County Weighs Options for Overcoming Revenue Challenges

As Virginia tax revenues continue to show steady recovery in the aftermath of the “Great Recession”, state leaders can perhaps hold hope that the Commonwealth is finally pulling out of a record fiscal slump. Still, the prospect of returning to post-recession economic levels any time soon seems all but non-existent. As Clarke County struggles to tighten its financial belt both citizens and elected officials are looking for new ways to fund essential county services.

This is the second in a series of articles examining potential challenges and solutions facing Clarke County’s financial future.

As the Commonwealth of Virginia’s general fund slowly begins to recover from the ravages of the Great Recession, thoughts that federal or state-supplemented local spending will return to pre-recessionary levels any time soon are unlikely.

Although Virginia revenues have grown over the past nine months and current fiscal year revenues are 5.5 percent greater than over the same period a year ago, the increased fiscal trend still leaves the state nearly 2.6 percent below its level of tax collection from a year ago. While Virginia’s fiscal situation is still difficult, it is better than the 3.5 percent decline that was being heralded a year ago.

On the Federal level, future fiscal support for localities seems even less likely as Washington lawmakers struggle to find a debt ceiling solution that would avoid an August 1st default of US government financial obligations.

As both Richmond and Washington struggle to adapt their spending habits to what appears to be a long-term readjustment in America’s fiscal health, localities like Clarke County could feel increasing pressure from citizens to continue financing county operations and services at pre-recession levels despite the loss of state and federal assistance.

Clarke County’s recent debate over increasing teacher compensation is, perhaps, a recent example of this phenomenon. As local teachers faced a fourth straight year of stagnant salaries, many Clarke County citizens voiced expectations that county officials spend tax reserves to help preserve teacher retention despite warnings by Clarke County Supervisors that next year’s state educational payments will not cover expected expenses. In the end, the Supervisors agreed to a teacher funding compromise but not without first exacting a pledge from the Clarke County School Board that it understood the fiscal implications of granting the one-time bonus.

But as future “must have” county projects arise, finding new revenue sources to fulfill citizen expectations may prove more difficult to do.

“Clarke was doing very well financially prior to the ‘Great Recession’” said Clarke County Supervisor John Staelin (Millwood). “Tax revenues were increasing, County employees were getting pay raises and County services were well funded.   The problems started when the ‘Great Recession’ hit. The Commonwealth cut its funding of all local programs including schools and Clarke County’s revenues flattened.”

Staelin said that Clarke County’s experience was not unlike that of other localities across the state.

“Tax revenues of every jurisdiction across the Commonwealth fell” Staelin continued.   “Even jurisdictions like Loudoun and Fairfax that have much larger commercial sectors were forced to hold down salaries, reduce staffing levels and eliminate programs.   National statistics showed similar trends to what we saw locally and the press is still full of articles describing how local and state governments are shedding jobs.   No locality has been immune.   The biggest cause of Clarke’s funding problems has been the weak economy, not Clarke’s mix of commercial business. This is not to say that commercial development is not important. Some types of businesses are profitable to a county and it is always good to try to expand those.”

But striking the “right” balance between commercial growth, open space easements and residential amenities is no easy question to solve. Most Clarke County citizens and officials have strong views on whether County policies should be changed to promote or restrict commercial growth.

“The County’s overall plan is to maintain a rural posture” said Clarke County Commissioner of Revenue Warren Arthur.

“To be sure, there is strong and continued interest in the County’s efforts to diversify its tax base” said Clarke County Board of Supervisors chairman Michael Hobert (Berryville). “There is also a general recognition that there are or should be limits to taxing residential real estate, and that the challenge of paying for public services and education may best be addressed not only by adding to an appropriate balance of commercial and light industrial businesses for the County, but also by encouraging tax reform in the Commonwealth with a move away from local dependency on real estate, personal property, and an antiquated machinery and tools tax.”

In Virginia, local governments are restricted by the state in the ways that businesses can be taxed to generate revenue. The primary allowable taxation categories are real estate, retail sale of physical products, business equipment and machinery and tools, however other special tax options – like a “business, professional and occupational license” tax (BPOL), lodging tax, and meals tax – can be implemented with approval from local taxpayers and the General Assembly.

Companies subject to multiple tax categories offer the highest potential benefit to Clarke County according to Supervisor John Staelin (Millwood) who said that the County tax collection strategy targeted the more profitable varieties of business when it built out the Business Park.

