Connect with us

Local Government

Tederick takes the helm as interim mayor of Front Royal



Interim Mayor Tederick follows pre-meeting media instruction to pretend to be chairing the work session for a staged photo op. Royal Examiner Photos/Roger Bianchini

On Monday, May 3, Matt Tederick chaired his first meeting as interim mayor of Front Royal. At the 7 p.m. work session at Town Hall on East Main Street council discussed several pending actions and received staff updates on projects already underway.

With lengthy experience in chairing Warren County Republican Committee meetings, Tederick did an admirable job in managing the work session, moving council toward consensus decisions on whether to move forward to final meeting votes or further work session review, getting himself up to speed on aspects of town business without undue delay, and giving council members present the opportunity to chime in with opinions or questions about the matters at hand. Jacob Meza and Gary Gillespie were absent, the former due to a previous commitment, the latter due to a medical procedure according to the mayor.

Among pending matters were consideration of a special use permit request to place a dog training facility with a small kennel aspect for some “doggie boot camp” overnight stays close to residential and commercial buildings at 650 West 11th Street; legal staff action on and council adoption of a code allowing a more aggressive pursuit of delinquent utility accounts, particularly larger commercial ones; and an update on the associated policy on the write off of bad debts deemed uncollectable.

As for updates on things already in motion, progress on the Inflow & Infiltration (I&I) Abatement Program designed to keep the Town from receiving a State Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) mandate for costly system-wide upgrades was presented by Robert Boyer of the Department of Public Works; and Town Manager Joe Waltz briefed council on additional pedestrian safety measures included in the Fiscal Year 2020 Town Budget.

Graphics from the Inflow & Infiltration power point presentation by Robert Boyer of the Public Works Department

Council consensuses were reached to:

  • move the kennel permit request forward with advertisement of a public hearing during which public health issues related to dog waste or any other lingering questions will be addressed;
  • continued tracking of legal efforts to collect certain delinquent utility accounts and receipt of any additional staff recommendations on tweaking of the related town ordinance as seen necessary so that code change can be implemented as soon as possible;
  • and coming meeting action to allow the write-off of 59 delinquent utility accounts totaling $27,756 deemed uncollectable after five years without activity.

On that latter matter the staff agenda summary noted that Fiscal Year 2018 collection and write-off statistics indicated the Town Finance Department was collecting about 99% of accounts billed before write offs as uncollectable were being made. Council adopted a revision of its bad debt policy in March and has included quarterly review/approval of debts facing write-off status.

Town Finance Director B. J. Wilson presents info on movement on the bad debt collection effort and ordinance development

As for the delinquent account collection process, staff reported that it is “currently processing the first round of utility accounts to obtain judgments and continues to work to streamline the process.” As Town Attorney Doug Napier reported during the work session that first round of legal maneuvering is in its early stage with judgment decisions forthcoming.

Also under consideration for the code adjustment are raising the minimum deposit from $125 to $150; obtaining a personal guaranty on business accounts, particularly from LLC (Limited Liability Corporation) operations; and a Proof of Income statement of some kind from new account applicants. Of those latter two options staff noted that while they “should help reduce the Town’s bad debt expense” they will “make the utility application process more cumbersome for applicants.”

The agenda item summary cited “approximately 2,000 new utility accounts opened each year” with “approximately 240” subject to bad debt write offs after five years. And as noted above during the last fiscal year the dollar amount declared “bad debt” after five years was equal to “roughly 1% of the dollar value billed.”

Also during the meeting Councilman Eugene Tewalt raised the issue of code and permitting exceptions for the Workforce Housing Project council granted to the EDA at the request of former Executive Director Jennifer McDonald in November 2016. Tewalt said he would like to discuss rescinding those permitting exceptions because the Town was lied to about who the actual developer of the property would be.

Mayor Tederick actually chairing the work session – his first action was a call for a moment of silence in memory of former Sheriff Daniel McEathron, whose funeral he and Police Chief Kahle Magalis among many others attended prior to Monday’s work session, as well as for the victims of last week’s Va. Beach municipal building shooting.

Matt Tederick – taking the helm of town government until a special election is held in November

Share the News:

Local Government

Council poised to enact ‘Spot Blight’ ordinance



Following a work session presentation by Town Planning Director Jeremy Camp Monday night, January 27, the Front Royal Town Council appears ready to take a first step in an effort to force property owners’ hands on deteriorating structures within town limits.

