NVDAILY.COM | Local News

Posted February 8, 2012 | comments 35 Comments

Official pushes for lower tax rate

Councilman: County taking over library funding opportunity for cuts

By Kim Walter -- kwalter@nvdaily.com

FRONT ROYAL -- Councilman N. Shae Parker is hoping to reduce the town's personal property tax rate once Warren County officially agrees to pay the town's share of funding for Samuels Public Library.

Parker told his fellow council members Monday night that that the cuts would be something to consider after the Board of Supervisors accepts a memorandum of understanding, under which the county would assume the funding burden for the library over the next two fiscal years.

The town requested the county take over all funding after recognizing that the library caused a double taxation issue with town residents, said County Administrator Douglas P. Stanley.

If the county takes over the town's share of funding the library, Front Royal could use the almost $48,000 in savings each year to lower the personal property tax, Parker said. The rate is currently 64 cents per $100 in value, and is levied on top of the county's tax.

At a recent work session, Parker says members learned that 1 cent of the personal property tax equals $8,000, which could mean a reduction of 6 cents in the rate. Parker also suggested reducing vehicle decal fees.

"We shouldn't be allocating the money just because we have less of an expense ... we're not in the business of making money," Parker said. "We need to take the money and return it to the citizens in some form or fashion."

Councilman Hollis Tharpe said he could agree with Parker, but not this year. Tharpe said that council members needed to wait until the deal with the county is settled so that they can be sure just how much money would be saved.

Director of Finance Kim Gilkey-Breeden pointed out that tax rates are being advertised as they were for last year, and they have to be set by March 1 due to twice-a-year billing. The rates have to be set before the town can approve a budget, she said.


Parker asked council members to encourage supervisors to accept the memorandum of understanding so they could move on in the process more quickly.

"Even a 1 percent reduction would be good," he said.

In another matter, council members discussed options for expanding hours of operation for the town's utility office.

Town Manager Steve Burke said the office could stay open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and either stay open until 6 p.m. one day a week or be open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon, with minimal budget impact.

Council members asked for additional research on operations of surrounding municipalities, but agreed that there was no rush in making a final decision.

35 Comments | Leave a comment

    This is a great opportunity to get rid of the layer of bureaucracy that has to deal with town vehicle decals and their enforcement. A small, friendly town like Front Royal shouldn't bother its citizens with these petty impositions. The government and the people would probably end up saving money if we did this. Thank you, Mr. Parker.

    If this happens, we will be able to confirm that the folks who run for town council actually mean what they say when they campaign on the slogan of keeping our rural, small town character.

    By the way, I'm running for town council!


    Mr. Vicente, if your campaign includes a "no new signs" policy you will have my vote.

    ok, lets see now. Im going to save 19 cents and the 1%ers will save about $8.64 if they do lower our tax. How funny would that be? And who is a vicente (manuel) i dont remember going to school with him in this county.

    Shae's proposal might save $48,000.

    Auto stickers generate about $275,000 in revenue for the town. That money is used to provide such services as Police protection.

    If you are going to sit on the Council, you will need to decide how many people you will fire just so that people don't have to clutter up their windshields with a town sticker. So, just how many town employees are you proposing to fire?


    I can muster no kind words for half-baked ideas presented as incomplete thoughts.

    The article highlights a lowering of Town expenses that could result in lower taxes if the Council so votes. One Council member is less than honest when he tells citizens, without offering proof, job losses within the police department are the inevitable outcome of any action to lower taxes. This Council member asks the reader to propose which employees to fire, and I would suggest elimination of the non-essential assistant town attorney before looking at terminating a policeman. What prohibits cutting executive and managerial pay in lieu of considering employee layoffs?

    The role of the leader now is to get the best of what is coming up from below and then meld it with a vision from above. The days of leading Warren County and Front Royal in a one-way conversation are over. The old system of Good Old Boy ‘command and control’ — using carrots and sticks — to exert power over people is fast being replaced by ‘connect and collaborate’ — to generate power through people.

    Leaders and managers cannot just impose their will. Now you have to have a two-way conversation that connects deeply with your citizens or customers or employees. As power shifts to individuals, leadership itself must shift with it — from coercive or motivational leadership that uses sticks or carrots to extract performance and allegiance out of people to inspirational leadership that inspires commitment and innovation and hope in people.