“Not all businesses are profitable to a county” Staelin said. “Office buildings, for example, generally bring in limited tax revenue (normally just taxes on real estate and business equipment) and if they bring in lots of new residents they can add thousands of dollars to the County’s cost of education.”

But while it is true that a physical office building may only by subject to real estate and equipment taxation, the activities that occur inside could be taxed if county officials chose to implement a BPOL tax said Revenue Commissioner Arthur.

“Under a BPOL tax, county businesses would pay an additional fee to Clarke County based on a maximum percentage of gross revenues” Arthur said. “Right now the Virginia Assembly says that a county of less than 20,000 citizens can only charge a $30 for a business license. A BPOL tax would be one way to increase the county’s revenues.”

Arthur said that the idea of a BPOL tax had been considered in Clarke County in the past but was never implemented due to objections from area businesses. Arthur also pointed out that implementation and enforcement of a BPOL tax would require an additional staff person with a financial auditing background.

Arthur estimated that salary and benefits for the professional staff to implement a BPOL tax could be could be as much as $65K.

Arthur said that because Clarke County has few restaurants and hotels, the existing lodging tax – which Arthur estimated generates about $12K – or the addition of a meal tax offers little tax generation help.

The combination of Clarke County’s limited commercial development and few mechanisms to generate tax revenue from local businesses means that any attempt to make up funding shortfalls eventually ends up on the shoulders of Clarke County taxpayers. And although the Board of Supervisors worked hard to keep tax rates “revenue neutral” last year – Clarke County’s real estate tax rate remains lower than that of Loudoun and Fauquier County’s but higher than most other neighboring counties – it is not clear how much longer the Supervisors will be able to shield local voters from a tax rate increase.

Locality Real Estate Tax Rate Personal Property Tax Rate
Clarke 0.62 4.69
Loudoun 1.285 4.20
Fauquier 0.97 4.65
Rappahannock 0.58 4.20
Frederick 0.545 4.86
Warren 0.59 4.00
Page 0.64 4.64
Shenandoah 0.47 3.15
Rockingham 0.60 2.80
Augusta 0.48 2.25

 

Source: Clarke County, Virginia

“This is a question every locality in the country is asking as virtually every state has cut its support to local government and the Federal government is proposing drastic cuts to nearly every program” said John Staelin.   “It would be nice if locally elected officials could say that local governments will be able to find ways to fill in the gap without increasing local taxes but that is impossible. Certainly we are all trying to find new sources of revenue but new sources of revenue are hard to find in these troubled times.

Staelin said that he sees a combination of local tax increases and a closer examination of local spending occurring in localities across the country.

“Local government cannot be expected to fill in all the holes left by cuts in State and Federal spending” Staelin continued. “The good news for Clarke’s citizens is that the responsibility for local programs will shift to our locality versus Washington or Richmond. That will give Clarke’s citizens more control over how their tax dollars are spent.   The bad news is that local governments in Virginia have to rely on property taxes and are not allowed to tax income. That means Clarke County is not able to place the added tax burden on those with the greatest ability to pay. Property tax increases affect everyone regardless of income. Without the ability to tax income more and more of the tax burden in Clarke will end up falling on those with lower and middle incomes, something I do not want to see. We have joined with counties all across the Commonwealth to lobby for the right to charge a small local income tax but so far the General Assembly in Richmond has not heeded our requests.   Hopefully we will be more successful in the future.”

“There is no magic wand to wave that will generate funds to make up lost funding from federal and state sources” said Chairman Hobert. “Further, it is questionable to think local government can or should continue to fund all those activities for which the Commonwealth or the Federal Governments have reduced funding, defaulting responsibility for these decisions to local governments. Nevertheless, we do what we can reasonably do. We regularly evaluate our community needs and resources; We work to expand our tax base; We lobby the General Assembly to refrain from imposing additional unfunded mandates and to seek reform of tax laws.”

In the article “Senator Harry Flood Byrd of Virginia – The Pay-As-You-Go Man” author Richard F. Weingroff recounts a June, 1957 issue of  Highway Highlights  which includes an interview with Senator Byrd. Weingroff says that the unnamed reporter who conducted the interview described Byrd as: “White suited, white haired, a rather small man with great energy, unquestioning confidence and authority, he is tradition-rooted, but not tradition-bound. It is typical of him that the orchards he began on the land of his forefathers are a great present day success.”