Camp told council the staff proposal of a “Spot Blight Abatement” program is based on codes in place in the City of Leesburg and Loudoun County that have a successful track record; at would will be “the most reasonable fiscal approach”.

It has been staffing and potential legal costs tied to forcing derelict building property owners to do something to correct their “blighted property” situation that in the past has paralyzed a council majority from actually taking that first step toward an enforcement code on basic acceptable physical standards for properties within the town limits.

Over the past two years additional enforcement costs led council to totally abandon a proposed “Rental Inspection” code that would force what some Town officials referred to as “slumlords” to provide minimum acceptable living conditions to Town citizens, particularly those at the lower end of the economic spectrum. Some public speakers urging action on rental inspections pointed out that it is those lower-income citizens who are generally the most vulnerable to living standard abuses by landlords, often absentee property owners living outside the community.

However, a council majority’s unwillingness to consider tax increases to provide the revenue to enact such code protections for its citizens killed that aspect of the Town’s exploration of a “Property Maintenance Code”.

Council ponders the dynamics and cost of forcing property owners’ hands on fixing or razing deteriorating structures in Front Royal. Royal Examiner Photo by Roger Bianchini. Video by Mark Williams, Royal Examiner.

But the argument that generally vacant structures left to deteriorate are more than just an eyesore, but also a potential public health hazard, with additional negative impacts on surrounding property values, and consequently on real estate tax revenue coming to the Town, has kept the blighted structure initiative alive.

So if not for its poorer citizens, council has continued to explore ways to enact protections on property values and the tax revenue they produce by targeting blighted properties. According to Planning Director Camp, the “Spot Blight Abatement” plan adopted from the Loudoun-Leesburg code models will initially be cost effective because the costs incurred by the Town in identifying, informing owners of the Town’s Spot-Blight designation of their property, and issuing of a 30-day timeframe through the Town Manager’s Office for a written spot abatement plan to be submitted by the owner, will be covered by placing a lien on the property as necessary.

If the property owner does not comply with the Spot Abatement order, the matter would go before council for a public hearing and vote. That vote would designate the property blighted and a public “nuisance”. The Town would then submit a Spot Abatement Plan for the property leading to its upgrade, “raze or remove the blighted property”.

The staff report notes that State Code authorizes town councils to so designate and legally deal with properties by ordinance adopted by the municipality. Liens placed on blighted properties would have the same legal force as delinquent tax liens.

Wording in the staff summary indicates the Spot Abatement process would be initiated “upon receipt of a complaint”. It was not clear from the limited discussion following Camp’s summary whether the Town could independently initiate the process on obvious offenders.

A council majority appeared to agree with suggested exemptions for “Farm buildings or structures” and buildings in the Town’s Historic District or on National Historic Structure registries. Council agreed to move forward with creation of the Spot Blight Abatement Ordinance. Staff comment indicated a public hearing would likely occur in March.

See the work session presentation in this exclusive Royal Examiner video:

Share the News:
Continue Reading

Local Government

Council hears from citizens on EDA, 2nd Amendment concerns & expanded public transportation service



The January 27th regular meeting agenda of the Front Royal Town Council was very light, with approval of a four-item Consent Agenda; and a recommended softening of the Town Employee Handbook guidelines for non-essential, “Tier 2” employees during severely inclement weather both being unanimously approved.

Council also recognized the Town “Employee of the Month, Timmy Fristoe. Interim Town Manager Matt Tederick acknowledged Fristoe’s 39 years with the Town, at the Wastewater Treatment Facility.

Council rises to applaud long-time Wastewater Treatment Plant Manager Timmy Fristoe, after he received the Town’s employee ‘Star of the Month’ recognition. Royal Examiner Photos/Roger Bianchini. Video by Mark Williams, Royal Examiner.

Council, the mayor and one member of the public greeted newly-appointed Councilwoman Lori Athey Cockrell. Cockrell expressed gratitude for her appointment, as well as for staff and council’s help in getting oriented to her new job as a councilman.

The most interesting part of the open meeting prior to adjournment to a work session and closed session was the public comments near the meeting’s outset. Paul Aldrich, a 2nd Amendment advocate, opened those comments by bringing a suggested Resolution to council that would add the Town of Front Royal to the list of municipalities around Virginia declaring itself a “2nd Amendment Sanctuary”.