    Our areas accelerated diversity of minorities and ethnic groups are overwhelming the once dominant 'whites only' political network of an all-too-real Good Old Boy network of grumpy old white guys. Town Council candidate Mr. Vicente will undoubtedly face the wrath of the local Tea Party fear mongers as did the civil rights marchers of the 1960's who also had to deal with threats and actual physical violence that accompanied the verbal attacks.

    Already one citizen in our community has begun this discriminatory onslaught by despicably suggesting something is wrong if a Council candidate did not go to school around here. Clearly, these are code words living at the hearts of our local grumpy old white guys born and raised within a culture approving discrimination against anybody not like themselves.

    A few years ago a man took the time to explain to me how the town budget works. I learned real quick that you can't just blindly go forward and say Cut Taxes! Or eliminate the vehicle decals.

    After spending 2.5 hours with me I came away from that meeting with better understanding how the budget process works. He also opened my eyes so that I could see that it wasn't just money and numbers I was looking at.

    I saw men, women, children that would be affected by budget process. I saw families not being able to pay their bills due to possible actions that the Town Council could have taken. I see hard working employees not getting raises due to the need of keeping costs down and keep the town running. But most importantly I saw a hard working council, Mayor Town Manager, Department Heads, Chief of Police, Finance Director and town employees working hard to balance the need to keep this town running and the need to keep taxes low for our citizens and in line with the Economic Times we live in. Are they perfect no! Do they sometimes make decisions that we do no agree with? Most certainly they do. But they do try and do a good job. So before jumping in and screaming No New Taxes get the facts. Don't make the same mistake I did when I recieved a call from a Republican Activist and then go off and started pushing for NO TAX INCREASE. Or do what Tom Conkey suggested. Ask yourself how many town employees you are going to fire? Or what services you plan on cutting. Or just how many police cars or police officers you want to lay off.

    Thank God for the man who took the time to show me the process. You want to know who that man was? Michael Graham. Mr. Vincente my advice to you is call more then one councilman! Don't rely on the one councilman giving you advice or pushing you to run or better yet talk to the finance director and ask them to show and explain the budget process to you. You owe it to yourself. And more importantly you owe to your supporters and the citizens of Front Royal to get all the facts.

      Another point to be made is obvious. The Extention of hours article that is on this site. The case can be made that cutting the vehicle decal program would be as bad not extending hours for the business office. And am I the pot calling kettle black for favoring not having the business office open longer hours? Let me offer this for your consideration.

      I have been told by seated councilmen that when seated on the council either as the Mayor or as a Councilman you must balance the town's needs with the Citizens wants. A certain percentage of Citizens want the business office to be open longer hours or open on Saturday for a few hours. The reason being to pay bills or as some on that thread have pointed out the need to access other services during those extra hours. You have to pick your battles. You have to be able to choose which programs to spend money on or which sources of revenue to shut down completely. And by the way Councilman Parker did not call to shut down the Vehicle Decal program. His words were to "Reduce vehicle decals fees". Big difference there.

      After speaking to several sitting councilmen and one former mayor I came to the realization that having the office open so that a few citizens could pay their power bill in person instead of using the options such the night drop or automatic bill pay from a bank account would not be a good method or use of our town's limited resources. Chances are as in the past the office would be open with limited services anyway. Now droping 1/4 of a million dollars from the General Fund would irresponsible and have long lasting drastic affects on the Town's ability to provide services needed by the Town's citizens.

    To everyone involved:

    Thanks. I really really do appreciate everyone's advice. However, lighten up! :>)

    I have been talking to people and understand the need to do research, but just tossing out an idea does not mean I need to get beaten up for it. Has anybody ever heard of brainstorming?

    And no, I did not make any promises. I will not be the kind of politician who does that. The reason why I am getting into it is the fact that for several years now, in every level of government, decisions seem to be made for us that are quite detrimental. We just can't rely on people truly representing us any more. Just look at what is going on in the country right now!

    By the way, I did not consult with any Town Council members about this.

    Enough of defending myself.

    Bottom line is that the citizens appreciate honest talk about making things simpler and less burdensome and despite the mess that surrounds us, I still believe that talking (along with research and brainstorming) can solve a lot of problems.

    God bless you all.