The writer pointed out that roads – “laid on a solid ‘pay as you go’ foundation, of course” – had been the foundation of Byrd’s career.

Perhaps the underlying question still to be answered is whether Americans, and in particular Clarke County citizens, are willing to readjust their expectations of federal and state government revenue support for local projects by returning to the “pay-as-you-go” model championed by Clarke County’s most successful politician of the last century.

Harry Flood Byrd was appointed to fill a vacancy in the  United States Senate in 1933 and went on to win reelection as a Democrat from 1933 to 1964, a period that included the nation’s Great Depression.

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. My 2 Cents says:

    Berryville Grill and Subway cannot carry the load forever! We need more business in CC! Strip mall at Food Lion would be perfect! CVS would be awesome!

    • And in economic downturns such as the one we’re in now, that strip mall would probably be empty

  2. Because I Care says:

    Wake up call! Attract real, national chain businesses, starting with the 340 and 7 area, then some more at the 340 and 50 intersection AND then along with the solar panel farm, the 340 and 522 intersection. Enough traffic goes through each of these areas daily and are far enough detached so they won’t affect the country appeal or small town charm of Berryville or Boyce or White Post whatsoever. Phase it over 5-10 years starting now.

    • This is a good platform for a BOS candidate to support.

    • I don’t think it’s too late to do something like this, but Clarke probably missed the boat with development at Double Toll Gate. The new Wally World is going in right across the line in Frederick County and Front Royal has Target and the rest right down road

  3. Bville-Bud says:

    If you want to live somewhere with strip malls and lots of “national chain” stores, why don’t you move to somewhere that already has them? I like our current environment, I understand that things change, but have no desire to become the next Manassas Park or Sterling. You cannot undo a strip mall, let’s be smarter than that.

    • Duh...winning! says:

      So…the only option is to remain a locality that chooses to speak out of both sides of its mouth re economic development? Where there are no stores, other than dollar stores, to buy brand new clothes or shoes? Where the only pharmacy in the county is allowed to perpetuate hours that are not customer-friendly to a 21st-Century shopping public? I don’t want to see the massive build-out like in points east of us, but there has to be a better balance point than what we have.

      Without the proper water/sewer infrastructure, no sizable businesses will think to locate here. Without solid, dependable broadband Internet accessibility, even decent home-based businesses will be limited in where they can set up shop. Without a FT economic development director, we will be stuck with the ditherings of 4 members of the landed gentry seemingly more concerned with maintaining the status quo than anything else.

    • My 2 Cents says:

      B-Ville Bud, are you kidding me? One strip Mall would hardly compare us to Manassas Park or Sterling. Look at what you are typing. Why are you guys sooo afraid of change? What is it that drives you people? Its not gonna stay a one-horse town forever….

      • Clarke Eagle says:

        We are not afraid of change. We know what that change will bring and we don’t want it. I don’t want to see a strip mall where day laborers and others congregate all day and night long. If I want to see the day laborers I will just go to traffic court to see them shuffled through the system.

        Good luck to any BOS candidate that runs on a platform of bringing a national chain or strip mall to Clarke County. I am betting that is a losing proposition, although I could be wrong.

        What drives me and many others is that we would like Clarke to remain the quaint rural community that it is. If you want a Loudoun, Frederick, Fairfax, or Prince William county you have all those choices. Those counties have the strip malls and big box stores with all the traffic and crime. I don’t think we need to apologize for not wanting that in Clarke County.

        • My 2 Cents says:

          So, Clarke Eagle, are you telling me that 1 CVS would make Clarke County just like Loudoun, Frederick, Fairfax, or Prince William County????? If so, then you have some serious problems.. Its going to happen sooner than later. Then all you Loudoun County Newbies will have to move on somewhere else…..

        • CCHS2010 says:

          Dude…your post is bordering on racist in the 1st paragraph, and is overall kinda narrowminded. Nobody’s sayin build out a bunch of things like what you see along Rt. 11 in Winchester, but I gotta agree with those others who advocate for something. What y’all are ignoring is that a decent pharmacy, or a few other retail shops there by Food Lion would give more job opportunities to folks in this county…especially teens.

          • Clarke Eagle says:

            Ah another young mind warped. You need to get out and visit Leesburg, Sterling, Herndon, and Manassas. Ask those folks what they think of strip malls. You want job opportunities at one of those places move there. There is only one Clarke County and strip malls are a dime a dozen. What is the fascination with strip malls? Folks have hundreds of choices to move to if they want to be that close to a strip mall. We have a pharmacy but one is not enough?