Aldrich noted that the former Warren County Board of Supervisors had unanimously passed a similar resolution. That vote occurred on December 10, before the new county board majority was seated.

Paul Aldrich asked council to consider adding the Town to list of municipalities resolving not to obey any gun control laws passed by the new Democratic majority in the Virginia General Assembly; as well as authorizing an existing militia to participate in emergency and law enforcement services.

Aldrich continued to suggest council, rather than create he pointed out, acknowledge an existing armed citizen militia in the community as an auxiliary to law enforcement and emergency services.

Following Aldrich to the podium was Paul Gabbert. After his welcome to Cockrell on her appointment to the job for which he also applied, Gabbert reiterated his previous comments to the county supervisors that he did not feel authorization of any kind of militia was a necessary or good idea. – “We don’t need militias, we only need people to volunteer if they want to help in emergencies,” Gabbert suggested.

While 2nd Amendment sanctuary and militia advocates have attempted to distance themselves from an existing image of armed political extremism, their sanctuary initiative has the potential to put local governments and law enforcement at legal odds with the State if any pending gun control bills on the floor of the Virginia General Assembly and its new Democratic majorities are passed into state law.

Neither Aldrich on Monday, nor other 2nd Amendment sanctuary advocates who have appeared before the County, have differentiated between any gun control bills now under consideration by the General Assembly. In addition to the redefinition of what would be an illegal “assault weapon”, they appear to believe background checks and red flag laws tied to firearms purchases and possession, as well as age restrictions on youth use of guns unsupervised by adults, to all be potential unconstitutional infringements upon their right to legally bear arms.

Why fight with new EDA?

But Gabbert’s counterpoint to the militia aspect of the first speaker’s comments was not the main thrust of his presentation to council. He chastised town officials for their increasingly hostile and litigious stance against the existing EDA Board of Directors and staff as they wrestle with the consequences of the $21.3 million financial scandal that developed under a former board majority and executive leadership.

Paul Gabbert diverted from his primary thrust, criticism of council’s adversarial stance against the EDA, to counter the previous speaker’s call for official endorsement of an armed citizen militia to assist in Town emergency or law enforcement services.

Gabbert was critical of the Town’s refusal to pay an $8-million-plus debt to the EDA on construction of the new Front Royal Police Headquarters as the EDA faces hitting a financial wall in March at which point it will not be able to cover its monthly debt and operational expenses.

“You owe the money on the police station – you got lied to, get OVER it,” Gabbert suggested of promises allegedly made by former EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald on lower interest rates tied to a state tax credit economic development funding program the police station project didn’t even qualify for.

Gabbert suggested rather play expensive legal hardball with a cooperative new EDA administration, the Town become proactive in helping the county government stabilize and subsidize the continued operations of the EDA, which as previously pointed out, cannot declare bankruptcy while owing debt on its economic development projects on behalf of the municipalities that created it.

Council was asked why it has decided to spend Town taxpayer money to fight the current EDA legally, rather than help the County stabilize it financially.

“You’re fighting a losing battle … you’re not going to get a dime out of McDonald or a dime out of the EDA – you’re wasting your time,” Gabbert told council and town administrative and legal staff of the $15 million civil suit it has filed against the EDA.

Gabbert’s criticism led to a lengthy response from Councilman Jacob Meza, who attempted to justify the Town legal strategy and delays in paying its uncontested principal debt on the FRPD project.

Council also heard from two mental health professionals – Rene McDaniel Flowers and Deborah McQuinty – who asked that the Town expand its trolley service to accommodate transportation needs of some citizens without transportation who have second or third shift jobs.

Deborah McQuinty, left, and Rene Flowers asked council to expand its public transportation service to accommodate some citizens without transportation’s later shift travel-to-work needs.

See the 2nd Amendment and EDA give and take and other public comments, as well as Cockrell’s welcome, Fristoe’s acknowledgement, and other Town business in this Royal Examiner video:

Share the News:
Continue Reading

Local Government

Town staff backs off of Liaison discussion of cooperation on EDA situation



There was little substantive discussion on two crucial Front Royal-Warren County Liaison Committee agenda items Thursday evening, January 23. Both related to the present and future of the two municipalities relationship to their joint Economic Development Authority created in the late-1960’s.

Those relationships, particularly it would appear on the Town side, have reached stress points in the wake of the financial scandal that has resulted in dueling multi-million-dollar civil litigations, as well as 34 felony financial fraud indictments against former EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald, among other criminal charges against multiple defendants.

