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Supervisors OK audit of County’s most-recent financials without EDA info



“I contend that you folks cannot approve the 2017-2018 audit as it’s currently written,” said Jim Bond during the public comment period at the start of the BOS October 15 meeting. Photo and video by Mike McCool, Royal Examiner.

The Warren County Board of Supervisors (BOS) on Tuesday unanimously approved the County’s fiscal year (FY) 2017-2018 financial audit, despite a public plea to hold off on action until an audit of the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority’s (EDA) financials also could be included.

But information on the EDA’s financials — which currently are at the center of a major fraud and embezzlement scandal — may not be available until the end of the year.

The audit is of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the County of Warren for the Fiscal Year ended June 30, 2018, which was prepared by Warren County Administrator Doug Stanley and the County’s Finance Department. The audit of the report was conducted by Robinson, Farmer, Cox Associates, which is the County’s auditing firm.

Stanley, the entire BOS, and several other local individuals were indicted on September 20 by the Warren County Special Grand Jury that’s investigating potential criminality related to the EDA financial fraud investigation and civil litigation.

One Front Royal, Va., resident took issue with that fact.

“I contend that you folks cannot approve the 2017-2018 audit as it’s currently written,” said Jim Bond during the public comment period at the start of the BOS October 15 meeting. “I think that there is a well-known material witness in the internal controls of Warren County and that needs to be recognized in the audit report. In the unlikely event that you get a clean audit report on the EDA between now and the time you approve this audit, you might have an argument. Otherwise you can’t approve it.”

Stanley and members of the BOS attempted to provide some clarity.

“As you know, we had been holding off [audit approval] pending a receipt of the EDA’s audit for the same time period,” Stanley told BOS members during the unfinished business portion of their meeting. “The EDA audit is a component unit of our audit. I reject the assertion that the county’s controls aren’t in place. The county’s processes and controls that are under the finance director and the treasurer are in place.”

For instance, as preparers of the County’s annual financial report, the Finance Department has responsibility for establishing and maintaining an internal control structure to ensure that the County’s assets are protected, according to a Dec. 21 2018 letter written by Stanley and County Finance Director Andre Fletcher that’s included in the report.

County Finance Director Andre Fletcher explains that County has safeguards in place.

“In developing and evaluating the County’s accounting system, consideration is given to the adequacy of internal accounting controls, which are designed to provide reasonable, but not absolute, assurance regarding: (1) the safeguarding of assets against loss from unauthorized use or disposition; and (2) the reliability of financial records for preparing financial statement and maintaining accountability for assets,” Stanley and Fletcher wrote.

Additionally, the County also has budgetary controls in place to ensure compliance with provisions in the annual appropriated budget that’s approved by the BOS, and “adequate controls” also exist to guarantee and document the County’s compliance with federal and state laws and regulations, according to their letter.

“Responsibility for both the accuracy of the presented data and the completeness and fairness of the presentation, including all disclosures, rests with the County,” Stanley and Fletcher wrote. “We believe the data, as presented, is accurate in all material respects.”

While BOS members received a copy of the audit just a few days prior to their Tuesday night meeting, Stanley said, “Hopefully, you’ve had time to digest it.”

“At the end of the day, the audit is what it is,” Stanley said. “It’s a statement of our finances as of June 30, 2018.”

Seemingly to support Stanley’s statement, BOS Chairman Daniel Murray read a portion of the audit known as a “disclaimer of opinion,” in which the auditing firm basically said that since it couldn’t obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence from other auditors on the EDA, it didn’t provide an opinion on the authority’s financial statements in its audit of the County’s financials.

“So, I hope that clears up some concerns,” Murray told the audience.

Supervisor Tom Sayre, vice chairman of the BOS, pointed out that the independent auditors also reported the County’s financials to be “neutral, consistent and clear.” And he asked Stanley to explain in laymen’s terms how the EDA budget held up the audit of the County’s FY 2017-18 financials.

Stanley said the EDA isn’t technically part of the County’s budget operations, per se, “it is a separate discrete unit,” although the County does fund a portion of its operations.