            I am not sure what is racist about wanting laws regarding Illegal immigration to be enforced.

            Maybe you have been oblivious to the Watermelon Park events. Either way it does not matter. Let me be the first to offer you some pearls of wisdom. Twenty Years down the road when you will be about 40 and amnesty will have granted to 30 million illegals it might begin to dawn on what the true costs to all law abiding tax paying citizens. The best part will be that your generation will have to pay the majority of those costs. I don’t expect you to understand it or comprehend the scope of what will come to be but I wish I could see the look on your face when you have that aha moment twenty years from now. Of course I am assuming that you become a productive member of society that will have worked hard to achieve some level of success.

            It is good to see a young mind filled with so little understanding and so full of propaganda. Enjoy the Kool-Aid.

            It is my experience that ones who drop the racist card are in fact usual the ones who are racists themselves. Try taking a look in the mirror.

          • CCHS2010 says:

            Be careful of making assumptions…or you wind up being what the 1st syllable of that word indicates.

            Ya think that, just because I haven’t lived as long as you that I am not capable of lookin around and seeing the big picture, or of thinkin of possible ideas that might work? You sit smugly on your high horse and belittle anyone who doesn’t agree with you…yeah, that’s how to realte to others. Not! Dude, you should really get over yourself.

            1 pharmacy might be enough, if it were truly gonna have hours that work with most folks. I know my parents have, on more than one occassion, had to drive WAY out of their way to get a prescription filled when the one just a few blocks from our house wasn’t open…and I ain’t talkin about some crazy nighttime hour, either.

            Your snide remark about “day laborers” had nothing to do with commenting on enforcing illegal immigration laws; it was all about using such a description as a means to belittle the idea of a few classy shops there by Food Lion through demonizing and fear-mongering. Again, you think you’re better than everyone else, so you dismiss their ideas with a callous wave of your paw. Nice.

            Naw, Chief, you’re not better than anyone else.

    • virginiacop says:

      Bville-Bud, There are a whole lot of us that agree with you. I’m perfectly happy with things exactly as they are.

      • My 2 Cents says:

        Whole lot of you alright…. The ones who just moved here recently within the past 10 yrs….. Or the ones who are tight with the current business owners who are afraid that they will lose money if competition moves in……

  4. Smarter would be a second industrial park in the area of Double Tollgate.

  5. another view says:

    25,000 cars travel on Rt 7 west of Berryville ( http://www.virginiadot.org/info/resources/2009/AADT_021_Clarke_2009.pdf ) every single day. Most of these are Frederick County / Winchester commuters going to and from Northern Virginia to work. This traffic count is one of the highest in the area, a traffic count equivalent to Pleasant Valley Road.

    I suggest a upscale Creekside Shopping type complex (small village ambiance) with a Wegman’s as an anchor be set up on Route 7 to attract these commuters.

    Clarke County has sent hundreds of thousands of sales tax dollars to Winchester / Frederick County over the years. We should not only have a place for us to patronize, but it is time we get tax revenue from other sources.

    If done correctly it could even increase customers to the beloved, and protected, downtown businesses.

    • So how should the BOS/Planning Commission go about ordering Wegman’s to set up shop here in Clarke? [rolls eyes]

      • We make them an offer they can’t refuse, of course.

      • another view says:

        One thing for sure, if we don’t try it will never happen. Whether it is a Safeway, Krogers or Wegman’s we could use more than one Grocery Store for 14,000 people!

        I try to shop at Food Lion, but the selection is very limited. In Clarke County there seems to be only one of everything. One grocer, one pharmacist, one florist, one McDonalds, one hardware store, etc.

        How about a little competition!

      • Clarke Eagle says:

        A Wegmans store would not be located in Clarke County until the population reaches 50-75K people. Not enough people in Clarke County to generate the revenue per sq ft that is required to have a Wegmans in your neighborhood.

        All these people that want a big box store or another grocery store just don’t think about or understand the economics of this equation.

        • My 2 Cents says:

          All the economics you people think about is, making sure the current monoply stays rich and has no competition….. Remember when we first got a Food Lion, people were heck bent over that, and look what happened, its still in business and going strong…. Come on people! Quit with the scare tactics, I feel like I am watching FOX NEWS!

