Planning Commission has mixed reaction to short-term tourist rentals and data centers – Royal Examiner

The Warren County Board of Supervisors (BOS) received briefings at its Tuesday, July 12, town hall meeting from county staff on proposed salary increases, a new compensation structure and an ePacket management process, and learned of a new parachute company operating at the front. Royal Warren County Airport.

Albert and Julie van Jaarsveld (left and right), owners of Skydive Front Royal, detailed how their new venture will work with the city and county during Tuesday’s supervisors’ working session.

BOS President Cheryl Cullers, Vice President Delores Oates and Members Jerome Butler, Vicky Cook and Walter Mabe attended the approximately two hour working session. Cook invited Albert and Julie van Jaarsveld, owners and operators of Skydive Front Royal, to provide BOS with an informal presentation “so that everyone understands what the company does” at the airport, where she said many exciting things were happening. .

Albert van Jaarsveld, originally from South Africa, came to the United States about 11 years ago to practice skydiving, met his future wife, Julie, originally from Warren County, and in 2018 returned to the area from Georgia to be closer to his family. .

Albert van Jaarsveld has over 12 years of skydiving experience and holds multiple licenses, is a professional trainer and tandem master, and is an experienced resident tandem instructor. He has nearly 3,000 parachute jumps and over 2,000 tandem jumps, which means he takes passengers with him on a parachute jump.

Skydive Front Royal currently has a commercial license to operate and will provide tandem jumps using the Sigma Dual parachute system manufactured by United Parachute Technologies, who build skydiving harness/container systems for sport and military use.

Van Jaarsveld said Skydive Front Royal will begin operations using a Cessna 182 aircraft which will take two pairs in tandem, or two clients at a time for the jumps. If the business grows, he said, they might buy a bigger plane “but we’ll see how that goes.”

In fact, if the business does well over the next few years, the van Jaarsvelds would also like to set up a school where they could train paratroopers, he said, adding that “for now we will only tandem jumps”.

The owners of the company have reviewed their standard operating procedures, which include a registration of customers. To take a tandem jump, customers must have federally issued identification, sign an extended waiver to cover all parties involved, be 18 years of age or older and fit to skydive, and weigh less than 240 pounds.

Julie and Albert van Jaarsveld (above, left and right) also told BOS members that they were happy and excited to work with the community and the local airport to make their business a success.

“We are joining the Chamber of Commerce and will work closely with other outdoor businesses to promote Warren County and increase foot traffic for tourism in our town,” said Julie van Jaarsveld, who added that Skydive Front Royal also plans to provide opportunities for community fundraisers, as well as for new commercial pilots to come and build flight hours.

“And with our operation we create several job opportunities,” said Albert van Jaarsveld.

The business will operate Thursday through Monday, with days off on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Salary structure, salaries, bonuses
Warren County Human Resources Director Jane Meadows discussed proposals for a new compensation structure, as well as salary increases and vacation payouts.

For example, with respect to the county’s method of pay structure, it currently has a hybrid grade/step structure that is more controlled with less opportunity to offer employees increases that result from time with the organization and adequate performance.

“We want to get away from that and recognize performance,” Meadows told BOS.

County staff are proposing to move to a pay band structure in which compensation would be focused on the position and value to the organization rather than the individual in the position. This would create clearly defined upper and lower salary limits for specific positions and clear determinants – such as experience, education, performance, increased complexity, new/upgraded skills – to indicate where an employee is placed at the within the band and the process of promotion to a higher band.

A performance-based system, Meadows said, would allow the county to better attract and retain talent, and she said the pay band system would help provide competitive salaries in the local market and compensate employees for skills. they bring to the county or achieve while working for the county.

“Wage brackets would also help with staffing issues,” Meadows said, “and we want to make sure we’re doing the right thing for employees.”

Cullers said she was happy to hear about this proposed change.

“You encourage performance, encourage education – you encourage all good things,” Oates confirmed.

Regarding merit increases, county employees who demonstrate outstanding performance over the previous year based on the annual employee performance review would receive a merit increase of up to 2%, a said Meadows, who said his office realizes that this is both an ongoing process that should be budgeted for and that it would take time to fully fund.

Meadows also presented information on vacation payments and a salary incentive proposal for employees who maintain additional Advanced Life Saving (ALS) certifications.

The current policy is that paid time off for non-exempt employees who are scheduled or called to work on designated county holidays are paid for the hours worked. County staff are proposing that sheriff’s office employees who work holidays receive a maximum of eight hours of compensatory time classified as paid vacation, while fire department employees receive payment for overtime rather than compensatory time or compensation. holidays.

Meadows explained that currently the county has 84 employees with vacation balances that were not used in the 2021-22 fiscal year. To pay accrued annual leave balances, it would be $144,000 if paid before August 1, 2022.

The recommendation for payment of funding is a request to carry over from the 2021-2022 fiscal year and to plan for future vacation by revising the policy to allow employees who are required to work on statutory holidays to use vacation within 30 days. or getting paid for the time, Meadows explained.

With respect to the ALS salary incentive proposal, Warren County employees who maintain additional ALS certifications would be eligible to receive an allowance. For example, an advanced level provider would receive a $3,000 allowance, while a mid-level officer would receive a $4,500 allowance, and a paramedic level officer would receive a $6,000 allowance.

Warren County Fire and Rescue Chief James Bonzano (above) recommended the one-time incentive payments in May and during the working session provided context for the request, saying 84% of its service’s call volume is related to EMS services.

“We are fighting a significant number of fires in this community, especially with response times and burn times,” Bonzano said, noting that there is also an exceptionally high number of people in emergencies being transported. who “are very ill”.

Therefore, Bonzano said, “the idea of ​​incentivizing Advanced Life Support for our providers makes tremendous sense.”

Without such incentives, Meadows said, the county could experience “significant gaps” in recruiting and retaining qualified professionals who want to continue improving and advancing their vital skills, among other advanced certifications.

E-packets could save time and money
Warren County Board Assistant Clerk Emily Ciarrocchi provided BOS members with an update on the status of the process for electronic packet management, or e-packet, proposals.

In January, she discussed the benefits of transitioning to ePacket Management for Warren County Boards and Commissions – such as saving staff time and money – and, together with the Chief Technology Officer of the county and the deputy director of finance, contacted several suppliers who provide such solutions, watched demonstrations of the various products and received proposals from two suppliers, CivicClerk and Granicus.

Ciarrocchi reviewed both options and said the county’s Technology Review Board will also review both options and provide a recommendation to the BOS for software and hardware.

The total cost of the CivicClerk system for one year would be $7,110. The Granicus system would cost $11,000 for one year or $11,700 for two years, increasing each year to almost $14,419 in the fifth year, she said. Funding for the chosen system would be through the Technology Council’s post in the county’s asset replacement fund.

While no motion was needed from the board, Ciarrocchi said the staff would like the BOS to come to a consensus on which company/product to move forward on.

All staff items will be on the agenda for formal consideration by the BOS at its July 19 meeting.

Watch the July 12 working session in its entirety at:

Comments are closed.