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Posted May 1, 2012 | comments 34 Comments

Darr wins re-election as Front Royal mayor

By Joe Beck -- jbeck@nvdaily.com

Mayor Timothy Darr won a decisive victory Tuesday over Timothy Ratigan Sr. in a campaign in which Ratigan challenged Darr's style of leadership.

Darr won his second term with 73 percent of the vote, and all six precincts reporting, according to unofficial results from the Virginia State Board of Elections.

Darr campaigned on his efforts to mend fences among council members and staff after a spell of uncertainty that saw several council members defending themselves in a lawsuit involving a divisive economic development project, the firing of Town Manager Michael Graham and the departure of town attorney Thomas Robinett.

Darr said Tuesday night the favorable reaction he had received from voters during the campaign gave him confidence he was headed for a decisive victory.

"I felt good from the start, knocking on people's doors," Darr said. "I always felt very comfortable, and I think that was reflected in the day's results."

Darr said he is looking forward to working with a town council that will have three new members. Darr was a member of the council with Bret W. Hrbek and Eugene R. Tewalt, two of Tuesday's winners, during his stint on the council from 2004 to 2008.

"I've worked with Gene and Bret in the past and have nothing but respect for them," Darr said, adding that he was also excited about the election of Daryl W. Funk as the third new council member.

Ratigan, polling at 26 percent, argued during the campaign that the town needed a leader willing to take forceful stands on touchy issues. He cited Graham's firing, which he opposed while Darr did not cast a vote, as an example of the contrast between them.

Darr said the county and town are making slow but meaningful progress on several issues involving intergovernmental cooperation. Ratigan has sympathized with those who criticize the current agreement between the town and county over water and sewer development along the U.S. 522 corridor.


-- All election results are unofficial until certified by the Virginia State Board of Elections. More information can be found online at http://www.sbe.virginia.gov/cms/

34 Comments | Leave a comment

    Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!
    There should be dancing in the streets.
    Lauder and Holloway have been shown the door.
    I'm looking forward to the same for Sayre and Tharpe.
    No new taxes! No tax hikes.
    Tax increases are my only concern with Hrbek and Tewalt but the council will now be in the hands of representatives who have the best interest of Front Royal and it's citizens.
    Nahnahnah nahnahnah hey hey goodbye.

      I would like to comment on your hope that there will be no new taxes or tax hikes. The likelihood is they will be unavoidable. Let me tell you why. First, there are many ways to get needed revenue and not call it a tax hike. I predict significant increases in water and sewer bills due to decisions made that benefited "Dominion Power" and the deal they received. Next, due to previous towncouncil decisions, the cost to install the new water line will be exhorbitant and not properly planned for. Again, we the taxpayer have to make up the difference. Then, don't forget the unnecessary costs ($50 million) of upgrading the wastewater treatment plant with the Rolls Royce of treatment due to Steve Burke's wish to have a blank check with no one to watch over the bank account balance. Another huge overdraft that taxpayers are left to cover. If that isn't enough to ensure the need for additional revenues, add to it the shortfalls in existing revenues due to the State and Federal Governments reducing funding to education, transportation, and other non-optional expenses that must be paid by localities. The local taxpayer is again accountable for the shortfall. Am I making my point yet? If not, let's throw in additional mandates put upon towns by State and Federal law that are not funded by those government officials. And last, but not least, who pays for the lost property tax revenue resulting from the $300,000 home being reassessed to $200,000 because of foreclosures, shortsales, and decrease in home sales? The need for services don't decrease just because the property taxes collected are reduced due to re-valued real estate. If it isn't taxes, it will be electrical rates going up so we have more to borrow from in the future from a pot that has been raided before. Yes, there will be increases in revenues needed; from tax hikes, rate increases, additional fees charged as in "garage sales", flea market fees, or registration/auto inspection, etc. What will be needed is better management of existing funds, and better investment decisions in future growth that result in net revenue increase. Oh, by the way, that won't be happening with Steve Burke as town manager; he doesn't have the ability, the experience, or the vision to properly manage Front Royal in this economic depression we are still in. Those guys we just threw out the door and others still in town council threw out all hope when they fired Michael Graham and replaced him with Steve Burke. Even a blind man can see the difference.

    Already you people or should i say animals, have started with your remarks about those that lost their seats (keep in mind that both Hebek and Tewalt have both lost there seats before.) And for some reason the voters didn't show up. You should THANK those who served us and took all the spit (saliva) you all could sling their way. I really think that most of the people that comment on here would shove their own MOTHER over a cliff. It seems there is no compassion for fellow man at all in the Town Of Front Royal only hatred of those people that try to do the best thing for the town and that my friend is something the voters missed on May 1st 2012.

