By Kim Walter -- firstname.lastname@example.org
FRONT ROYAL -- Town council has agreed to update Front Royal's charter in time for the town's 225th anniversary next year.
Councilman N. Shae Parker brought up the need to modify the charter at a meeting last month, and came to Monday night's work session with a copy of the charter, complete with notes and suggestions for change.
"Council needs to do its job of bringing forth recommended changes," Parker said after asking other councilmen to do the same as he had.
All members agreed that the charter needed to be made current.
"The charter is grossly outdated," Parker said, adding that the word 'he' appears in the charter 26 times, while the word 'she' is completely absent. He also said that some parts of the code referred to things being passed in the 1940s.
Parker went on to ask council if they would entertain the idea of making Front Royal a city.
"We're the sixth largest town in the commonwealth," he said. Parker said he wanted to know if council would be willing to consider the change before asking the town attorney to look at the legal aspect.
Councilman Thomas Conkey mentioned changes he would like to see in the charter: Holding town elections in November, requiring petitions from all candidates for those elections, and to require the mayor to vote on all issues along with the council.
In requiring petitions from all candidates, Conkey said he was hoping to avoid the possibility of partisan elections. Currently, there is nothing in the town charter that keeps elections as non partisan.
Mayor Timothy Darr said that nothing new would be built into the charter at this point, "we're just going to clean up and modify."
In other matters:
• A grand opening date for the town's new administrative building on Main Street was set for July 20, given that all the renovations are completed on time.
• Council further discussed ongoing issues with the county's building inspection and permit process for businesses. Darr suggested that council might need to look into writing a formal letter to the county if complaints continue. Parker said he'd like to have council meet with other communities' building inspectors to find out if it would be a help or hindrance for the town to do their own inspections and permits.