FRONT ROYAL – Doug Parsons, the newly minted executive director of the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority, presented his first quarterly report to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday morning, laying out nine areas he has focused on during his first month at the helm.
“The first area we’ve really concentrated on is financial management,” Parsons said. “Getting an understanding of our revenues and expenses, our debt [and] our capital projects.”
He said the EDA is feeling “a lot better” about its day-to-day operations after working with an accountant to get its house in order.
Other items Parsons put in his report to the board include analyzing EDA-owned properties; potential businesses to move into some of those properties; a Virginia Economic Development Partnership project to assess the value of properties, and improving overall internal management.
Some of the EDA’s properties are in need of repair and new insurance policies, according to the report. Parsons wrote that he is working on assessing which properties need repairs and will be going through the county’s procurement procedures to find insurance providers and contractors for the properties.
Last month, Parsons told the supervisors a potential tenant for the EDA property on Kendrick Lane was set to move forward but he said on Tuesday that Virginia Analytics has postponed.
Other prospects for EDA-owned properties include a regional law firm interested in locating in Front Royal.
The next large project the EDA is taking on is a partnership with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership that will assess and rank properties of 25 acres or more on how suitable they are for new business.
“The idea behind [the ranking] is the higher the level of tier ranking that you have … the more competitive the sites are, and of course the more competitive the town is for new business,” Parsons said. “They’re going to get back to us in probably three or four weeks with a ranking of where our sites are at.”
Parsons said the EDA has submitted four properties to the Virginia Economic Development Partnership for assessment, including the former Avtex site.
After meeting in a closed session, supervisors announced they are increasing the cap on legal fees for Sands Anderson, the law firm representing the EDA. Supervisors increased the cap from $300,000 to $500,000.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Chairman Dan Murray announced he will not run for reelection next year. After having heart surgery and discussing the situation with his wife, he said he will finish his term, which ends on Dec. 31.
“I’ve never walked away from a fight in my life,” Murray said, choking back tears. “I’ve been carried away from some but I’ve never walked away from one.”