          • Clarke Eagle says:

            Maybe you are confused because of all the CNN and MSNBC you watch. I can’t say since I do not have cable or satellite TV service.

            I can say your comment about Fox News says all we need to know about you.

            Thankfully no matter how much we go back and forth on this subject the bottom line does not change. Clarke County has neither the Population or Per Capita income to support what some people are clamoring for here. You just can’t spin that no matter how much you try.

            Business are not like the government they have to earn a profit. The future of a Trader Joes or Wegmans will not be in Clarke County’s future in our lifetime.

    • I’m one of the idiots that makes this drive every day. I know on my way home after being at work all day and then having Luke Skywalker and his X-WIng Corrolla on my @$$ and putting up with all the other people that drive with their feet while texting and putting on makeup, the last thing I want to do is stop in Berryville. All I want to do is get home and get off the road.

      So while the count is high, I don’t thin too much of it would stop to shop or eat or whatever

      Just my 2 cents

    • been here a long time says:

      somehow I don’t believe those large number of commuters will stop here in Clarke. They have their eyes and cars on getting home, home to kids, dinner, etc. For example, have you been in traffic and had them play the in and out game to get ahead of you? Don’t think they are interested in stopping anywhere except home and the take out places.

      • Because I Care says:

        Hmm, with that reasoning then I wonder why the Target and Wal-Mart and all those other stores on 522 do so well in Front Royal? There certainly isn’t all that many residents living right there in that area! And why is there ANOTHER Wal-Mart being built on the Frederick county side of 522? There aren’t as many residents in that immediate area either.

        • I’m thinking the “why” as in why these stores are at these locations, as well as there subsequent success, could be answered by the companies’ research and development divisions.

          • another view says:

            Companies have probably done research and development on Clarke County and came to the realization that the current BOS are against anything being built that won’t fit into an established building on Main Street.

          • Clarke Eagle says:

            Sure CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, etc backdown every time they encounter negative political feedback and pushback. They never challenge or go against that political push back.

            Little old Clarke County BOS is so scary that this big multinational companies always back down from fights from the local political establishment. geez.

        • Duh...winning! says:

          Ummm…the new Target and Walmart are there because (A) it’s right near two (2) major commuter arteries – I66 & Rt.522; (B) that intersection is the primary gateway out of Hell Town (I mean, Front Royal) and thus Warren County; (C) downtown Front Royal doesn’t have the space for a large store like those (recall that the dang-fool idea of building the Walmart on the flood plain south of Riverton @ Rt.55 & Rt522 was vociferously defeated several years ago); and (D) Warren County and the Town of Front Royal had the foresight to drop coin and run water/sewer infrastructure to those sites as well as what is there for the Inland Port, DuPont, etc.

          If you build the infrastructure, businesses will more likely show up. The CC industrial park filled with tenants because of this very reason. Waterloo…not so much because “pump and haul” really isn’t a solution; it’s like a restrictor plate at Daytona.

          • Because I Care says:

            But you see, my point is, those areas along 522 are full of COMMUTERS not residents, so the statement made that COMMUTERS would not stop if Clarke County had these stores instead of Front Royal or Frederick county is not viable!

          • Isn’t there sewage capacity from old Camp 7? It wouldn’t support residential development, but it might be enough to jump-start some light industry.

            An even bolder move would be to enter into a cooperative agreement with Frederick County.

            I keep mentioning Double Toll Gate because of it’s proximity to I-81, I-66, and the inland port. The Waterloo area could also support a second industrial park, imho.

    • Because I Care says:

      Some seem to believe commuters would not stop. See below. I for one don’t believe it one bit. Excuses, excuses.

      • Imho these beliefs are wishes. The companies mentioned select their sites carefully, and I’m thinking their beliefs are that through-traffic isn’t enough to justify placement.

  6. Tugs Dad says:

    to: “another view”

    YES YES YES!!! I agree!!! but it will never happen. It’s a smart plan but the people who own land in that area will never sell for something like this to go in. The BOD is asleep behind the wheel and only wishes to waste more and more money on useless studies to develop in bad locations. CC BOD is a joke.

  7. lovethisplace says:

    holy cow, one, or even two, nicely built strip malls with a grocery store, drugstore, etc., will not doom this county. People do stop at Nall’s for example on the way home. I’m one of them. I refuse to shop at Food Lion the way it is now. The Wal Mart in Front Royal is very nicely displayed…not the usual blue box. NOT that I advocate a WalMart here.