Supervisor Tony Carter asked Stanley what happens when the EDA auditors come back with their report, and Stanley said that that information would be included in next year’s audit.

“We wouldn’t come back and amend this one,” said Stanley.

Sayre motioned to accept the audit and Supervisor Linda Glavis seconded it before the full board approved the audit as presented.

Watch the discussion on this exclusive Royal Examiner video:

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Local Government

Citizen militia debate rejoined at Tuesday County Board meeting



During the second Public Comments portion of the meeting, the debate over the advisability of Warren County passing resolutions authorizing enactment of an armed citizen militia was revisited. The first four of six speakers divided evenly on the topic.

College student Sarah Downs and Paul Gabbert came down against, with Dusty Lipinski and Craig Anderson calling for County action authorizing what they feel is a citizen right inherent in both the U.S. and Virginia Constitutions.

Downs, a student of political ideology at Shenandoah University, first thanked Chairman Walter Mabe for his caution in approaching a previous request the board authorize a citizen militia in Warren County. She then expressed fear of what she called a historical tendency for such militias “to assimilate and acclimate to a certain political ideology that usually identifies with an extreme” philosophy, be it of the left or right politically.

Sarah Downs expressed fear of what she called a historical tendency for such militias “to assimilate and acclimate to a certain political ideology that usually identifies with an extreme” philosophy, be it of the left or right politically. Photos and video by Mark Williams, Royal Examiner.

She called for a trust in law enforcement “to do their job in protecting all rights within our county”, adding a call that “all gun holders are protected through the support of local law enforcement providing educational and training classes”, as well as “the enforcement of laws that protect all citizens, especially those most vulnerable to violence of any type, like children, women and those who fall into a minority group”.

Following Downs to the podium, Lipinski attempted to distance current militias from the “previous image” of extremism that Downs referenced. He said such local protections are needed because “the government in Richmond is going to pass laws anyway” that 2nd Amendment advocates see as unconstitutional infringements on their right to own firearms without legal restrictions of any kind.

Local enabling of citizen militias would offer citizens “further protections against any further unconstitutional laws” passed in Richmond Lipinski told the board.

Dusty Lipinski

Second Amendment advocates in Virginia have upped their alarm over what they believe are unconstitutional gun control bills on the table in the state general assembly since Democrats last year took their first majority in both houses since 1996. In fact, Tuesday was the final day of a five-day State of Emergency declared by Democratic Governor Ralph Northam in reaction to law enforcement intelligence and FBI arrests of seven members of a radical, racist, anti-government neo-Nazi group known as The Base last week.

At least some of those Base members arrested were believed to be planning to attend an annual gun rights rally on Monday, January 20, at the State Capitol in an effort to turn the demonstration into a violent, politically destabilizing one.

Next up was Gabbert, who told County officials, “I’m not looking to take guns away from people,” but adding, “We don’t need a militia – ever.”

He said he worried that militia members called to duty by local laws would be legally immune to prosecution if they killed someone during that deployment.

Gabbert also disputed a speaker from an earlier board meeting who called gun ownership “a God given right”.

“No, the only God given right is you obey the 10 Commandments and you get to heaven. The rest are government given rights,” Gabbert observed.

Paul Gabbert

Noting that he had lost a brother to a shot from a .22 caliber gun, Gabbert also questioned a previous meeting 2nd Amendment advocate’s contention that modern, semi-automatic assault weapons were “no different than a .22”

Final guns debate speaker Anderson said he had been at the Richmond gun rally the previous day and assured the Warren supervisors that the armed demonstrators who did show up across the street from the State Capitol grounds were “loved” by the on-duty police, one of with whom Anderson said he joked, “When are we going to tar and feather that …” – a possible reference to Democratic Governor Northam.

“What better way to honor Martin Luther King,” Anderson asked, than to have a pro-gun rights rally on his birthday. His point seeming to be that King wasn’t allowed to possess a gun or have a conceal-carry permit during his lifetime, and if he had one, perhaps he wouldn’t have been killed at long range by James Earl Ray utilizing a sniper’s rifle.

