Town Council Approves Resolution for General Assembly
December 13, 2019
FRONT ROYAL – The Front Royal Town Council approved a resolution that will be sent to the Virginia General Assembly. The Council would like the ability to split away from the current Front Royal/Warren County Economic Development Authority and create their own separate entity.
The resolution was discussed during the Town Council’s last work session. Town Attorney Doug Napier explained to Council members that state code currently allows each locality to have one EDA type organization. Because Front Royal had agreed to form a joint EDA with the county, it counted as their legally allowed organization. Several steps would have to be taken for the Town to have the ability to form its own Economic Development Authority. According to Napier, the first step was to request a change in state code by the Virginia General Assembly.
The resolution was crafted following the Dec. 2 meeting. It was included in the latest agenda packet for the Council’s Monday meeting. It references the Jennifer McDonald scandal and ongoing legal litigation between the Town and the Front Royal/Warren County EDA. It also claims that the EDA may become insolvent in 2020, and that it owes net earnings to the locality. The resolution argues that the “brand” of the EDA is likely irreparably damaged, and it will be “very difficult, if not impossible,” for the Authority to attract new business to the Town.
“Our current EDA, which you could make the easy argument is ineffective, is going to be really difficult to operate through,” Councilman Jacob Meza said during the Monday meeting.
The resolution requests that the Town be allowed to create a seperate Town-sponsored EDA and be granted all the rights and powers of a standard Economic Development Authority. Following the approval of the Council it will be sent to the Virginia General Assembly for consideration.
“Please keep in mind, just because we are asking the General Assembly to authorize Front Royal to have an EDA, it does not necessarily mean we’re going to launch into it,” Councilman Gary Gillispie said. “[If] authorized, we can commence the process to determine if it’s in the best interests of the community.”
Submitting the resolution now, before the Holiday breaks, was the last opportunity to do so prior to July 2021.
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