Government News Round-Up: Legal Fight Over Government Center Edges Closer, Barns Board Formalizes Town and County Seats, DMV May Be Coming to Berryville

Air conditioning cooling problems that have remained unresolved at the Clarke County Joint Government Center since the building opened in 2008 may be a step closer to litigation. The Joint Government Center building committee, made up of officials from both Clarke County and the Town of Berryville, agreed today to solicit bids from firms to correct the problems and use taxpayer funds to pay for the renovations. The committee also said that it had reached agreement with the Barns of Rose Hill on filling two Barns board of director’s spots.

The Joint Government Center building committee, made up of County Supervisor David Weiss (Buckmarsh), Councilman Alan Kitselman (Ward Two), County administrator David Ash and Berryville town manager Keith Dalton, today recommended to the Clarke Supervisors and Berryville Town Council that Joint Administrative Services director Tom Judge prepare a request for proposal document for soliciting bids to correct the building’s HVAC problems.

The announcement came following a closed session meeting between the committee and County attorney Bob Mitchell. The closed session was conducted privately to discuss “probably litigation” issues related to the facility.

Joint Government Center staff members continue to complain of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) issues and problems related to temperature and humidity control in the building. When discussions with the building’s architect, Baughan and Baukhages Architects of Lurray, Virginia, and construction contractor Brechbill & Helman Construction Company of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania failed to resolve the problems in late 2010, county officials retained engineering firm Potomac Energy Group, Inc. to document the issues and suggest solutions.

After reviewing the PEG report in early December, 2010 Clarke County’s Joint Administrative Services committee directed attorney Robert Mitchell to draft a settlement agreement with Brechbill & Helman Construction Company. The move absolved Brechbill & Helman of liability and indicated that the County believes that Baughan and Baukhages has responsibility for correcting the problems.

“The building committee feels that repairs to the Joint Government Center need to be made as quickly as they can be,” said Supervisor Weiss. “We have worked patiently with the architect and engineer as they have taken steps to resolve the building’s problems but believe that more substantial steps are needed and we have decided to take them.”

Sponseller to Represent Berryville on Barns’s Board

The Barns of Rose Hill has formally designated two of its board of director spots for appointment by the Board of Supervisors and the Town of Berryville. The designation change elevates the Barns to “Tier 2” status for gaining priority to JGC meeting space and eliminates rental fees associated with use.

Government entities are designated as “Tier 1” users and have first priority to meeting rooms. Requests from the general public are designated as “Tier 3” requests.

The Berryville Town council has appointed former Berryville mayor Richard Sponseller to the new board seat. The Clarke County Board of Supervisor’s has yet to appoint a representative for its seat.

Mobile DMV Office May Make Berryville Appearance

If driving to the Winchester Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office only to then stand in a long line waiting to resolve an automobile problem sounds like more time than you want to invest, there’s now hope for a shorter drive.

Town Manager Keith Dalton said that he hopes to convince the DMV to send its thirty-two-foot long mobile service center to the JGC parking lot two-to-three times over the next year.

“The mobile DMV center can provide all of the same services as a regular DMV office,” Dalton said. “We have a DMV facility in the County, but this unit would offer services that the current office is unable to.”

Dalton said that if the DMV request is successful the unit would set-up shop in the County parking lot.

“If there is a demand for the service I agree that we need to give it a try,” said County administrator David Ash.

“It would sure be convenient for folks,” added Kitselman.

No specific timeframe for the implementing the plan was discussed although Dalton said that he plans to follow-up on the matter immediately.


  1. Sharon Strickland says:

    I think this is an excellent idea! Many seniors and other folks will find it a blessing to not have to drive to Winchester. We spend enough time on the road to get the things we cannot buy in Berryville.