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Warrenton candidates differ on WARF

Thursday, May. 1 | By Jonathan Hunley
Candidates discuss the issues at Wednesday night's forum, sponsored by Fauquier Times.
Fauquier Times Staff Photo/Randy Litzinger
The four candidates for the two at-large seats on Warrenton's Town Council addressed issues including funding for the municipality's athletic center in a wide-ranging candidates forum Wednesday night.

Incumbents David A. Norden and Roger R. Martella Jr. defended the Warrenton Aquatic and Recreation Facility as a vital public service, while challengers L.P. "Sunny" Reynolds and Sean M. Polster questioned the operation.

Norden noted that the WARF cost more than $22 million to build and that Warrenton paid about half of the bill in cash.

Financing the remainder of the construction is the only debt the town carries, said the municipality's vice mayor.

"We didn't raise anybody's taxes to pay for it," he said.

Some have criticized the WARF for running at an operational budget deficit.

But Martella, who has joined his colleague Norden to run as a team, said that providing the WARF's services to residents is so important that the town should subsidize the facility until it can pay for itself.

"I'm OK with that right now," he said.

Reynolds, however, suggested the town find more corporate sponsors for the WARF and perhaps explore solar panels to more economically heat pool waters.

And Polster noted that he and his family use the WARF regularly, but he said it's important for the town to run as a business, seeking not to lose money.

"I want to make sure we're good stewards of everything the public entrusts us with," he said.

Town voters will pick two at-large council members and select a mayor when they go to the polls Tuesday.

Councilman Powell L. Duggan is unopposed in the race to succeed Mayor George Fitch, who is not seeking re-election.

For more on Wednesday night's event, which was sponsored by Fauquier Times, FauquierNow.com and the Fauquier County Chamber of Commerce, see the May 2 edition of Fauquier Friday.

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