Town looks at deals with county on bridge lighting, septic tanks

By Alex Bridges

FRONT ROYAL — Town leaders continue to work on two long-term deals with Warren County.

The first concerns an agreement over lighting the U.S. 340-522 bridge over the South Fork of the Shenandoah River. The other reflects changes to a deal by which the town accepts septic waste hauled from systems in the county to a receiving and holding facility in Front Royal.

During a work session Monday night, Town Council discussed a proposed agreement between Front Royal and the county by which both jurisdictions cover the cost to provide lighting on the bridge. A memorandum of agreement under review by the town sets the terms for installation and maintenance of the lighting. Town Manager Steve Burke said staff would like to see both council and Warren County Board of Supervisors accept the agreement.

Under the agreement, the county would pay for half the cost to install and maintain the bridge lighting, Burke explained. The maintenance agreement also includes lights installed previously on the North Fork bridge, completed several years ago.

Burke noted that county officials had asked for some minor changes to the memorandum. Under the agreement, the county would pay the wholesale cost for electricity to the town, Burke explained. The county had asked the town to include the language in the agreement.

Burke told council the town plans to install a meter on the bridge lighting. The county would pay half the cost for the meter, Burke said.

The lighting must adhere to Virginia Department of Transportation standards, Burke said. Equipment installed along the North Fork bridge met VDOT standards. The town had an agreement with VDOT regarding the bridge lighting but did not have a deal with the county. Burke noted that the agreement was desired by the entities because the county benefits from the bridge.

In response to a council question, Burke said the town plans to evaluate lighting alternatives as construction of the South Fork bridge moves forward. The agreement leaves lighting open to options, though they must still abide by VDOT standards.

Council also discussed the renewal of an agreement the town has with the county by which Front Royal accepts septic waste from haulers out of the county. Plans for expanding the town’s wastewater treatment plant call for upgrading the septic waste receiving tanks and increase storage.

At its regular meeting earlier that night council:

  • Approved a waiver of curb and gutter requirements for reconstruction of a home at 437 Overlook Drive
  • Approved a waiver of the Christmas tree license tax for Boy Scout Troop 32
  • Approved a bid submitted by Arthur Construction for $415,168 for paving and milling projects in town as directed by the Department of Environmental Services. The amount is carried forward from the previous fiscal budget.
  • Approved the purchase of an additional rotary fan press for $260,000 from Round Hill needed as part of the upgrades to the town wastewater treatment plant. Information from the town indicates Front Royal plans to save $100,000 by purchasing the unit used from Round Hill
  • Approved a change to the employee handbook to require certain positions in the Departments of Energy and Environmental Services obtain and maintain a commercial driver’s license. Staff associated with plant operations and those who do not drive as part of their job would be exempt from the requirement. The town shall reimburse employees for their first application for the license and for renewal costs.
  • Approved a revision to the resolution adopted by council Aug. 12 related to the voluntary settlement agreement with the county and the Front Royal Limited Partnership that calls for the annexation of approximately 605 acres into town. The Commission on Local Government requested that the town include in the resolution the email address of the contact person for Front Royal.
  • Met in closed session to discuss the possible disposition of the former town hall building. Council took no action after the closed session related to the building.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or