County and Town officials share a laugh prior to convening of last week’s Liaison Committee meeting. Royal Examiner Photos/Roger Bianchini. Video by Mark Williams, Royal Examiner.

The topics were “Working Together Regarding the EDA Civil Suit” and the Town’s initiative to the Virginia General Assembly seeking authority to become the first municipality in Virginia history to be allowed to create a second EDA while its first, co-created EDA still exists.

As the first of those two topics was reached, Town Attorney Doug Napier noted that there was a motions hearing scheduled the next day regarding the Town’s now $15-million civil litigation against the EDA for recovery of lost assets.

“Loose lips sink ships,” Napier offered of public discussion of the Town’s claim of $15 million in lost or misdirected assets involving Town-generated funding of EDA projects.

Earlier in the day, Napier told Royal Examiner he expected Friday’s motions hearing to be brief, as Judge Bruce D. Albertson would rule on the Town’s request that it be allowed to continue to amend its civil action against the EDA as new information became available.

But Napier also verified that the Town has not yet submitted any documentation to support its financial claims against the EDA. That claim was initially made at $3 million, then amended to $15 million. At issue during what ended up being a conference call among the judge and attorneys at their respective offices Friday morning may be whether the court will want some supporting documentation of the Town’s claims against the EDA prior to authorizing further amendments upward to its existing $15-million claim.

Getting down to business – As Mayor Tewalt chairs meeting at head of Town Hall Conference Room table, County Administrator Doug Stanley, center left, reviews paperwork on County projects of interest to Town officials.

That a rift may exist between Mayor Eugene Tewalt and his former council colleagues and administrative or legal staff regarding those topics became apparent during discussion of the EDA situation.

“The sooner we resolve this without going to court, the better,” Tewalt said following County Liaison representative Tony Carter’s observation that it would be to both municipalities benefit to work together on the situation, rather than at operational or legal odds as appears to now be town council’s preference.

“We don’t want to undermine the EDA, or at least I don’t,” the mayor added during discussion of council’s unprecedented attempt to be authorized to be party to two EDA’s at the same time.

Council is currently refusing to pay an apparently undisputed principal debt of about $8.4 million to the EDA on the Front Royal Police Department construction project as it ponders what it believes the EDA may owe it in misdirected Town assets.

EDA officials have said they will become financially insolvent, unable to pay existing debt, at some point in March without some changes to its current financial situation. However, it has been verified by both County and Town legal staffs that an EDA cannot declare bankruptcy or cease to exist while it has existing debt.

Of the potential of a second EDA being brought into the mix as the existing EDA tries to recover $21.3 million in alleged lost or defrauded assets and right its financial ship, County Supervisor Tony Carter called it an apparent duplication of costs – “To me it makes no sense,” Carter told the Liaison Committee of the Town initiative to be authorized to create a second, unilateral EDA.

Supervisor Tony Carter, left, questioned the Town’s initiative to be allowed to create a second EDA as the municipalities try to get to the bottom of the EDA’s use of municipal assets in recent years – why duplicate efforts, Carter wondered.

County Board Chairman Walter Mabe joined Carter on the County side, along with County Administrator Doug Stanley. Councilman Chris Holloway joined Mayor Tewalt on the Town side, along with Interim Town Manager Matt Tederick and Town Attorney Napier. Also present observing the Liaison Committee meeting were County Board Vice Chair Cheryl Cullers and Town Councilman Letasha Thompson.

As he has previously, Tederick asserted that the town council had not committed to creation of its own unilateral EDA while still claiming partnership in the existing EDA, but is only maneuvering to keep that option open were the existing EDA to fail.

Town Attorney Napier has suggested the Town not consider separation from the existing EDA, in order to maintain claim to half the EDA’s real estate or other assets were it to fail. Of course, the Town would be jockeying for position with several banks and the County in such a scenario.

See these discussions and updates on other business of mutual interest to the Town and County in this exclusive Royal Examiner video:

Town given okay to amend its civil suit against EDA, with some explanation

Share the News:
Continue Reading

Local Government

A ‘New Direction’ for the County’s Front Royal Golf Club municipal course



An aggressive management proposal for the County-owned Front Royal Golf Club was presented to the Warren County Board of Supervisors under the watchful eyes of the Golf Club Advisory Committee at a January 21 work session. The County took over ownership and management of the course and property from a private management entity in 2005. The land was part of a 63-acre parcel gifted to the community by William Carson Sr. and family in memory of their late son Billy Carson as one of, if not the first, Virginia public golf courses and recreational use areas.

