County cuts a break for VFW demolition

FRONT ROYAL – Warren County will give the local Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter a break as the organization rebuilds its home.

The Board of Supervisors recently approved a request by VFW Post 1850 to waive the tipping fees charged by the county to remove debris left over from the organization’s planned demolition of its former headquarters. The action waives the $17,250 the VFW would have had to pay the county to dispose of the debris.

A fire destroyed the VFW’s building on North Royal Avenue on July 11. The organization’s leadership has weighed options ranging from rebuilding the headquarters to looking for other locations. Regardless of the path the VFW chooses, the organization needs to demolish the building and dispose of the debris and waste.

VFW Restoration Committee member Michael Kohrt made the request for the waiver in an April 13 letter to County Administrator Douglas Stanley.

“While Post members are deeply saddened by this tragic event, a renewed sense of purpose has stirred our aged and experienced membership,” Kohrt states. “Along with the Front Royal community, these Veterans, many having served in our Nation’s conflicts from WWII to the present day, are committed to restoring the Post and its stature as a charitable giving resource. Our post has much fight left in it and with your help, we can rebuild a modest structure and reclaim our place serving the Front Royal and surrounding communities.”

Solid Waste Manager Mike Berry explained to supervisors on Tuesday how much it would cost the VFW to dispose of the demolition debris in the county’s facility.

County Building Official David Beahm estimates the amount of material at 250 tons. The county charges $69 per ton at the transfer station, bringing the cost the VFW would need to pay to $17,250.

The county does not operate a landfill. Instead, the county hauls the solid waste to the Battlecreek Landfill in Page County at a fee of $32.75 per ton, for an estimated total of approximately $8,188 for 250 tons of material. Additionally, it would require approximately 13 trailers to haul 250 tons of debris at the contract cost of $317 per load. It would cost an estimated $4,120 to haul debris directly by trailer to the landfill. Contractors would bill Warren County for $12,308 to haul 250 tons of debris.

Supervisor Daniel J. Murray Jr. disclosed that he serves as chairman of an upcoming festival with half of the proceeds to go to help the VFW offset the cost of construction of a new building. County Attorney Blair Mitchell said Murray’s affiliation with the festival did not create a conflict of interest for the supervisor.

Murray told the board the VFW, which is meeting at the local Elks Lodge and American Legion buildings, helps the veterans in the area. The VFW also brings veterans from the Martinsburg, West Virginia, area to Front Royal, Murray said. He made the motion to grant the full waiver.

Supervisor Tony Carter said he supported the request but warned that approving the waiver likely sets a precedent and opens the door to more.

Fox also said he supported the full waiver but added that he would have preferred to charge the VFW what the county pays to recover the cost of the tipping fees paid to the Battlecreek Landfill. Fox made the motion to amend the original motion by charging $32.75 per ton to the VFW. Supervisor Thomas Sayre and Fox voted for the amendment. Chairwoman Linda Glavis, Murray and Carter voted against the amendment. The board then voted 5-0 to grant the original motion.

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