Anderson predicted that Democratic leadership and their soft stance on illegal aliens would mark an end to Constitutional law and freely elected presidents within the U.S. He also broached the possibility that the Shenandoah Valley and other parts of the state might be able to leave a Democratically-controlled Virginia to become part of West Virginia in order to avoid what he called “intolerable restrictions on the 2nd Amendment – I won’t mention all the other Amendments that are going to be violated … and this isn’t all just some pipe dream,” he told the Warren supervisors.

Craig Anderson

Anderson also expressed disappointment in a recent conversation with Warren County Sheriff Mark Butler, whom Anderson said, told him law enforcement was the American militia in the modern world.

Of the potential of red flag laws being passed by the state legislature and enforced locally, Anderson added, “Those red flag laws should terrorize everybody – you can be prosecuted if anybody doesn’t like you; your weapons are seized and you have to prove you are innocent.”

And so the debate rages over conflicting political and philosophical perceptions of gun rights versus the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness were you to be on the wrong side of the next mass shooting in Virginia or the nation.

See the above speakers’ full remarks, as well as additional public comments speakers Greg Harold and Harold Baggarly, between whom there was some confusion when Chairman Mabe called Harold’s name to speak, in the linked Royal Examiner video:

To avoid confusion, above Greg Harold; below Harold Baggarly

Commentary: Can’t we do better than this? – State of Emergency as armed protesters head for Richmond

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Supervisors delay vote on VDOT-aided road improvement projects



Citing budgetary concerns in the coming fiscal year and a desire not to raise taxes to meet budgetary commitments, a majority of the Warren County Board of Supervisors urged delay of a vote approving a VDOT-requested Resolution committing the County’s contribution to preliminary engineering, right of way acquisition and construction costs on seven projects through the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Revenue Sharing Program.

While the vote was unanimous to table the matter to the February 4 meeting, it appeared that non-first term members Archie Fox and Tony Carter concurred only because it did not appear a two-week delay approving the Resolution would jeopardize VDOT’s matching contribution on road improvement projects on the table for several years.

The fact the County’s share of the dollar-for-dollar state match totaled $753,312.50 was too much for the three newly-seated supervisors without further information on, not only road improvement expenses, but other anticipated funding needs in the coming budget cycle. It appeared the three newly-elected supervisors were firmly committed to avoiding any tax increase to balance the coming FY 2021 budget.

The staff summary of the agenda item noted that the County already has $411,220 set aside in “special projects” for the revenue sharing program; and anticipated having another $100,000 in carryover from the current budget for the program which often spans several budget cycles.

Deputy County Administrator Bob Childress, himself a former VDOT employee, explains the year-to-year logistics of the state-local revenue sharing program on road improvements approved by previous boards. Photo and video by Mark Williams, Royal Examiner.

“To complete payment of the remaining share of the projects would require less than $250,000 moving forward,” staff wrote in the agenda summary of committing County revenue to what would be a total revenue input of $1.5 million toward VDOT eligible projects in the county.

However, without departmental, outside agency and other FY 2021 budget aspects yet on the table, Supervisors Mabe, Cullers and Oates were reluctant to forward commitment of all or part of the three quarters of a million-dollar-plus county half of that money to road infrastructure improvements.

Impacted projects include the Cauthorn Mill Road Rural Rustic Project; Old Oak Lane, Phase IV Rural Addition Project (Shenandoah Farms Sanitary District); Youngs Drive, Phase II (Shenandoah Farms); Rockland Road grade-separated (railroad) crossing; Grove Farm Road – Rural Addition Priority # 6 (Fairfield Acres Subdivision); Blue Valley Road, Phase I, Rural Addition Priority # 7 (Linden Heights Sanitary District); and Old Oak Lane, Phase V – Rural Addition Priority # 8 (Shenandoah Farms).

Cullers said she was willing to move forward with approval of the Rockland Road project, noting that $710,000 in BUILD Grant/SmartScale funding appeared to have been secured – “I haven’t totally lost my mind up here,” Cullers observed of not looking a gift horse in the mouth.

