Town Hall to receive back-up generator

FRONT ROYAL – The town is moving forward with plans to purchase a back-up power generator for Town Hall.

To be able to proceed with the purchase, Town Council at its regular Monday meeting approved the transfer of $90,000 from the town’s contingency budget to the general properties building and structures budget.

The motion was approved 4-1, with Councilman Chris Morrison as the lone dissenter.

Town Energy Services Director David Jenkins proposed that the 60-kilowatt generator be placed in one of Town Hall’s handicapped parking spaces near the necessary utility line.

The need for a back-up generator came to the town’s attention after a recent Town Hall power outage knocked all of the phone lines running through the building offline. Town Manager Joe Waltz said that included the Police Department’s non-emergency number and a data collector for its body and in-car cameras.

Waltz said it was an oversight that it went unrealized that Town Hall was without a back-up generator since it opened at its 1 E. Main St. location four years ago.

“Fortunately it did not affect us for five years,” Waltz said.

When power recently went down, however, Waltz said “we lost all connectivity to the outside world.”

Council Jacob Meza said the generator would be a “proactive approach to make sure our public is safe…I think it is important that we are able to sustain power for our Police Department.”

Front Royal resident Joe Andrews mentioned the generator as an unnecessary expense during a public hearing regarding a proposed 1-cent real estate tax increase.

“That’s $1,500 per kilowatt. I have personally installed a 14-kilowatt generator, standby, with an automatic transfer switch for $6,000. By your costs, I would have paid $21,000 for that same generator,” he said.

Waltz said during a previous work session that the $90,000 for the generator turned out to be much less than originally expected. He added that he hates asking for money but feels the generator is a necessary purchase.

Town Council also:

• Approved a proclamation declaring April as “The Laurel Center Sexual Assault Awareness Month” in Front Royal.

• Approved the $44,479 purchase of 22 fire hydrants for water and sewer maintenance department.

•Approved the $25,680 purchase of a utility vehicle for the water and sewer maintenance department.