    Wegmans, Trader Joes, or some other nice chain grocery. I’m sick of driving to Winchester. How much of Clarke’s money goes there? Even a decent place for local veggies, fruit, and meat would be nice. And a drugstore. Maybe, just maybe, if you build it they will come. Or, just continue on with increased property taxes. Improvement does not mean we will be Loudoun County. Get that phobia out of your minds.

    And stop with the if you don’t like it move. If YOU don’t like it enjoy the increase in taxes and drive to Winchester.

    No one wants “competition” in this town/county, but that is the American Way. Things improve with competition.

  8. Clarke 1 says:

    Good post lovethisplace! Its the old-timers who fear the change the most. They are afraid that their buddies will lose some business…. If it doesn’t benefit them financially, they will bash it! Who in their right mind wouldn’t go for a CVS or something up near Food Lion? Somewhere that is open past 5pm that people would shop. I would really like to know how one or two little, I emphasize little, box stores would not make us Loudoun County…. What are you people seriously afraid of????

  9. Remember when Tysons Corner was a four way stop? With woods all around. Once it’s changed, it’s forever

    • My 2 Cents says:

      Once again, 1 strip mall or just 1 chain store wouldn’t make us Tyson’s Corner! Geez, you people sound horrible! I bet all these old-timers are still losing sleep over the Subway that was put in town… Oh well, I guess I should be thankful that we got that… Oh yeah, and 2 Dollar Stores along with 2, 7-11’s…..

  10. BlossomButt says:

    The fact of the matter is, large companies dont always choose a new site based solely upon the population of the town/county where it is located, but also the traffic that would pass by. However, they do their homework and research and are well aware of the opposition they would face with the current BOS. Why bother? There are plenty of other places to put up shop, like right across the county line. How many of you have wanted to take something nice home for dinner and had to drive into Frederick County to do so? Sure, we have places in Berryville, but 4-5 choices, and, if you dont like pizza or chinese, then you are really limited. The local grocery store is a joke for selection and quality. The local drug store is a joke when it comes to getting medications after 6pm (when most are just arriving home from the drive). Thankfully our local doctor has wised up with Care Clinic and Saturday hours plus later evening hours. Have you ever wanted to get a prescription refilled on a Saturday or Sunday, late afternoon or evening? Unheard of in Clarke, which is why my prescriptions are filled at CVS, so I have more options for refills. All that tax money going to Frederick. While I am on my way there or home, I stop and get gas at the easy to access locations. All that tax money going to Frederick. While there, I take the family out to eat at any of the multitude of options available. All that tax money going to Frederick. I am not saying we need multiple gas stations, restaurants, etc. But every time someone gets pulled out of the county for one reason, they inevitably spend money at other locations out of county as well. There is not one person who reads this that can effectively argue that allowing one or two stores, such as a better pharmacy, or food store, or small chain restaurant, would be detrimental to the small town feel and instantly turn us into Loudoun or Winchester. The county could easily adopt a master growth plan that would allow no more than a certain number of new businesses, limited by size, location, etc. BUT do not limit these new businesses by the amount of competition they would give to the small local businesses. Competition is good, drives prices down and gives the consumer more options. If the small town pharmacy or restaurant is worried about the competition, then they will be forced to start operating like a normal business and cater to their customers, not their wallet.

  11. “The county could easily adopt a master growth plan that would allow no more than a certain number of new businesses, limited by size, location, etc. BUT do not limit these new businesses by the amount of competition they would give to the small local businesses.”

    You are aware that there is a plan in place; one of the few examples in VA of a success at limiting growth.

    http://www.clarkecounty.gov/planning/comprehensive-plan.html

    • BlossomButt says:

      Yes, I am aware of the “plan” that is currently on the books. I am talking about a reasonable plan, one that actually benefits the residents of Clarke County and actually answers to the majority of residents. FYI, I am a 26 year resident of Clarke, so I have lots invested here and by no means am a transplant from the East. I do not even want a Purcellville type town, let alone Winchester, but again, we need a few more places for options. Think about the comments made here if they were put in the same context for churches. You only need one, why more than one? If you want more church options, move east. Same principle. We can have a dozen “antique” shops, small town repair places, hair cut options, etc., but talk about adding something that actually caters to the majority and everyone starts getting all up in arms.