Front Royal mayor seeks re-election
By Alex Bridges
Timothy W. Darr is seeking re-election to his seat as mayor of Front Royal.
Darr will appear on the ballot. He is seeking re-election to a second term. Jim Rogers has publicized that he is running as a write-in candidate. Election Day is Tuesday.
Reached by phone Wednesday, Darr answered a series of questions:
Family: Married, children
Time in community: All his life
Political experience: Warren County School Board for one term, Town Council for two terms, in second year as Mayor
Occupation: Pentagon Force Protection Agency of the U.S. Department of Defense
What issues would you address if re-elected mayor?
“I think one of our biggest issues right now is economic sustainability and that’s where we really need to work on making Front Royal viable on its own economic basis as opposed to on taxes, which we could do, by coming up with some ideas to fund business in the town, to help businesses, bring business into town, things like that. But I do think it’s very important because, you know, the key to anything is having the availability to do what you need to do support the economy — without increasing taxes.
What solutions would you offer to address these issues?
“Well first, I think we need to find a general solution that we can all agree to. There are several things and the council’s currently working [on] some of those things like trying to find incentives to bring business into the community. One of the things, for example … we’re trying to cut a break for any business that comes in that’s interested, like the Economic Development Authority, the ability to go out to a business and say ‘hey, we’re willing to waive these fees.’ We’re looking at doing some changing in the parking downtown so we can — if a business in a building that leaves, they don’t have to meet the parking standards. We’re looking at offering tax incentives to business that locate here, you know, if you fix up a building. We’re looking at a lot of things like that. We’re in discussions with the Planning Commission right now in order to attract to the downtown. … We’ve had a lot of discussions but we need to take it out of discussion mode and move it into performance mode. So that’s one of the key things I feel is really important in the next couple of years so we can get some of these incentives, make them so we can get them into the books so that when a business comes to down he can look at this piece of paper and say ‘well, if I fix up my facade, the Town Council can give me a tax break for so many years, or if I move into an existing or I remodel an existing building or build a new building’ — offers out here that may put us above the competitor. When I mean competitor, I mean other localities. And the council is moving in that direction.”
What is your stance or position on government spending?
“I do not believe in wasteful spending. But I also believe that in order to continue on and remain viable you need to spend money because just like, for example, the new police department. You could argue the fact that the town doesn’t need it but they did need it. The other one was outdated, too old. You don’t want to raise taxes to do those things but it all becomes part of the whole spoke in the wheel. If you were able to capture additional funds through other sources of revenue, then you don’t have to tax people for spending. But you have to spend to be effective. It’s just like the Wastewater Treatment Plant. That’s $40 million worth of government spending but it’s a federal, regulated mandate and fortunately they’re helping us out with a little bit of it. But it’s something that has to be done. There are things you can’t prevent spending funds for in order to have new equipment to pick up your trash or law enforcement to make you safe. There [are] levels of spending that have to be there. What I’m against is wasteful spending and that goes back to the debate of if something is — for example, if we wait another five years to build the police department, a building that may cost us $3 million now may cost us $5 million in five years. So do we make a smart move there or not?”
Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or firstname.lastname@example.org