    Lighten Up ?!?!

    Sitting on the Council is serious business for serious people. A council member makes decisions that affect people's lives and livelihoods.

    If you aren't prepared to do that, then get out of the race. Do your homework and know what you are talking about. The citizens of this town deserve at least that much.

      Thank you, Mr. Conkey, for reminding us of the kneejerk attacks endured by anyone who challenges the status quo in our community. Unlike those who went to school in our county (see spunky above), Mr. Vicente has superior education and a track record in success in varied endeavors. He is exactly what we need to move us forward into the 21st century. Those who oppose newcomers to politics and diversity in our community actually hold us back. A lot of people with Mr. Vicente's background would make tracks fast away from this backwater we live in, but he has privileged us by setting down roots here and making substantial contributions to our community through our homeschooling network... He has my vote on the basis of his education, experience, and perseverance!!! Political hacks beware - here is someone who cares about our community!

    For the record I was not referring to any one Councilman. I was refering to the mistake I made by listening to one person and allowing myself to be pushed into taking a certain stance by one person. I just happened to choose the word Councilman since this is a councilman race. Not because I think you are being advised or pushed by one Councilman.

    And you admitted that you have not contacted any councilmen about this issue.

    My question is this. Why not? Why not seek the advice of councilmen who have years of experience over what you may have? The biggest mistake you can make is to go into this race thinking that you already know everything there is to know about the office you are seeking election too. I am not ashamed to admit that I seek the advice of Councilmen all the time. I find them always willing to lend a hand and give advice on any question that I may have. I cannot tell you how many times I have found myself on one side of the issue and after seeking advice and talking to other councilmen and after getting additional information I suddenly find myself on the otherside of the issue!

    The point I was making is this. There is a wealth of information and wealth of experienced people out there. Seek it out. And you will be surprised at how much you can learn.

    Oh fer gawd's sake... the NVDaily posts a contributor's comment that makes fun of Manuel Vicente's name??? I for one will heave a sigh of relief when I can vote for someone who did not go to school in our county... If you look at Manuel Vicente's qualifications, you will see that his education alone puts him far above the Conkeys and Ratigans of this world. We are fortunate that he is willing to submit to the inevitable browbeating that awaits any REALLY QUALIFIED candidate in our county. The more diversity we are privileges to have here in our county, the more PROSPEROUS we will become... Who do we have that went to school here who can outdo Mr. Vicente in education and experience??? We need more EDUCATED people who are willing to undergo the kneejerk BROWBEATING our entrenched ignoramuses bestow on anyone who dares actually suggest we can MOVE FORWARD INTO THE 21TH CENTURY... Mr. Vicentel you have my vote, and I have deep roots in Virginia, from Norfolk to
    Staunton to UNFORTUNATELY Warren County and Front Royal, where people are AFRAID of EDUCATED individuals.

      Live in the County? Given the theme of your post and the number of times you say "county" leads me and many others to believe that you do live in the county. Remember this is a town election. Not a County Election. Already putting up barriers and separating the masses into classes and groups? I can see it now. Those of you who went to Warren County Public Schools line up over here. Now those of you who went to school else where line up over there. All you Warren County Public School alumni well you can go home now because we don't need you now and we know better then you. Seriously? Careful a handful of Councilman and not all of them are born here, might take offense because they have children that are attending or has graduated from Warren County High School.

      And I really don't understand the extreme hatred you seem to be hurling at Councilman Tom Conkey. He is by far one of the more articulate and educated and logical thinking Councilmen that has graced this council in a very long time. Hey psst! Don’t look now but The Council is full of Warren County Graduates! Call out the hounds!!! Close up the shutters and get the women and children indoors. Whatever will we do?

      I would love to see a poster on this thread celebrate that our town is full of a diverse group of people who are willing to put themselves out there. Warren County Graduates. Home Schooled Students, College Graduates or those who have no college education. And here is another thought. People who didn’t attend Warren County Schools too. We all have something to offer. And all the citizens of the county (oooops now you got me saying it, silly you!) citizens of the town need to be represented. And thankfully it is not up to you to decide who votes for whom or who is qualified to serve in public office. If it were up to you I shudder to think of what kind of elitist society you would be trying to ram down our throats! I venture to say we would be hearing words or quotes such as this.

