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Recommended repairs for BB&T building reviewed

By Joe Beck -- jbeck@nvdaily.com

FRONT ROYAL -- The Town Council got its first look Monday at a shopping list of recommended repairs to the downtown BB&T building if the town were to agree to purchase the structure from the bank company.

The repairs were included in an overall inspection of the building's condition conducted in late November by ECS Mid-Atlantic, a Chantilly-based engineering firm. The firm's inspectors rated the 16,415-square-foot building at 102 E. Main St. in good to fair condition among most of the construction systems it inspected.

Most the building, occupied by BB&T until it moved the bank office in early November, was constructed in 1981.

The costs associated with the repairs are blacked out in copies of the reports issued to the media, although town officials, citing an exemption in the state's open records law, can discuss cost estimates in closed meetings. Town Manager Steve Burke said the costs will probably be made public later in the month when the council is also expected to decide whether to make an offer to buy the building.

The list of immediately needed repairs identified by ECS Mid-Atlantic includes damaged and missing asphalt shingles, the concrete sidewalk at one of the entrances, chimney cap, and a drain pipe for the roof drainage system.

The engineering firm's report describes the outside cases of some of the cooling units as "rusted and the age of the units could not be determined but appeared to be original to the age of the bank. The expected useful life of the package units is approximately 20 years" but repairs may have to be initiated within one year.

Another section of the report identifies repair and maintenance projects for later dates as they become necessary.

They include parts of the roofing system, interior access to a roof hatch, and parts of the cooling system.

In other activity, the council approved revisions to ordinances governing special events such as parades, festivals and concerts. Revisions to ordinances covering retail signs and the discharge of BB guns were also approved.

The change affecting BB guns would allow them to be discharged on private property under certain conditions. The change was made to bring the city code into conformance with a recently passed state law.


RE: “The costs associated with the repairs are blacked out in copies of the reports issued to the media…Town Manager Steve Burke said the costs will probably be made public later in the month when the council is also expected to decide whether to make an offer to buy the building.”

With all due respect, Mr. Burke, you need to tell taxpayers NOW what these repair costs estimates are. No more “black outs” when it comes to projects you and the Town Council expect us to underwrite. And while we’re at it: No more questionable collaborations that end up in expensive litigation, like the “Shenandoah Solyndra” solar farm fiasco. No more economic coddling of Main Street merchants as other town and county businesses manage to turn a profit in these tough economic times. No more thinking—or hoping—this kind of embarrassing and nonsensical behavior will be overlooked, ignored, or excused by those of us footing the bill. We’ve had it, we can’t afford it, and we won’t tolerate it any more.

I agree. Blacked out cost of repairs generaly means (not always) but generaly means a contractor is waiting in the wings to take the job. Having the costs available for the public to see means competition and better prices on services rendered. Or it can mean that this is going to cost a lot more then the tax payers would want to pay.

But the real question is this. Is BB and T going to be covering the cost of the repairs? If not then WHY NOT? I mean it is their building and if they want to sale it then they should make it ready for sale and that should include making the repairs necessary.

And here is another question. Has there even been a plan as to what to do with the building? Does the town really need the buildling? I don't believe these two very important question has been answered to the tax payers sastification.

Why do I get the feeling the cost of the repairs to this building is going to fall on the shoulders of the tax payers? Transperancy gentelmen! We the tax payers who pay your salary demand it!

I love comments from the armchair quarterbacks who have never negotiated anything in their lives except for perhaps negotiating their posteriors into the comfort of an armchair.

Hey there Geoff, Because many of us have had to negotiate contracts and similar commercial dealings in the real world, we are VERY familiar with the ends and outs of successful salesmanship and business haggling. You can glean something of that expertise in the intelligent and thoughtful comments posted on this and similar threads. As for me, I actually negotiated for the armchair my posterior is currently and happily occupying. Came from a yardsale, and I got a great deal.

It's called asking questions. As Tax Payers, regardless where our posteriors are negotiated, have a right to ask questions. And we have the right to have them answered.

The minimum necessary talent required to become a negotiator has just been suggested to be easing a posterior into an armchair. May I suggest a new minimum? You are sitting in a rocking chair and can't get it started. Should solve unemployment overnight.

Did it every occur to you bean counters that it may improve the Town's negotiating position (aka save the blow-hard Tea Party folk and all the other tax payers Money) if the Town is able to keep some of these details private until they secure the deal?

There is a reason that this exception was carved out of Virginia FOIA laws. Some things, like the negotiation of posteriors, that are best kept private until they are completed.

I think I hear a Twisted Sister song in the background......."We're not gonna take it". I dont think anything that the Front Royal government does is going to satisfy Mr. Ratigan.....or any government for that matter.

In the Code of Virginia there is this thing called the VIRGINIA PUBLIC PROCUREMENT ACT. It would be beneficial for all taxpayers, business owners, contractors, etc. to read it………. learn it……. and to hold your town, county and elected officials accountable for adhering to it. You may be surprised at what you find.

Hey there Geoff and Sword: Sounds like cogent arguments demanding fiscal responsibility, professional accountability and operational transparency on the part of our elected officials are getting you're attention. Overall, that’s a great thing for taxpayers and the Republic at large. For far too long, federal, state, and municipal governments have carried on, entering into questionable, even illegal, contractual arrangements, many times solely in furtherance of their own ends. Not necessarily the case with BB&T doings, but how would we know for sure? If the Town Fathers had a better track record when it came to negotiating such matters, perhaps we “bean counters” wouldn’t be so skeptical of what our elected officials are proffering on our behalf and behind closed doors. Off the top of my posterior, the late, not so great dealings that resulted in the solar farm and the Riverton Commons PILOT fee fiascos quickly leap to mind. Both spawned costly and embarrassing lawsuits, which every taxpayer—including you both—are going to be underwriting in some way, shape, manner or form for years to come.

What he said.

With apologies to Aesop, Rocky, and Bullwinkle, may I present Whacko Jacko's Fractured Fable, Corporate Lesson #1:

A man is getting into the shower just as his wife is finishing up her shower, when the doorbell rings. After a few seconds of arguing over which one should go and answer the doorbell, the wife gives up, quickly wraps herself up in a towel and runs downstairs.

When she opens the door, there stands Bob, the next door neighbor. Before she says a word, Bob says, "I'll give you 800 dollars to drop that towel that you have on." After thinking for a moment, the woman drops her towel and stands naked in front of Bob. After a few seconds, Bob hands her 800 dollars and leaves. Confused, but excited about her good fortune, the woman wraps back up in the towel and goes back upstairs.

When she gets back to the bathroom, her husband asks from the shower "Who was that?" "It was Bob the next door neighbor," she replies. "Great" the husband says, "did he say anything about the 800 dollars he owes me?"

Moral of the story: If you share critical information pertaining to credit and risk in advance with your stakeholders, you may be in a position to prevent avoidable exposure.

Can someone help me get this rocking chair started?

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