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Twice-a-year billing to start in 2010

By Ben Orcutt -- borcutt@nvdaily.com

FRONT ROYAL -- Beginning in 2010, town residents will receive twice-a-year billing for real estate and personal property taxes.

The Town Council voted unanimously -- Councilman Thomas E. Conkey was on vacation -- on Monday to go to the twice-a-year billing after being asked to consider the option by Kim Gilkey-Breeden, the town's director of finance.

The measure allows the town to follow Warren County's billing format. The amendment to town code will change the due dates from Dec. 5 of each year to June 5 and Dec. 5.

The change also will mean that the due date for vehicle license fees goes from Dec. 5 to June 5 and will require that the Town Council set the real estate and personal property tax rates before the third week in April of each year.

In other Monday business, the Town Council:

* Voted unanimously on second reading to grant a franchise to Virginia Regional Transit for continued operation of the Front Royal Area Transit passenger bus. The Town Council has previously allocated $35,277 from the fiscal 2010 budget's tourism line item in funding for the bus system.

* Voted 4-1, with Councilman Thomas H. Sayre casting the only affirmative vote, against advertising for public hearing an ordinance that would allow the town to charge a fee of $300 per week for rental of a 40-yard trash container.

"It's not our business," Vice Mayor Bret W. Hrbek said. "I just don't think it's something we need to get involved with."

Councilman Chris W. Holloway spoke in a similar vein, noting that the container was only rented six times last year.

* Voted unanimously to approve a bid from Slurry Pavers of Glen Allen for $1.68 per square yard for emulsified asphalt slurry for seal application to town streets for a total cost of $252,000.

* Voted unanimously to accept a grant from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles Highway Safety Program for $13,500, with a Front Royal Police Department match of $2,700. The money will be used to purchase a Raptor radar unit, an in-car camera system and to pay officers overtime for traffic safety enforcement. Once the funding is received, the $13,500 will be transferred to the Police Department's grant fund line item.

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