Warren supervisors accept audit, reclassify positions

FRONT ROYAL — Following an hour-long public hearing that resulted in the Warren County Board of Supervisors denying a rezoning request for a proposed site of a Dollar General store on Strasburg Road, the board voted to accept the county audit, delayed action on a zoning variance and reclassified county positions.

The 2014 fiscal year audit, conducted by Robinson, Farmer, Fox Associates, found the county had about $84.98 million in assets, up $4.37 million from 2013.

Matthew McLearen, an accountant with the firm, said Warren County is in good financial health because its general fund balance to expenditure ratio is 26 percent, which is average when compared to counties of similar size, and its debt to taxable assessed property is 2.4 percent, which is in the lower range and more favorable.

“One thing that is not measurable is the experience of the staff,” McLearen said. “Warren has a staff that helps keep the budget in line and strong fiscal management.”

The board voted unanimously to delay deciding whether or not to grant D.R. Horton, a developer, a subdivision variance request for an emergency access entrance at the Blue Ridge Shadows subdivision at the intersection of Shadows Drive and Routes 340 and 522.

D.R. Horton is asking the board to let it eliminate a second entrance along Toray Drive that was plotted on the subdivision’s original design. In lieu of the Toray Drive route, D.R. Horton is trying to negotiate with landowners adjacent to the subdivision to allow the company to build an emergency access route through their land.

The board voted to delay action until an undetermined date, at the request of D.R. Horton, which is looking over various options for the emergency road.

The board also voted to approve a rent-free lease for offices for the Warren Coalition, a youth- oriented health care and substance abuse awareness organization, at the Warren County Community Center.

The board voted to reclassify the zoning administrator position to zoning officer. Under the current classification, the zoning administrator is paid $44,998 to $68,455 a year. Under the new classification, the zoning officer will be paid $36,924 to $56,184 a year.

Doug Stanley, county administrator, said the reason for the reclassification is because the duties of zoning officer will be zoning enforcement, rather than administration.

“I served in that position 20 years ago and a lot of the duties are enforcement duties, and right now it’s administrative as well,” Stanley said. “I think the change will downgrade the salary a little bit and save us a little money.”

The board voted to reclassify the job description of the cost recovery manager and deputy emergency coordinator position to allow the Warren County Rescue and Fire position to be used as a medic and firefighter when needed.

Chief Richard Mabie said Shawn Graber, who is in the position, has worked part time as a medic in Warren County in the past and by changing his job description, it will allow him to deploy Graber’s skills in the field.

“We have a hard time getting medics and we have one here,” Mabie said. “He’s very well versed in our system, but right now we’re not able to utilize him because of the technicalities of his job description.”

The reclassification did not change Graber’s pay grade, therefore not costing the county any additional funds, Mabie said.

The board also voted on the following items:

  • Approved conditional short-term tourist rental permits for James Hueser in Bentonville and Gooney Lodge Partners on Brownstown Road. The board denied a conditional short-term tourist rental permit to Joseph Chirico at the Shenandoah Shores subdivision.
  • Voted to adopt a resolution supporting House Bill 1388 in the Virginia General Assembly, which would give county and cities the option to raise the courthouse security fee for court costs from $10 to $20.
  • Voted to adopt a resolution opposing House Bill 1576, which would allow owners of owner-occupied residential dwellings to submit their local tax assessments to arbitration, eliminate the burden of proof for the taxpayer and eliminate the presumption that the tax assessment is correct.
  • Voted to adopt a resolution opposing House Bill 1416, which would allow more taxpayers to challenge their assessments at the Circuit Court, eliminate the presumption that the assessment or adjustments by the Board of Equalization is correct, eliminate the burden of proof on the taxpayer, force localities to present evidence first and force both sides to present evidence on fair market value of the property.
  • The Warren County Board of Supervisors will meet again at 9 a.m. Feb.3 at the Warren County Government Center Board Room.

Contact staff writer Henry Culvyhouse at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or hculvyhouse@nvdaily.com