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Warren County votes on sewer district

19 August 2016 News

The Warren County Board of Supervisors was presented with evidence that when both sides are involved, a clear majority of Lake Front Royal property owners wish to abolish the Sanitary District created – some say behind their backs – in January.

The result of a County Survey sent out following the July 19 Public Hearing allegations of foul play by both sides was 60-40 percent in favor of dissolving the Sanitary District.

But despite that result, the Warren Supervisors voted 3-2 to ignore the majority will of subdivision property owners. Only Chairman Linda Glavis and Archie Fox voted to follow the survey result.

“It is OBVIOUS and VERY CLEAR – a MAJORITY don’t want it,” Fox said in making a motion the County join that majority in petitioning the Court to dissolve the Lake Front Royal Sanitary District.

However, Tony Carter, Dan Murray and Tom Sayre used various arguments to dismiss the result as ill-informed or irrelevant.

Glavis countered, “This is in my District – it is an insult to the intelligence of the people of Lake Front Royal to say they don’t understand – it is NOT our job to speak over their wishes.”

Three of her four colleagues disagreed. Tom Sayre’s motion to re-evaluate the Sanitary District in two years then passed unanimously.

The survey result presented by Acting County Attorney Dan Whitten showed an 88-63 majority (+25) favoring dissolving the Sanitary District created by Court Order following a January 21st Hearing at which only supporters of the Sanitary District appeared with County Officials. When Property Owners were allowed to vote by the number of lots they own, and pay taxes on, that margin increased to 115-75 (+40) in favor of petitioning the Court to dissolve the District.

In addition to collecting Subdivision lot fees, which become County Taxes, the County also collects a 5-percent collection fee on those fee/taxes.

The current lot fee on Lake Front Royal’s 301 lots is $300. The proposed Sanitary District fee for 2017 is $745. However, some of that increase is due to a proposed $371 Rural Addition Program (RAP) increase to access VDOT upgrades to subdivision roads. Some opponents of the Sanitary District believe those RAP fees will ONLY provide maintenance to the subdivision’s lower entrance roads, Lake Front Royal and Creek Roads, due to state restrictions on maximum steepness grades.

When Fox’s motion to join the citizen petition to dissolve the District met with silence, Glavis, a political independent, temporarily relinquished the Board Chairmanship so she could second Fox’s motion and force a vote.

Perhaps ironically, three of the four County Republican Committee members on the Warren Board sided with the idea “government knows best.” As the lone Republican hold out against that notion, Fox told his colleagues, “If we don’t approve this (motion to join dissolution petition) we are saying, ‘Government knows best’ – I hate to see us go in that direction – because I don’t think we do.”

– by Roger Bianchini, Royal Broadcasting News

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