      “We will need to be very intelligent and insightful in the future. We cannot do worse than what we have.”

      We must always be vigilant and make sure that there is a balance in our town leadership. Elitist attitudes like the ones that you are now exhibiting are as bad as those who exhibit the “Born Here vs. come here” attitudes. Both are dangerous and do nothing to serve the citizens of Front Royal.

    Why did the NVDaily post spunky's comment,"...And who is a vicente (manuel) i dont remember going to school with him in this county." I don't need to read spunky's comment to be reminded how ignorant so many of our citizens are who went to school right here in Warren County. Since when is it considered appropriate discourse to make fun of and make assumptions based on someone's name????? In the 21st century, only in the NVDaily and other Neanderthal publications. If you check out Mr. Vicente's education, you will see that we are privileged that he would even consider submitting to the kneejerk browbeating that comes with challenging the entrenched, low class representation that we currently have. Instead of welcoming the diversity that Mr. Vicente may represent, which would bring education and a successful track record to bear in our elections, entrenched parasites resort to their usual braying... what disappoints me is that the NVDaily posts a bigoted comment that plays on Mr. Vicente's name... Thank God for a candidate who did not go to school in our county!!!

    Is the NVDaily bigoted? In the pockets of the entrenched "government" we have here in Front Royal? Why have you not posted my comments and those of friends of mine who have deplored a previous poster's making fun of Manuel Vicente's name???????? I do not know Manuel Vicente, but I do know how bigoted and uneducated our community is. Is the NVDaily part of the "good" ole boy network that cannot stand a challenge from a competent and, most important and probably most offensive to them EDUCATED person?????

    It's OK for spunky to make fun of Manuel Vicente's name, but it's not OK to complain about it??? NVDaily now we know where you stand... on the sice of the bigoted backwater we live in. Thanks a lot!!!

    Wow,did i stir up something? Come on everyone lets be nice. Dont take things to heart,it's only fun comments i make. Dont think i can't play in the same sand box with other people. Have a grest day!

    3rd attempt to receive censor approval:

    Far be it for me to make fun of folks less fortunate than others, but after reading nearly identical word for word praise for Mr. Vicente, it would seem three comments all appear to be copied from the same lesson guide provided, perhaps, by Little Boss Hogg at the Executive Meeting? SOMEONE seems to be everywhere at once, loading the lips of faithful followers.

    Mr. Vicente has not announced which Council seat he will be seeking, but because Councilman Holloway renounced his political party and joined the Democrats, his seat may be Mr. Vicente's target.

    Ratigan's political history is all over the map, one day a Republican Party, one day a Tea Party cheerleader, the next day an Independent... but he did go to school here, a living testament to holding the inside track as viewed by one poster who finds local education high on his list of qualifications candidates must possess to earn his vote.

    The bigger news here is the censorship by NV Daily. Many others have complained of overreaching censorship above and beyond the official guidelines. I am left to speculate about my own experiences where particular censorship sensitivity is given to comments concerning entrenched politicians, specifically The Good Old Boys. Naming names is guaranteed to have your comment placed in the round file.

    It is difficult to say who at NV Daily is behind controlling which reader comments are eventually published. There seems to be a two-level approval process. Innocent comments get past the gatekeeper immediately. At some point a questionable comment is brought by the gatekeeper before a higher authority for a blessing or denial. Where does this higher authority get his marching orders? Does Big Boss Hogg have a red phone hotline?

    So, who is the ultimate censor at NV Daily? The outgoing owners are number one on this short list followed by the 25 year tenured Editor. Ownership is about to change hands, hopefully bringing a new attitude that will control the Editor.

    But, Big Boss Hogg will remain lurking about as the Puppet Master.

      On National, State, and County Politics I am a Republican. On National and State Politics I will use and often use Tea Party (Traditional Constitutional) thought paths in deciding who and what bills/pieces of Legislation I will support based on Traditional Constitutional beliefs. I do not consider the Tea Party a Political Party. Now I am running for Mayor. And I understand and see the importance of keeping Town Politics non Partisan. So I am not seeing where you get the notion that my political history as being all over the map.

      In the recent past I have shown that I can reach across the aisle and work with Democrats on Local Town Issues. Does that make me an Independant? No. What it makes me is simply a man who is a citizen of Front Royal who can and has put partisan politics aside for the good of the town.

