Purcellville VA, A Strong Outlook for the Future

Purcellville VA, A Strong Outlook for the Future

Mayor Kwasi Fraser will present his State of the Town Address to citizens on February 12th.  As a preview, Fraser recently outlined key elements attributing to Purcellville’s continued attraction to businesses, residents and future growth.

One bottom line aspect—Purcellville had no increase in taxes.

“With over $115 million in assets owned by Purcellville, we are well positioned to pursue strategies to significantly reduce our debt burden and invest in our community without dependency on high taxes and out of character development.  The more our assets can generate revenue the less taxes and fees will be needed from our citizens,” said Fraser.

The general fund revenues exceeded budget projections by $697,559 in 2017 while 2017 expenditures were $685,936 less than budget.

The largest expenditure savings was seen in public works and residents will not have water and sewer rate increases.

One of the highlights has been non-tax revenue generation vs. typical government, also known as tax and then spend.

Several examples are the generation of $344,718.07 in non-tax revenue through forestry management selective cut program, the sale of an underperforming town-owned asset resulting in $300,000 revenue and a projected $107,000 in additional annual revenue from strategic investment of taxpayers’ reserves into the Virginia Investment Pool.

Concerning the town’s net position, it increased by $5,109,132, with $1,216,075 associated with governmental activities and $3,893,057 from business-type or utility activities.

The governmental fund’s total fund balance was $8.8 million, with $6.7 million unassigned and available for future spending.

Fraser noted, the town’s forward-thinking strategy to decrease debt, which included the issuance of the 2017A and 2017B refunding bonds and early payoff of the 2010 RBC bond saved taxpayers millions over the next decade.

“Fiscal stewardship, innovation, and excellence in service delivery equates to positive economic results in Purcellville.  Great staff and great citizens define a great community,” said Fraser.

While the town also kept water and sewer rates from any increase, the water and sewer fund debt has been realigned in order to minimize user rate increases over the next decade, resulting in over 50% reduction in the projected water and sewer fee increases.

Another action was the restructure of the parks and recreation tax-exempt debt to taxable to remove private use restrictions and expand revenue flexibility which ultimately allowed the pursuit of public-private partnerships in the parks and recreation fund to manage and support the Fireman’s Field assets.

“Effectively managing the Utility Enterprise fund is the key to debt reduction and enabling our citizens to hold on to more of their hard-earned money.  This fund would not be called the utility enterprise if it was not meant to be managed as an enterprise,” said Fraser.

In 2017, 43 new businesses registered in Purcellville while three businesses expanded, seven businesses relocated and two major businesses completed a rebuild and expansion.

The town’s credit ratings have also been stellar—AAA with a “stable outlook” by Standard & Poor’s, Aa2 from Moody’s Investors Services AA with a “positive outlook” from Fitch.

“Our stellar credit rating sets Purcellville way above most towns in the United States.  It will be difficult to identify five towns in the United States, the size of Purcellville, with such excellent credit rating and economic value,” said Fraser.

Recently, the town was placed in a position to complete a top-down operational audit to optimize and transform the organization after the long-time town manager retired amid vision and direction differences with elected officials.

The operational audit will assess the people, systems, and processes to identify actionable data to improve operations across the board.  The assessment will include a compensation study, and review of job titles, job descriptions, and roles.  Several employees have left in recent years due to lack of upward mobility and rewarding projects to work on.

In the meantime, the search for a qualified town manager has led to many applications being submitted.

“After receiving 29 applications for the Town Manager position, Vice Mayor Ogelman and I were asked to lead this effort to this point and worked with our Interim Town Manager, John Anzivino, to narrow the pool of candidates,” said town council member Ryan Cool.

To fill the void of a town manager, the town council unanimously appointed Anzivino as the interim town manager.  Anzivino has over 25 years’ experience in state and local government serving as the town manager of Warrenton for more than 12 years, as well as being the county administrator of Caroline and Amelia counties and past president of the Virginia Association of County Administrators.

Anzivino is providing guidance and stability to ensure continued operational success and will also assist the town council to narrow the candidate pool for town manager and assist with the transition.

Anzivino’s experience has already helped the council structure the timeline and process for interviewing town manager candidates which begins in February.  This includes four stages—candidate interviews with department heads, two rounds of interviews with all town council members and a negotiation process.

“Each member of Council was also asked to review applicant submissions and provide their narrowed candidate lists.  The first round of interviews will be with each Town Staff Department Head as these individuals carry out daily functions and administration of the Town and are an important factor in determining their new CEO,” said Cool.  “They will not be ranking the individuals, but rather providing feedback to Council based on their assessment from responses to their interview questions.”

“Thanks to John’s [Anzivino] extensive experience in this process, we have a set schedule and are ready to have this selection made by the 1st week of March,” said Cool. “We will enter into negotiations, and plan to have the new Town Manager in place by April 2.”

Adding to Fraser’s positive outlook for the town, Anzivino is clearly optimistic about the town’s position and future.

“Purcellville has an engaged governing body and a hard-working and competent staff that I have found cares a great deal about the services they provide to the citizens of the community. I feel confident that the new Manager, when chosen by the Council, will have the full support of staff; and the staff and Manager working with Council will continue to maintain and improve upon current service levels while protecting the assets that have made Purcellville a great place to live,” said Anzivino.

Mayor Fraser will be presenting the State of the Town Address to residents on Monday, February 12, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. at the Town Hall, 221 South Nursery Avenue Purcellville, VA.

Brian Reynolds