New Direction Golf Management President Mike Byrd took the lead in presenting his company’s three-year management proposal at a cost of $100,000 per year to County officials.

And while a $300,000 commitment to the historic, if money-pit, municipal golf course might seem exorbitant on the surface, there appeared to be multiple positives for the County.

Mike Byrd brought a golfer and management perspective to his presentation on New Direction Golf Management’s plans to turn around the County’s municipal golf course. Royal Examiner Photo/Roger Bianchini. Video by Mark Williams, Royal Examiner.

In response to a question from North River Supervisor Delores Oates, Byrd said that his company would be responsible to cover capital improvement costs for the duration of the management contract. And County Administrator Doug Stanley noted that the County invested $300,000 in the course last year and the New Direction contract would cap the County’s annual investment at $100,000, which has often been in the neighborhood, if not lower than the County’s annual costs to cover club operational expenses.

It was noted that last year’s investment included major upgrades to the condition of the course, which had been allowed to deteriorate over some period of time. “The course is looking better than it has in 15 to 20 years,” Stanley observed of the result of the capital improvement commitment made by the County last year.

From above the Front Royal Golf Club nestled in the arms of the Shenandoah River. Photo/Front Royal Golf Club website

While County officials explored alternate uses for the property in recent years that included abandonment of the golf course as a use, that effort was abandoned in the wake of local attorney Nancie Williams telling the supervisors in 2018 that she would aggressively help the club membership and potentially Carson family heirs, fight such an initiative in the courts.

Despite the positive impact of last year’s course maintenance effort, Byrd indicated that he had ideas for further physical alterations to the course to increase its playability and attractiveness to golfers.

“Greens are the key to course health,” Byrd said. And after playing the course he said the course greens tended to be fast and rolling, raising their difficulty level even for experienced golfers, and being a discouragement factor for new and youth players taking the game up. And with expanding the municipal course’s player and membership base being a key aspect of their plan, Byrd suggested a facelift for the greens would be in order.

Getting to the greens isn’t a primary course problem New Direction’s Mike Byrd said after playing the course, playing those fast, rolling greens is. Courtesy Photo

“Our plan is to attract new golfers and rejuvenate old golfers’ interest in the game,” Byrd said. In response to a question he said existing club memberships would be honored under New Direction management. It was observed that the club’s membership, currently at 146, had been largely faithful in recent years despite the course maintenance issues.

A part of the New Direction plan is bringing a PGA Youth Golf “junior” League into play in the community and at the municipal course. It is a plan the company has a track record with at a Stafford County course near Fredericksburg known as “The Gauntlet”.

Byrd said that introducing a PGA Junior League at The Gauntlet resulted in 300 kids participating last year – “If you have a youth soccer league, you should have a junior golfers league,” he told County officials. And if Stafford and Fredericksburg have a larger population base, around 100,000 to draw from, the numbers are still encouraging when transferred to Warren County’s 40,000 population.

Byrd said the Front Royal Golf Club could also benefit from becoming a sister course to PGA-friendly Gauntlet course about an hour away. County Administrator Doug Stanley told the board that the Stafford County and Fredericksburg City governments “highly recommend” New Direction’s golf course management.

Byrd’s presentation was hypnotically enthusiastic of the potential to turn the Front Royal Golf Club into a successful and profitable enterprise.

While his company is new, founded in January 2018, its directors have 33 years experience in the golfing industry, Byrd said. And he said despite reports of the demise of golf as financially-successful recreational endeavor, he believes the sport “has never been in a better place” for expansion of club’s like the County’s municipal course.

He listed positives and negatives for the club, and cited past management mistakes the County has made in trying to deal with revenue shortfalls. Chief among mistakes was lowering fees to try and attract golfers from the many private courses it competes with locally. On the downside were “108 holes” the Front Royal Golf Club’s nine holes must compete with nearby.

However, he noted that the club’s four-dollar fee to play “tells you something is wrong with the product – and nothing is wrong with the product (at least that can’t be easily fixed like those tough-playing greens)” Byrd enthused over the Front Royal Golf Club’s potential. He said nine-hole courses are more common now than they have been in several decades.

