notice also shall be posted on the door of the premise with the delinquent account.

2. Protest: The customer may contest the bill by contacting the Director of Finance for the Town of Front Royal who will immediately schedule a hearing on the customer’s claim that his account is not delinquent.

3. Disconnection of Service: If the matter is not successfully contested by the customer and arrearages remain 10 days after the date of the aforementioned notices, water service shall be disconnected. If the account remains delinquent after another 2 days, electric service shall be disconnected. If, however, the customer has not secured water service, electric service (rather than water) will be disconnected after 10 days. Notwithstanding the foregoing, no services shall be disconnected prior to a requested hearing.

4. Persons in Poor Health: Customer may seek an additional 30 days before water and electric services are disconnected if the Director of the Warren County Health Department certifies in writing to the Town of Front Royal Director of Finance that the customer has a serious medical condition or the customer resides with a family member with a serious medical condition. Upon providing certification the service termination may be delayed twice within a 12-month period, but may not be consecutive, certification shall be valid for period of 365 days.

5. Conditions for Reconnection of Service: Once disconnected, services shall not be restored to that customer until the outstanding balance (service fee(s), penalty, and reconnection fee(s))  for that service location is paid in full, unless the Director of Finance has approved other arrangements for payment in full.

D. RETURNED CHECK POLICY: If a check is returned to the Town for any reason, the Director of Finance shall notify, in the same manner as provided above, the Customer. If payment, in full, plus a $35.00 service charge is not received by the close of business three days after the date on the notice, all utility services to the customer’s service location shall be disconnected. If the customer presents the Town with more than two bad checks during any twelve month payment, payment by check will no longer be accepted.

E. BUSINESS ACCOUNTS. The Town shall require any entity not a natural person requesting a utility account to either: (1) provide the written personal guaranty of payment from a natural
person holding an ownership interest in the entity or, (2) pay an additional deposit amount equal to the greater of: (a) twice the average monthly utility bill during the preceding twelve (12) month period for utilities provided at the service location or, (b) $375.00. Any additional deposit paid pursuant to (2), above, after applying same to any past due balances, shall be refunded to the entity within a reasonable time after the utility account is closed.

F. PROOF OF INCOME. Customer shall furnish Town with documentation necessary to verify source of income to prove ability to pay average monthly utility bill for that location for the preceding 12 month period; such proof may include, pay stub, bank statement, copy of last year’s federal tax return, wages and tax statement (W-2 and/or 1099’s), pension payment, social security payment, child/spousal support agreement, and/or other documentation deemed acceptable.

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Upcoming Events

Jun
17
Mon
10:00 am Design a chair for the SPCA CHAI... @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
Design a chair for the SPCA CHAI... @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
Jun 17 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Design a chair for the SPCA CHAIR-ity Brunch @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
Calling all artists!! Design a chair for the SPCA CHAIR-ity Brunch and save homeless animals. Pick up a chair from the SPCA Thrift Shop, build a chair, up-cycle a chair, paint a chair, or upholster[...]
10:00 am Summer Art Week – Session 1 @ Art in the Valley
Summer Art Week – Session 1 @ Art in the Valley
Jun 17 @ 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
Summer Art Week - Session 1 @ Art in the Valley
Summer Art Week for children is designed for students who love art and want to go beyond what they have experienced in the school setting, while meeting the Virginia Standards of Art. Recommended ages for[...]
Jun
18
Tue
10:00 am Summer Art Week – Session 1 @ Art in the Valley
Summer Art Week – Session 1 @ Art in the Valley
Jun 18 @ 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
Summer Art Week - Session 1 @ Art in the Valley
Summer Art Week for children is designed for students who love art and want to go beyond what they have experienced in the school setting, while meeting the Virginia Standards of Art. Recommended ages for[...]
Jun
19
Wed
10:00 am Summer Art Week – Session 1 @ Art in the Valley
Summer Art Week – Session 1 @ Art in the Valley
Jun 19 @ 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
Summer Art Week - Session 1 @ Art in the Valley
Summer Art Week for children is designed for students who love art and want to go beyond what they have experienced in the school setting, while meeting the Virginia Standards of Art. Recommended ages for[...]
Jun
20
Thu
10:00 am Summer Art Week – Session 1 @ Art in the Valley
Summer Art Week – Session 1 @ Art in the Valley
Jun 20 @ 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
Summer Art Week - Session 1 @ Art in the Valley
Summer Art Week for children is designed for students who love art and want to go beyond what they have experienced in the school setting, while meeting the Virginia Standards of Art. Recommended ages for[...]
5:00 pm Annual Wine Pull @ Blue Wing Frog
Annual Wine Pull @ Blue Wing Frog
Jun 20 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Annual Wine Pull @ Blue Wing Frog
5th Annual Wine Pull | Thursday June 20, 2019 | 5:00 – 7:00pm | Blue Wing Frog, 219 Chester Street. Tickets: $40.00 – Includes food, glass of wine, and a bottle of wine or wine[...]
Jun
21
Fri
10:00 am Summer Art Week – Session 1 @ Art in the Valley
Summer Art Week – Session 1 @ Art in the Valley
Jun 21 @ 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
Summer Art Week - Session 1 @ Art in the Valley
Summer Art Week for children is designed for students who love art and want to go beyond what they have experienced in the school setting, while meeting the Virginia Standards of Art. Recommended ages for[...]
Jun
22
Sat
9:30 am Acrylic Pour Workshop – Level 1 @ Art in the Valley
Acrylic Pour Workshop – Level 1 @ Art in the Valley
Jun 22 @ 9:30 am – 12:00 pm
Acrylic Pour Workshop - Level 1 @ Art in the Valley
Learn the process and art of acrylic pouring with artist and instructor Jan Settle. You’ll have a fun & exciting experience creating your own original masterpieces in this workshop! Learn how to manipulate paint &[...]
1:00 pm Meet the Author: NP Haley @ Royal Oak Bookshop
Meet the Author: NP Haley @ Royal Oak Bookshop
Jun 22 @ 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Meet the Author: NP Haley @ Royal Oak Bookshop
Lily and the Ghost of Michael Thorne By local author, NP Haley Feeling someone or something looking at her, Lily peered into the shrouded forest and buildings surrounding the alley. Blinking rapidly to make sure[...]
7:30 pm Middle School Pool Party @ Claude A. Stokes Community Swimming Pool
Middle School Pool Party @ Claude A. Stokes Community Swimming Pool
Jun 22 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Middle School Pool Party @ Claude A. Stokes Community Swimming Pool
Middle School Pool Party! FREE to all Warren County students who will be in the 6th-8th grades for the 2019-2020 school year. Event will take place at Claude A. Stokes Community Swimming Pool on June[...]