During the discussion it was explained that in Sanitary District projects, VDOT paid 50%, the County 25%, and the Sanitary District taxpayers 25%.

See the discussion in this exclusive Royal Examiner video:

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Supervisors deny EDA request for dismissed charges legal fees – for now



On Tuesday, January 21, the Warren County Board of Supervisors denied the current EDA Board of Director’s request that four past and three current members be compensated for their legal fees related to three misdemeanor criminal indictments brought by the Special Grand Jury empaneled to explore potential criminality tied to the EDA financial scandal and consequent civil litigation.

EDA Board Chairman Ed Daley responded to questions about the EDA legal fee request and general financial situation prior to Tuesday’s vote. Photos and video by Mark Williams, Royal Examiner.

The charges for unintentional misfeasance and nonfeasance in the conduct of their public offices were brought against the entire previous board of supervisors, County Administrator Doug Stanley and former County and EDA Attorney Dan Whitten, as well as the seven past and current EDA board members. After the charges were dismissed against all defendants as not crimes by statute or even English Common Law upon which Virginia law is based, the previous County board voted to reimburse its members and staff’s legal expenses, with only ousted Shenandoah District Supervisor Tom Sayre dissenting.

North River Supervisor Delores Oates, who made the motion not to approve the request, qualified it with the disclaimer “not at this time with the information we have at this time”. Oates said she did not feel comfortable committing county taxpayer funds to the EDA legal expenses without more information.

EDA Board of Directors leave Tuesday night’s meeting after the vote not to cover seven past and current members legal fees related to dismissed misdemeanor charges.

Oates, along with Board Chairman Walter Mabe and Vice-Chair Cheryl Cullers, the latter who seconded the motion not to approve the legal restitution for now, have been frequent attendees at EDA Board of Directors meeting in recent months. All have expressed a desire to work with the existing board to try and right the EDA’s financial ship from past mistakes or allegedly criminal activities orchestrated by former EDA executive director, Jennifer McDonald. McDonald currently faces 34 felony criminal indictments by the EDA Special Grand Jury related to the EDA financial investigative audit and civil litigation.

“It would be ludicrous for us to turn our backs on our EDA,” Board Chairman Mabe recently stated, in stark contrast to the Front Royal Town Council’s increasingly hostile and litigious stance against the Town-County EDA. Discussion of the Town and County roles in support, or a lack thereof, of the current EDA should make for interesting agenda item discussion at Thursday’s scheduled Town-County Liaison Meeting.

Happy Creek Supervisor Tony Carter argued for the reimbursement, at least partially, noting that the EDA board had agreed to pay the requested total of $36,827.17 back when it was financially able – “though that might not be for a while,” Carter observed.

Tony Carter suggested a middle ground, partial coverage of EDA legal fees with the promise that money will eventually be paid back when the EDA again becomes solvent, perhaps when the Town pays its $8-million plus bill on the FRPD headquarters construction project financed by the EDA.

Carter suggested perhaps capping the EDA board compensation at $4,000 per member since questions have been raised about the disparity in some legal fees, compared to others. Former EDA Board Chairman Greg Drescher’s legal bill was $10,000, twice that of the next highest amount of $5,000 submitted by long-time former EDA Board Treasurer William “Billy” Biggs. Other EDA legal fee totals ranged from $4809.17 (Patteson) to $3,000 (Drummond).

Carter suggested postponing a vote, rather than denying the request due to the timeframe around reintroducing failed motions – one year. However, Acting County Attorney Jason Ham verified that a supervisor voting with the majority denying a motion, or in this case approving a motion to deny the request, could reintroduce the defeated initiative at any time.

Consequently, Carter voted with Oates, Cullers and Mabe to deny the request, leaving only Archie Fox voting against the denial.

Watch the discussion on this exclusive Royal Examiner video:

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Due diligence rather than mistrust of staff led to split vote on County bills



That a change of perspective has come to the Warren County Board of Supervisors was reflected in the second meeting with the three-person board majority seated with the new year in the fiscal, among other saddles, on Tuesday, January 21st.