Other pluses he sees are that it is a public course, open to all; the course’s proximity to a nearby commercial area and hotel; its physically beautiful setting at the river’s edge, which also has the downside of the threat of flooding that could jeopardize the health of the course; the hiking or running trail that runs through the property, and even the fact that a train runs through the course.

“And not many courses are on the National Registry of Historical Places,” Stanley added, noting the property was part of the 1864 Civil War Battle of Guard Hill.

“The clubhouse looks good – in 1998,” Byrd joked of another renovation facelift he sees in store for the club.

See Byrd and New Direction Golf Management associate Kayla Weaver’s full pitch of their plan to rejuvenate the Front Royal Golf Club, and County discussion of their plan, in this exclusive Royal Examiner video:

Share the News:
Continue Reading

Local Government

Town/County Liaison Committee Meeting – January 23, 2020



Town/County Liaison Committee Meeting held on January 23, 2020. Photo and video by Mark Williams, Royal Examiner.

The Town and County held their liaison committee meeting on January 23, 2020 at Town Hall. Mayor Eugene Tewalt chaired the meeting.  County Supervisor Chairman Walt Mabe, Supervisor Tony Carter and County Administrator Doug Stanley represented the County. Mayor Tewalt, Councilman Chris Holloway, Town Manager Matt Tederick and Town Attorney Doug Napier represented the Town.

The agenda included the following items:

1 – Review Liaison Committee Mission Statement and Policies

2 – Development Review Committee

3 – Boundary adjustment request from Chris Ramsey

4 – Blighted and Derelict Structure Program

5 – Building inspector software

6 – Data Center

7 – Warren County In-Town Projects

8 – Working together regarding the EDA civil suit

9 – Resolution to General Assembly to allow Town to establish its own EDA separate from existing EDA

10 – Update on Happy Creek Road Project

11 – Discussion on Vehicle Decals

Watch the discussion on this exclusive Royal Examiner video:

Share the News:
Continue Reading

EDA in Focus

Town given okay to amend its civil suit against EDA, with some explanation



Following a conference call with involved attorneys at their respective offices at 8:45 a.m., Friday morning, January 24, Judge Bruce D. Albertson granted the Town of Front Royal leave to amend its current $15 million civil filing against the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority. The Town has 30 days to file an amended suit and the EDA will have the option of filing a demur to dismiss the amended suit as not factually supported legally.

The Town initially filed its suit seeking the return of $3 million of its assets believed to have been misappropriated as part of the EDA financial scandal, on June 21, 2019. That filing was described by Town Attorney Doug Napier at the time as largely precautionary to prevent any statute of limitations deadlines from being passed on yet-to-be-determined fraudulent EDA transactions utilizing Town assets.

Just over three weeks later on July 12, the suit was amended to $15 million, as previously reported, still without any elaboration on the sources of that number.

The Warren County Courthouse, a familiar sight for EDA-involved principals – Royal Examiner File Photos

Of the January 24 judicial okay to again amend its suit, Town Attorney Napier said any coming amendment would “have to be legally cognizable” – or accompanied by legally supportable documentation. Napier said the Town had a scheduled meeting with its contracted auditor, Mitchell and Company, next week. That meeting may shed light on which direction, and how far in either, the Town’s amended civil suit against the EDA will next go.

The EDA’s civil litigation against what has grown to a total of 14 human and business entity defendants currently stands at $21.3 million. And despite his being dropped from the list of EDA civil case defendants in the wake of his death last spring from a possibly self-inflicted gunshot wound, electronic computer and phone records of former Sheriff Daniel McEathron have recently been subpoenaed from his estate in the EDA civil suit.

The initial amendment to the original Town claim against the EDA coincided with the Town’s pulling back from participation in the “EDA Reform Committee” and three-way EDA-Town-County joint meeting efforts geared toward fixing what had gone wrong to allow the alleged misappropriations and embezzlements circling the former EDA executive director, Jennifer McDonald, to happen over a number of years.

At the helm of the EDA for a decade prior to her December 20, 2018 resignation, McDonald has been the central figure in both the civil and criminal cases brought as a result of the Cherry Bekaert investigation of EDA finances begun in September 2018. She currently faces 34 financial felony charges brought by the special grand jury empaneled to investigate potential criminality tied to EDA finances in recent years.