      Had it gone the other way, more likely than not you or those on the opposing sides would do the same. par for the course if you've paid any attention to the last 20 years of local,state AND federal elections.
      I'm glad Ratigan didn't win. Persoanlly I don't believe a word he says. YMMV of course.

      Who do you think you are to say I would throw my Mother off a cliff???

      That just goes to show your own sense of reality. (or lack of)

    Hey Spunky, it sounds to me like you are being a sore loser and wanting sympathy where there is none for the other side. Supporters of the losers like yourself used every trick and nasty campaigning they could to win and still got beat. How do you feel sorry for someone who didn't deserve to win and did deserve to be thrown out the door. It's nice to see that there is still some justice in this world. The only thing that I and others are sorry for is that we couldn't get a couple others to leave as well. You are a sick person; you call us "animals", say we spit on people, and tell us we would throw our mother over a cliff, and yet you want us to act with humility? Wow!

    Seems like Spunky wants everybody ELSE to play nice.

    Lauder is a really nice guy. I feel sorry for him.

    Holloway will do whatever it takes to get what HE (or should I say cousin Tony) wants. He got what he deserved in BOTH recent elections.

    Justice is best served cold. Two out of three isn’t bad, as one of my choices, Linda Allen was not elected. Daryl Funk will be a great asset to the council with his legal mind and intellectual prowess. It’s hard to feel sorry for the incumbents that lost as they deserved to be shown the door, unlike when they fired Mike Graham as part of a lynching mob that struck in the middle of the night. The rest of that group will be dealt with at the next election. The citizens of Front Royal have spoken loudly, if not all together as a huge group, based on voter turnout. It’s sad that so many people in our town don’t care enough to come out and vote. Is the high rental rate a potential factor? Mayor Darr, also deserved his re-election as he was never proven or even alleged to be associated with the councilman that have made controversial decisions of the past (except on the May vs November election date change). His challenger never distinguished himself to the voters as able and deserving to replace the incumbent Mayor. I predict Mr. Darr’s next term will be easier and less stressful. I believe Mr. Burke’s title as Town Manager should be one of the first considerations for the new town council if the Town of Front Royal is going to successfully move forward. After all, one of the primary reasons he was given the job was due to the backroom deals that were allegedly brokered between the same individuals that wrongly and secretively dismissed Mike Graham. Mr. Burke is stuck in the past, happy with the present, and unwilling or unable to visualize a future that involves positive change for the Town. He has grabbed the checkbook and signed a blank check for unavailable funds allocated to upgrading the wastewater treatment plant with the Rolls Royce version that provides features and benefits that the taxpayer cannot afford at a cost of $50 million or potentially higher. New state regulations requiring the reduction of Nitrogen and Phosphorous in wastewaters do not mandate the purchase of a gold plated treatment plant. These decisions are being made with no oversight or adequate input from a professional engineering firm. Mr. Burke has been unwilling to entertain affordable and environmentally beneficial alternatives. He is unwilling to pursue revolutionary changes to waste disposal that would save the town millions of dollars and provide a steady stream of revenue from the sale of byproducts produced from the town’s biosolids; even though state and federal grants may be available which would fund the research, and the Department of Environmental Quality would welcome the success of this first in the U.S. vermistabilization process that is being implemented in many countries throughout the World. Rejecting this opportunity will mean significant future increases in water and sewer rates. Mr. Burke did not adequately protect the town’s taxpayers when the Dominion Power deal was brokered by warning the town council that costs to install the new water line could reach $8-$10 million dollars which well exceeds the $3.5 million dollar figure that Dominion Power will be accountable for. Again, no qualified engineering firm was consulted to get estimates of the potential costs. Mr. Burke, in my opinion, is not qualified to lead this Town into a future that will require deft management of existing revenues while making investments into future endeavors that will reduce present expenditures and provide additional cash flow in the future. We had an individual that was capable of doing this, but carelessly and without justification disposed of him, just as we now dispose our waste in a landfill instead of using it as a potential revenue source. His initial appointment by individuals with suspect motives at best should be reason enough to re-evaluate his ability to perform the duties and responsibilities as a town manager.

    Now, to address an issue that is a personal one for me…

    ….hopefully, the possibility of extending the Historical District has not gone down the tubes with these results since Ms. Allen was not elected.

    Preserving the architectural importance of our area should be a high priority. So far, from what I have seen done to some "Historical" properties in the last few years, it's all about MONEY talks & let History be damned!!!

    I had not even seen a permit in a window as these places were picked clean of their original elements. Why replace original, working shutters with nailed-on Vinyl that are disproportionate to the window openings??? And the same with windows…replacing the originals with vinyl garbage? And what is the point of a 4' high railing on a ground level porch??? That place has been on the market ever since & I hope it never sells. That's what they get for "flipping" a home in the Historical District....and obviously with the blessings of the town!