After a lengthy discussion of what would normally be considered routine business – approval of payment of accounts due, the board narrowly agreed to pay its bills on schedule when Board Chairman and new Shenandoah District Supervisor Walter Mabe voted with the two carryover supervisors, Archie Fox and Tony Carter, to approve those payments.

“I’m not one to not pay a bill, but I try every day to see that every bill we pay is legitimate … and that the County is run efficiently,” Mabe said in prefacing his vote to pay vendors for services performed, the Town for utility bills due, and myriad vehicle maintenance, staff and other expenditures listed in the 87-page accounts payable document. Photos and video by Mark Williams, Royal Examiner.

However, his fellow newly-elected supervisors, Vice-Chair Cheryl Cullers and Delores Oates voted against keeping the County current on its bills without more time to verify that they were all legitimate expenses.

Vice-Chair Cheryl Cullers and Delores Oates voted against keeping the County current on its bills without more time to verify that they were all legitimate expenses.

After Cullers said she had red-lined a number of items for explanation by staff, Carter suggested she forward those questions to administrative staff prior to meetings to avoid such a last-minute reluctance to pay monthly, or in this case two months, of bills coming due. Cullers responded that there had been two holidays creating a 4-day weekend after she picked the agenda packet up late Thursday afternoon, minimizing the time staff was in office to respond to questions.

County Administrator Doug Stanley said he, the finance director or department heads from whom the billing documents are generated, could generally answer any questions board members might have on accounts payable.

The trio of newly elected supervisors all campaigned on reform of business as usual platforms in reaction to public outrage over the $21.3 million Economic Development Authority (EDA) scandal and alleged embezzlements. And with a number of public, not to mention not-quite-private, comments offered Tuesday night illustrating suspicions that some County administrative staff, as well as past County and EDA board members may have been negligent, if not worse in allowing the EDA financial scandal to develop over several years, we wondered if distrust of staff led to Cullers and Oates votes against approving the accounts payable agenda item Tuesday.

Reached the following day, they said no. In fact, Cullers and Oates both said they were not initially aware a vote against approval that night would delay scheduled payments being made the following day.

“We’re on a learning curve and with the long weekend I did my due diligence going over the payments line by line,” Cullers said, adding, “It’s not that I was suspicious, it was I didn’t understand certain line items. And when I campaigned, I said I wasn’t going to be a bobble-head in approving things if I did not understand them. I don’t want to hold up anybody’s check. I didn’t campaign to be elected to give a negative impression of Warren County. And I don’t want anybody to think I thought anybody on our staff did anything wrong.”

Oates concurred.

“I didn’t want to rubber stamp something without scrutinizing it. It was not really a distrust. It’s our responsibility to understand where the money is going. We owe it to the taxpayers to make our government more transparent and accountable,” the North River District supervisor said.

Stanley later explained to Royal Examiner that January is the one time each year where the board gets accounts due payable in two months, December when there is only one board meeting due to the holidays, and January. Stanley gave us monthly totals for December and January that were elusive among the 47 and 45 pages of bills, respectively. Those totals were $2,928,773.92 for December and $2,719,279.46 for January.

So, if some of their constituents may be prone to as yet-unsubstantiated theories of public official collusion with a “good, ole boy” network at an as-yet-undiscovered back end of the EDA financial scandal, Oates and Cullers prefer to see their questions and care as simple due diligence in the expenditure of taxpayer money in jobs they are still adjusting to. And it is a first month adjustment period during which they were exposed to their initial Accounts Payable agenda item at a two-month total of over $5.6 million.

Watch the discussion on this exclusive Royal Examiner video:

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Work session: Town reviews inclement weather policy, new Sheetz project



FRONT ROYAL — Following a closed session to interview town manager candidates, members of the Front Royal Town Council during their January 21 work session reviewed proposed changes to the Town’s inclement weather policy, as well as a new Sheetz Inc. project, signs at the new hospital on Leach Run Parkway, and a water-sewer connection fees waiver request from a local nonprofit.

