Warren County supervisors candidates weigh in on taxes, spending

Daniel J. Murray Jr.
Shae Parker
Tom Sayre
Ralph Rinaldi
Dee Schools

Candidates running for seats on the Warren County Board of Supervisors provided information and responded to a series of questions.

North River District

North River District Supervisor Daniel J. Murray Jr. is running for a second term as a Republican. Former Front Royal Town Councilman N. Shae Parker is running for the seat as the Democratic Party candidate.

Daniel J. Murray Jr.
Age: 68
Prior/current political experience or position: one term on the Board of Supervisors and one year as chairman
Current or most recent job (if retired): retired plant maintenance manager and plant engineer for Interbake Foods
Family: wife Janice, four children, 11 grandchildren
Length of time in community: More than 10 plus

What specific actions would you take as a supervisor to prevent tax increases?
To prevent tax increases we need to review all requests for budgets and request all departments a reduction in their operating expenses. As a supervisor, working with the town, the Front Royal Warren County Economic Development Authority and business community, we can avoid tax increases by building more manufacturing and service industries here.

What department budgets would you reduce first if faced with a budget shortfall?
This is a very hard question as everyone has a different need. I would look at our long-term plans and slow down or stop projects that are not supported with grants. The new Rockland Park may need to be pushed out a year or two.

Would you support level funding (no increases in spending from one year to the next) for government and school board budgets if no additional revenue is expected?
This question is worded as if we have no growth. We know the IT Federal project is starting. The supermarket Aldi is underway as well as the Urgent Care to name a few. If these were not happening we would have to take a hard look at level funding. I do not perceive this to be an issue at this time. Finances are always questions that require planning, dedication and making the hard decisions. Being retired, I feel I can be a major asset having worked through the construction, implementation and startup of a major manufacturing facility. Citizen input is key to this process. We need direction from our citizens on what services they would be willing to accept being removed from the budget. Schools and public safety should only be addressed as a last resort.

N. Shae Parker
Age: 43
Prior/current political experience or position: member of the Front Royal Town Council 2008-2014 and vice mayor 2012-2014
Current or most recent job (if retired): owner of the Hanna Sign Company LLC in Front Royal and part-time announcer for WZRV The River 95.3
Family: wife Lisa, two daughters and a son
Length of time in community: more than 35 years

What specific actions would you take as a supervisor to prevent tax increases?
There are a multitude of options to consider and all options have to be explored. The simple answer is to cut spending and increase revenues, but it’s not that simple. We have to look at a flat budget and re-prioritize spending. Public safety and education have to top the list, and you go down from there. Another option is liquidating assets and selling off excess properties in addition to attracting the right fit of businesses to offset the tax base.

What department budgets would you reduce first if faced with a budget shortfall?
No department is immune and ideally all departments should share in cuts. This is where establishing priorities and funding essential services first comes into play. Non-essentials are naturally the first place you look at cutting.

Would you support level funding (no increases in spending from one year to the next) for government and school board budgets if no additional revenue is expected?
Yes, you can’t spend what you don’t have. A flat budget would be ideal. However, given the debt the county has outstanding (over $150 million) and the structure of the bond payments that increase each year, it is not a feasible scenario without cuts to all budgets. The key is to increase revenues through a fair and balanced system in attracting new business, with the same rules for small, local startups and corporate entities.

Shenandoah District

Former Front Royal Town Councilman Thomas H. Sayre, county Planning Commission member Ralph Rinaldi and Dee Schools are running for the Shenandoah District seat. Chairman Richard Traczyk is not seeking re-election.

Ralph Rinaldi
Age: 69
Prior/current political experience or position: Warren County Planning Commission and Well and Septic Appeals Board
Current or most recent job (if retired): retired after eight years from Fauquier County Public Schools and after 25 years in the concrete industry
Family: wife Edna, two sons and six grandchildren
Length of time in community: lived in Warren County for 20 years

What specific actions would you take as a supervisor to prevent tax increases?
I would spend the time necessary to drill down within the budget looking for any savings. I have always been “best cost” when looking at budgets.

What department budgets would you reduce first if faced with a budget shortfall?
During a shortfall, all departments should share any reduction.

Would you support level funding (no increases in spending from one year to the next) for government and school board budgets if no additional revenue is expected?
Level funding, if used, is a temporary tool to be used under certain circumstances. The timing to use this tool would heavenly depend on economic conditions.

Thomas H. Sayre
Age: 52
Juris Doctor, Ohio Northern University, Petit College of Law, May 1988
Current or most recent job (if retired):
attorney for 27 years; former assistant West Virginia attorney general and staff attorney with the West Virginia Public Services Commission, former staff attorney with the West Virginia Public Service Commission – regulated utilities
Prior/current political experience or position: served on Front Royal Town Council from July 1, 2006 to Dec. 31, 2014
Family: wife Carla Ann Sayre, seven children
Length of time in community: Warren County resident for 19 years

What specific actions would you take as a supervisor to prevent tax increases?
• Stay within the budget and reign in excessive spending.
• Create an environment that encourages jobs and business growth, which provide good paying job opportunities.
• Work to create a sound base of research and information on issues and trends affecting the town and county.
• Lead in the development of local and state policies that support small town and county economic development.
• If a bond or debt service is necessary, make sure the interest rate is as favorable as possible.
Investigate or apply for grant funding.

What department budgets would you reduce first if faced with a budget shortfall?
I would carefully review each and every department budget to make sure the expenditures are necessary and proper taking into account the services that they provide. The first place I would look to trim would be non-essential spending. The immediate fiscal year town budget increased by 12.34 percent after I left.

Would you support level funding (no increases in spending from one year to the next) for government and school board budgets if no additional revenue is expected?
Yes of course, I support government spending within its means. I have also tried to live my personal life by spending within my means and staying out of debt.

Dee Schools
Age: 46
Prior/current political experience or position: none but attends and has spoken at Board of Supervisors meetings and work sessions
Current or most recent job (if retired): owner of Back to Nature Massage, specializing in therapeutic massage
Length of time in community: 11-1/2 years

What specific actions would you take as a supervisor to prevent tax increases?
By going over and fine tuning the budget and the capital improvement plan, I feel that we can manage it all so that tax increases would not be necessary.

What department budgets would you reduce first if faced with a budget shortfall?
I don’t believe that you can name certain departments for cuts. I feel that if you prioritize items into what is really needed first and putting off things that aren’t, no matter what the department, you can manage the budget.

Would you support level funding (no increases in spending from one year to the next) for government and school board budgets if no additional revenue is expected?
If we control our spending by prioritizing what is most important I feel this would not be needed. We need smart spending, not over spending.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com

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