    Oh, and by the way...I never had anyone come to my door campaigning except for someone from the Funk camp. When Mr. Darr spoke of how good it felt knocking on doors...I never got a visit. Never in the 5 years I have lived here. I guess it's only certain neighborhoods that those running visit. This includes those I did vote for as well as those I did not.

    They must not like coming to the older neighborhoods where the kids run wild, make all kinds of noise until 2 am, do NOT go to school & obviously don't have to and they keep the rest of the working neighborhood awake! I do understand it’s not pretty, but if the police don’t/won’t do anything about it, who can!!?? Calling the police doesn't do any good... believe me, I have tried. It's all a big joke & it sucks to be us.

      Facebook

      Ah Mo, might we be secretly neighbors??? Although I promise my children are in school and in doors by 8pm school night are not.

      Election done, I hope Mr. Ratigan pushes forward with his renters ideas. Maybe hit door to door with a petition for our council. When I moved back to FR, I looked at an apartment with missing plates on the electrical sockets, slanted floors, mold smelling and bugs crawling out when you looked in the cabinets. At the time this guy wanted 750 for this little two bedroom dump he actually stood there and was telling me how nice it was and what a great value. The only option a renter has is to call the health department, and hope they don't find themselves homeless after. So that's my open call, just because you didn't win the war, don't give up the fight!

    Jerry, my e-mail is cruzado56@gmail.com.

    Forgot to say during the campaign that I went to Shenandoah Jr. High. :>)

    Jerry, you remind me of a little boy who can't have his way, so he kicks and screams and throws a tantrum.
    The best thing that the current Council ever did, was to fire that skirt chasing Graham!
    And you think Tim Darr will have it easier with the people just elected.....your brain is as big as one of those worms you have. But I think that most people that know you figured that out along time ago. Hrbek is out for Hrbek, just like Jerry is out for Jerry.

    realdeal, I'm glad I'm not the only one who can see this Jerry for what he really is.
    Mr. Darr make sure you have plenty of asprin, because with all those bickering cry babies headed to Coucil your going to need it.
    Good luck

    Darr achieved no election victory in the usual sense as he basically ran unopposed. Unanticipated was the revelation how few governance skills Darr brings to the conversation.

    The confrontational hostility expressed by whatever political philosophy 'realdeal' thinks he represents is nothing more than the last gasps of a failing political movement notorious for their bellicose belligerency.

    Being a member of the Tea Party Tin Foil Hats does not require measurable intelligence. If anything, the less you have, the better the fit. Realdeal, your gift of brains is not a particularly rich endowment... definitely Tea Party executive material. If you believe you are leading a rebel army, in the long run you will be a stain on a tank tread... there will be no looting before you pass away into the rich history of political movements gone wrong.

    Sounds like sour grapes Tim.

    Apparently, we do NOT have a free voice here, as my opinions were removed.

    There was no reason. There was no name-calling. There was no profanity or vulgarity whatsoever. I simply gave my opinion, but because some here disagreed, they have removed my post. So much for the freedom of speech! I guess that only works if EVERYONE agrees with you.

    I will not stoop to the levels of others by hitting the "report abuse" button.

    This is why the republican posters abuse the report button.

    h ttp://current.co m/community/93149403_gop-busted-paying-for-training-tea-party-activists-in-guerilla-internet-tactics-control-the-online-dialogue.htm

      Actually, when I initially logged in today, I saw only about 6 responses to this article. It wasn't until after I'd posted my message above...waited about 15 minutes and did a refresh that it now shows 20+ replies.

      Oh well, it's nice to know my posts hadn't been deleted after all!

    Win or lose, Tim - at least you RAN. Takes hard work to commit to a run and you can be proud of that.

    Most of the posters here don't even know what the word commitment means and probably wish AVTEX was still open and providing them the cleanest drinking water in the state for them and their 3-eyed children.

    you just remember Steve, it's the republicans/tea party members like ole tim here who wish to allow companies like avtex to police themselves,(abolish the EPA) all of us from front royal know how well that works in industry.

    commitment is great, it's just a shame it isn't a commitment that is altruistic .

      So what you are saying is that I want another Avtex here in Front Royal? Really? Wow! Sorry wondering. That won't work anymore. A good portion of Front Royal citizens know that I would never dream of siding with a scenario where an Avtex Situation could happen here in Front Royal again. But you keep reaching out there. One of these days you will get it right.

    are you for abolishing the EPA Tim? Yes or no?

    thanks for the reply. I guess i stand corrected.

    Seems you are a very low part of your parties push to do just that.
    Give your thoughts on the GOP plan to abolish the EPA. thanks

    the line is that it is over regulating and harming business.

    How goes that research Tim?

    Where'd ya go Tim? I could have built a large building by now.


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