In an intersection improvements agenda item brought before the Town Council by Front Royal Planning and Zoning Director Jeremy Camp, it was recommended that the Town accept a donation of funds from Sheetz and approve the company’s planned store and gas station project, which will be built on the site of the shuttered Shenandoah Motel.

Sheetz has purchased the motel lot where it will build and this summer open a station with 10 fuel pumps and a roughly 4,900-square-feet store, along with parking, landscaping and an underground stormwater management facility.

A full entrance has been proposed on N. Shenandoah Avenue and W. 17th Street for the Sheetz store and gas station project, which recently received approval from the Front Royal Planning Commission.

However, planning commission members expressed concerns during the site plan review process about general traffic congestion, as well as the narrowness of the intersection on W. 17th Street.

In response, Sheetz has offered to pick up 100 percent of the tab by donating a total of $23,322 to the Town to add a slip-lane that would improve the level of service of the intersection by separating right-turn movement from left-turn movement, said Camp, who also included a draft cash escrow agreement between Sheetz and the Town in the agenda packet.

“The purpose of this agenda item is to present this to Town Council to determine if it would like to accept the funds and complete the project,” Camp explained during the work session. “Per the offer from Sheetz, the improvements would need to be completed with two years.” Photos and video by Mike McCool, Royal Examiner.

After Town Councilmen William Sealock and Gary Gillispie noted their own concerns about the project’s start date and the subsequent impact on traffic, Town Mayor Eugene Tewalt told Interim Town Manager Matthew Tederick to place the item on the Town Council’s next consent agenda for action so that the project can get going.

Camp also presented another work session agenda item regarding a Town Code amendment request from Valley Health, which has submitted an application for an ordinance amendment to the Town’s sign regulations, primarily for public safety.

The Town’s planning commission previously reviewed the Valley Health request, held a public hearing, and then approved it.

Specifically, Valley Health’s requested amendment would change existing Town Code regulations to define what a medical center is and modify existing standards.

For example, the maximum sign size requirement would change from a maximum sign size of 60-square-feet to 200-square-feet for wall signs; to 150-square-feet for public ground-mounted signs; and to 75-square-feet for private ground-mounted signs, according to the work session agenda form.

Camp said that such standards are comparable with the standards that Valley Health uses at other new hospital facilities, such as the one in Winchester, Va. And the changes would apply only to medical centers that include medical facilities as part of an integrated development on at least two acres, he said.

Town staff, which does not object to the planning commission’s approval recommendation, on Tuesday recommended that Town Council hold a required public hearing along with a first and second reading for a Town Code amendment.

In another work session agenda item, Tederick discussed changes to the Town’s inclement weather policy for council members to consider.

Tederick said he’s “trying to change the culture” among Town employees, and he said he considers all employees to be “essential employees.”

Thus, the interim mayor provided policy and procedures outlining the responsibilities of essential and non-essential employees — to be referred to as Tier 1 and Tier 2 employees, respectively — during inclement weather.

Tier 1 Employees are those whose job functions require that he/she report to work, regardless of environmental factors, to provide essential services to the public, or provide direct leadership or support, according to Tederick’s outline. These employees would be in a department that typically operates on a 24-hour-a-day rotating schedule or would play a critical role in maintaining the safety and services of the Town.

Tier 2 Employees are those whose job functions are not considered critical for maintaining the safety and services to the Town, and who are not required to report to work during an inclement weather event.

Tederick then described procedures for employees, as well as their pay, when Town offices are open and when there’s a closure or delayed opening.

For example, Tier 1 employees who don’t report to work as scheduled during inclement weather conditions will not be paid, he said, nor granted the use of accumulated leave for time missed from work. Such employees also could be subject to disciplinary action.

It’s also important to note, Tederick said, that employees on vacation, sick, or personal leave, or otherwise not scheduled to work during the affected time period, are not eligible to be paid under this policy.

The other work session agenda item was a request from Habitat for Humanity of Warren County for the Town to waive the water and sewer tap fees totaling $15,068 for a new duplex at the corner of Brown Avenue and Cherrydale Avenue.

