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Food Lion sidewalks project a priority in budget process

By Sally Voth -- svoth@nvdaily.com

STRASBURG -- The town has begun its annual budget process.

Town Manager Judson Rex presented a fiscal 2013 budget preview to the Town Council during a work session on Tuesday night.

The process actually began in November following a Town Council and staff retreat, according to a memorandum from Rex to the panel.

The council's consensus at the retreat was to leave tax increases "alone for now," maintain town services if possible, not to spend large amounts of money on the Brill property, and begin the project of building sidewalks to Food Lion, the memo says.
Other priorities include repairing or replacing the leaking roof at Town Hall, having multiple budget scenarios available and attempting to find a way to pay for about $10 million in long-term capital needs.

Councilman Scott Terndrup brought up leaving tax rates alone if the town receives the same amount of state funding as it has in fiscal 2012.

"But, if there's a dramatic reduction in state funding, I don't think we can afford to simply take this off the table," he said.

Councilman Rich Orndorff, who said a possible reduction in road maintenance funds could be "catastrophic," said Terndrup made a good point, but noted the memo says the panel wished to leave increases "alone for now."

"I think that leaves the door open," Orndorff said.

Raising taxes is a last resort, he said.

Councilman John "Red" Hall said maintaining the current high level of service "sounds good, but what services could we eliminate?"

Councilman Bob Baker asked if putting in a sidewalk on U.S. 11 to help pedestrians get to Food Lion is realistic.

"The more I go by some of those properties the less likely it appears to me that we're going to be able to put a sidewalk to Food Lion," he said.

Some of the buildings are right up against the road, Baker said. He said the Northern Shenandoah Valley Regional Commission is studying a modified public transportation system.

"That makes a lot more sense than putting a sidewalk to Food Lion," Baker said.

Rex agreed there are logistical difficulties with the sidewalk project, which is why it's being proposed in phases. Councilwoman Sarah Mauck agreed the project is a priority, especially on the parts of U.S. 11 with speed limits of 35-45 mph.

Regarding the Town Hall's roof, Terndrup questioned the logic of replacing it before expanding the building. Rex said the roof was a more immediate need.

The panel has previously discussed converting the two Brill properties -- a former grocery and a taxi stand -- neighboring the Town Hall into new Town Council chambers.


Bob Baker what is a "a modified public transportation system" for route 11? A bus? Please define! Sally don't let them away with this please.

Paddle boats for the river. It's green, too!

Why couldn't the town apply a special "sidewalk tax" on all products sold at the Riteaid and Food Lion shopping center to cover the construction (Such as tolls used to build highways)? Why should people pay for something they don't use? I shop out of town most of the time, but if I did buy at those locations then that specific tax would be my contribution to the sidewalk.

"a modified public transportation system", yeah its called an ambulance. After you get hit for walking in the streets then you can get transported to the local hospital. Really, how much will it cost to run a public trans system in Strasburg? This is just plain bad management. Use your heads please.

Is Sarah Mauck's sidewalk stop at the shopping center or continue to the city limits? At this time the speed limit at Food Lion is only 35mph unless they plan on changing it.

The only modified public transportation system that comes to mind for me is something between a bus and a taxicab. Maybe a rickshaw is what Baker is suggesting? It's a green project and it puts feet on the ground downtown.

Modified Public Transportation System. That means you walk uphill to Food Lion emptyhanded, which is easy. Coming back downhill with heavy purchases, well, shopping carts have four wheels you know.

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