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Strasburg council larger than most

By Ryan Cornell

As the Town of Strasburg discussed cutting two of its council seats earlier this week, one argument presented against the reduction was that more seats equate to each member representing a smaller percentage of the population.

Strasburg, which has eight council members and a mayor, could be divided up into one member -- including Mayor Tim Taylor -- for every 721 residents. That ratio is the second smallest in Shenandoah County, behind Woodstock's 1:739 ratio.

On the other side of the spectrum, Toms Brook's council of six members and Mayor Phil Fauber could be split into one representative for every 37 residents.

With such a small population -- 260, according to the 2012 census -- members of the Toms Brook council may know each resident on a first name basis.

"Sometimes it's pretty easy, if you got someone who wants to run," Fauber said. "Sometimes, you have to beat the bushes to get people to step up."

Toms Brook Town Council members are paid an annual salary of $1,440, and the mayor is paid $1,000.

"The thing is, when you got a town of 300, it's whoever steps forward that runs," he said. "And I will say, at least in my tenure [since 2000], it's been most people who really are concerned about issues in the town, not specific issues or positions that they run on, but just on bettering the community."

As far as women serving on town council, most towns have at least one female council member, though Toms Brook is the only area town with more women (five), than men (three). Front Royal is the only town without any female council members.

Census data

Information from the 2012 U.S. Census Bureau shows the size of each town ranked in order to its corresponding council member ratio.

Toms Brook
Population: 260
Council members (incl. mayor): 7
Ratio: 1:37
Male:Female ratio: 3:5

Population: 1,054
Council members (incl. mayor): 7
Ratio: 1:151
Male:Female ratio: 5:2

Population: 1,297
Council members (incl. mayor): 7
Ratio: 1:185
Male:Female ratio: 5:2

Stephens City
Population: 1,874
Council members (incl. mayor): 7
Ratio: 1:268
Male:Female ratio: 5:2

Mount Jackson
Population: 2,017
Council members (incl. mayor): 7
Ratio: 1:288
Male:Female ratio: 6:1

New Market
Population: 2,176
Council members (incl. mayor): 7
Ratio: 1:311
Male:Female ratio: 6:1

Population: 6,489
Council members (incl. mayor): 9
Ratio: 1:721
Male:Female ratio: 8:1

Population: 5,171
Council members (incl. mayor): 7
Ratio: 1:739
Male:Female ratio: 4:3

Front Royal
Population: 14,666
Council members (incl. mayor): 7
Ratio: 1:2,095
Male:Female ratio: 6:0

Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rcornell@nvdaily.com

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