The nonprofit organization, which provides affordable homes for area families in the median income range who can’t qualify for conventional bank mortgages, relies heavily on donors and volunteers to construct homes, according to Jessica Priest-Cahill, executive director of the local Habitat for Humanity.

“Receiving this waiver will help lower the mortgage payment which will make the home more affordable for the chosen family,” Priest-Cahill wrote in a January 3 request sent to Tederick.
However, instead of issuing the waiver of the tap fees, Tederick recommended to Town Council members that an agreement be made with the property owners to place a lien on the duplex for the water and sewer connection fees.

Tederick cited a similar agreement executed in 2014 between the Town, Habitat for Humanity and a Cannon Street property owner for a waiver of planning permit fees and a waiver for the water and sewer connection fees, according to information Tederick provided to council members on Tuesday night.

Lastly, Front Royal Director of Finance B.J. Wilson presented the fiscal year (FY) 2021 revenue forecast for the Town, summarizing totals from taxes for real estate, personal property, bank stock, sales, lodging, communication, and meals, for instance, as well as expected revenue from water and sewer sales, among others.

Front Royal Director of Finance B.J. Wilson presented the fiscal year (FY) 2021 revenue forecast for the Town.

Wilson said for FY 2021, the total projected Town revenue is $42,128,597. This would be an increase over both the projected FY 2020 revenue total of $41,586,920 and the actual FY 2019 revenue of $40,814,872, said Wilson.

Councilman Jacob Meza was absent during the January 21 work session, which was attended by Mayor Tewalt; Vice Mayor Sealock; and council members Gillispie, Chris Holloway, Letasha Thompson, and Lori Cockrell.

The Town Council’s next regular meeting is scheduled for January 27 and the council has another work session planned for February 3.

Watch the entire Town Council work session on this exclusive Royal Examiner video:

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Cockrell sworn in to Town Council among family and friends



It was a family affair as Lori Athey Cockrell was sworn in to fill the unexpired town council term of newly-elected Mayor Eugene Tewalt on Tuesday afternoon, January 21, in Warren County Courthouse Circuit Courtroom B.

Present was a large contingent of family and friends, including brother Clay Athey who preceded her on council prior to his election to the Virginia House of Delegates and subsequent judicial appointments. Sister Kim, also a judge after a career like Clay as an attorney, was stuck in traffic on the way from Richmond.

Administering Cockrell’s oath of office was niece Sarah Jackson, a deputy clerk in the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office, as Cockrell’s great niece and Jackson’s daughter Saige, 6, held the Bible upon which the new councilman swore her oath with husband Ricky by her side. During the interview process Cockrell told the media she was poised to retire from her career in county public education and would have the time to devote to the duties of elected office in her hometown. She will face election to hold her appointed seat next November.

The swearing in took place at about 5:15 p.m., giving Cockrell less than two hours to adjust to her role as more than a citizen observer and councilperson-elect at a scheduled 7 p.m. work session.

A family affair: Lori A. Cockrell is sworn in by niece and Deputy Clerk Sarah Jackson as great niece Saige Jackson holds Bible and husband Ricky looks on. Royal Examiner Photos/Roger Bianchini

It was all smiles following the swearing in ceremony.

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Feb 1 @ 10:00 am – 11:30 am
Books and Barks @ Samuels Public Library
Come to our extremely popular monthly program that gives developing readers the chance to read and relax with a trained therapy dog.  For beginning readers and up.  Choose a time slot at registration, which begins[...]
11:00 am HSWC Polar Plunge @ Northern Virginia 4-H Center
HSWC Polar Plunge @ Northern Virginia 4-H Center
Feb 1 @ 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
HSWC Polar Plunge @ Northern Virginia 4-H Center
The Humane Society of Warren County will hold their 1st annual Polar Plunge event on February 1st at the Culpeper Lake, located at the Northern Virginia 4-H Center in Harmony Hollow. “Plungers” are asked to[...]
2:00 pm World of Lego @ Samuels Public Library
World of Lego @ Samuels Public Library
Feb 1 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
World of Lego @ Samuels Public Library
Children ages 5 and up are invited to explore all the amazing things you can do with Legos.  Registration begins January 1.