        Off-hand, I'd say wearing multiple political party hats (today I'm this and tomorrow I'm that) while trying to keep your facts straight must keep you busier than a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.

          As I stated before. I wear only one Political Party Hat. Rebublican. I do however have the ability to set aside partisan politics and work with both Republicans and Democrats. A talent that I wish more National and State Politicians had. Think of what we could get accomplished if it were just citizens running for office in the national, state and county races and there were no political parties?

            You nailed that last sentence. I am disgusted by having a two party system. With two powerful parties there is a lack of choice among other injustices. The two party system gave us the president and a lot of his friends we have because of the mistakes of the president and a lot of his friends before him. In the election swing voters were like lemmings running fast from one side to the other knowing Obama and his clan was the worse of two evils was torture to watch.

            What government office have you been elected to? Which aisle have you reached across? Which Democrat have you worked with? Which Democrat could you have enjoyed working with under any set of circumstances? Including Holloway, is there a Democrat on the Town Council you have worked with?

            Are you now a member in good standing with the Warren County Republican Committee? If not, why not?

              You know spunky you're right. It is impossible to explain things to some people. A ride in the county does sound good. I find it amazing how I can explain things in the easiest terms and some people just can't quite figure it out.

              Ok one more try.

              No I have not held elected office before.

              In the recent past over a year ago and up the prestent day I was honored to have worked with several prominent Democrats here in Warren County some of them have become valued friends. Tinal Hobson (Community Activist) Linda Allen (community Activist and current Secretary of the Warren County Democratic Committee), Molly Snyder current Chairperson of the Warren County Democratic Committee) and many others. Since this is a town election it gives both Democrats and Republicans the rare opportunity to shed partisan politics and come together in a non partisan way for the good of the town.

              And for the record I am a Paid Member in Good Standing of the Warren County Republican Committee. I hope I was able to answer your questions.

    Good luck trying to explain things to some people. I personally wish you the best at what ever you do! Mr. ratigan always remember that you can always take a ride in the county to get away from all this stuff. Just ride,sing and be happy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Conkey wrote: "If you aren't prepared to do that, then get out of the race." Question for him is, why is he is getting "out of the race?" Reality too hot to handle?

    Meant to say, There is a real funny Story behind that Picture. Remind me to tell you about it sometime.

    Interesting ... raise taxes and then the next year propose to decrease the very same taxes ... brilliant move!!!

      According to you Councilman Parker was in favor of raising the personal property taxes last year. And now he wants to decrease the very same taxes. You lead the readers to believe that there is no logical reason for Councilman Parkers switch in tactics. I mean why would Councilman Parker push forward a plan to lower the personal property taxes? I mean he is not up for re election. So the only reason I can think of is he is either insane or, oh here it comes, wait for it!!!! Could it be? I mean it is a stretch but could it have something to do with the fact that the County over the next two years is going to assume the town’s responsibility for our cost for funding Samuels Public Library? Thus freeing up 48,000 dollars of the tax payers money!! Wow how could you have missed that? I find it interesting how you can word a statement and completely disregard the facts behind a person’s reasoning and reason why they want to do something.

      I find it refreshing that we actually have Councilmen, though few as they are, who are willing to back track and rethink a decision that they have made in the past about taxes and then realize that maybe just maybe they can reverse their thinking and turn around and give the tax payers a break. What is wrong with that? Oh yes I almost forgot. The way you started your comment. “Interesting….” Leading us to believe that Councilman Parker has an Agenda. Now remember everyone! Mr. Parker is not up for re election this year. What could he have to gain by pushing for lowering of taxes in a non election year for him? Do you really think people will remember what he did two years from now? Possibly. So “simonsays” my question for you is this. What is your agenda??


        Mr. Ratigan, I feel jilted, used, abused, and discarded. Did you forget your promise to tell me your real funny story about a picture of you wearing a tin foil hat and demonstrating outside the Government Center on behalf of the Tea Party? Ok, I have no shame.... pretty please with sugar on it.

    ROFLMAO, please do not feed the bears.

    ROFLMAO, you have no shame sir.


Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily | nvdaily.com | 152 N. Holliday St., Strasburg, Va. 22657 | (800) 296-5137