But she promised us – Jennifer McDonald at a May 2017 Town work session, as Town Manager Joe Waltz and Interim Police Chief Bruce Hite listen

Stated justification for one publicly voiced Town financial dispute with the EDA, the 4% bond interest rate the Town has been asked to cover on construction of the new Front Royal Police Department headquarters, has pointed heavily at “promises” made by McDonald. Those promises revolved around anticipation the FRPD project would qualify for the New Market Tax Credit Program offered municipalities for economic growth capital improvement projects.

However, as a non-job creating project the FRPD construction did not qualify for what would have been a 1.5% interest rate over the 30-year life of the bond issue with funding through the NMTC Program. As that dispute festers on the edge of Town-EDA litigation, the Town has refused to pay what appears to be an undisputed $8.4-million in principal payments bill the EDA has submitted to the Town on the FRPD project.

Written references in a Memorandum of Agreement and Resolutions of support of the NMTC funding cite “anticipation” of the program’s funding and support of that funding being pursued.

Despite late 2017, early 2018 recommendations of then Town Manager Joe Waltz, Finance Director B. J. Wilson and People Inc. NMTC Program Administrator Bryan Phipps that a guaranteed bank-offered 2.65%, 30-year interest rate would be preferable to competing with multiple municipalities for limited NMTC funds, a council majority chose to hold out for the NMTC financing the FRPD project ultimately did not qualify for.

But 1.5% will save us millions over 30 years … if we get it – that is still a fuzzy picture

However, some Town officials have pointed to verbal promises made by McDonald that the funding was in place, as a basis for the Town claim it should not pay more than 1.5% interest rate tied to those promises.

A “legally cognizable” argument on one Town claim against the EDA?

Time will tell.

Town staff backs off of Liaison discussion of cooperation on EDA situation

Share the News:
Continue Reading

King Cartoons

Front Royal
07:2217:29 EST
Feels like: 35°F
Wind: 10mph NW
Humidity: 57%
Pressure: 29.97"Hg
UV index: 0
min 31°F

Upcoming Events

10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Jan 29 @ 10:15 am – 12:00 pm
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
10:15 Toddler story time | 11:00 Preschool story time Wednesday, January 29 and Thursday, January 30: Puppies are cuddly! Puppies are cute! Our stories, songs, and craft will be about our friends, the puppies! Siblings[...]
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Jan 30 @ 10:15 am – 12:00 pm
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
10:15 Toddler story time | 11:00 Preschool story time Wednesday, January 29 and Thursday, January 30: Puppies are cuddly! Puppies are cute! Our stories, songs, and craft will be about our friends, the puppies! Siblings[...]
10:00 am Citizenship Day Workshop @ Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington | Hogar Immigrant Services
Citizenship Day Workshop @ Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington | Hogar Immigrant Services
Jan 31 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Citizenship Day Workshop @ Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington | Hogar Immigrant Services
On Friday, January 31, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington is partnering with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) to host its annual Citizenship Day Workshop. The workshop is one of six AILA is[...]
7:00 pm Love Revival – FREE Monthly Comm... @ Love Revival Ministry Center
Love Revival – FREE Monthly Comm... @ Love Revival Ministry Center
Jan 31 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Love Revival - FREE Monthly Community Dinner @ Love Revival Ministry Center
Free Community Dinner for everyone! Come enjoy a hot meal on the last Friday of every month at Love Revival Ministry Center.
10:00 am Books and Barks @ Samuels Public Library
Books and Barks @ Samuels Public Library
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.
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Feb 4 @ 10:15 am – 12:00 pm
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
10:15 Toddler story time | 11:00 Preschool story time Wednesday, January 29 and Thursday, January 30: Puppies are cuddly! Puppies are cute! Our stories, songs, and craft will be about our friends, the puppies! Siblings[...]
4:30 pm Novel Ideas @ Samuels Public Library
Novel Ideas @ Samuels Public Library
Feb 4 @ 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm
Novel Ideas @ Samuels Public Library
Children will explore popular books and book series through S.T.E.M. activities, games, food, and more! Tuesday, February 4 – Children will explore popular books and book series through S.T.E.M. activities, games, food, and more! After[...]
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Feb 5 @ 10:15 am – 12:00 pm
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
10:15 Toddler story time | 11:00 Preschool story time Wednesday, January 29 and Thursday, January 30: Puppies are cuddly! Puppies are cute! Our stories, songs, and craft will be about our friends, the puppies! Siblings[...]