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Capital improvement plan:


City of Charles Town, West Virginia


December 2003



Table of Contents




2.1 Fire and Rescue. 4

2.2 Municipal Facilities. 5

2.3 Municipal Parking. 6

2.4 Libraries. 7

2.5 Parks and Recreation. 7

2.6 Hospital Facilities. 8

2.7 Police Department 8

2.8 Transportation. 10


3.1 Population Projections. 11

3.2 Future Needs. 12

3.2.1 Fire and Rescue. 12

3.2.2 Municipal Facilities. 15

3.2.3 Municipal Parking. 16

3.2.4 Libraries. 17

3.2.5 Parks and Recreation. 18

3.2.6 Hospitals. 19

3.2.7 Police Department 19

3.2.8 Transportation. 21

3.3 Future Resources. 22



5.1 Financial Responsibility. 27

5.2 Budgeting. 28

5.3 Financing Sources. 31

Additional Sources of Capital 31

Grants. 31

Public borrowing. 32

Subsidized Loans. 32


Continued Input 34

Appendix A – Continued Input Forms. 36







            The city of Charles Town is undergoing unprecedented growth through annexations and new development. Much of this growth is due to Charles Town’s proximity to the Washington/Baltimore metropolitan area. To plan for this growth, the City has set out to develop this Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). This CIP will serve as a roadmap for the upcoming developmental years of Charles Town as it prepares for this unprecedented growth. The CIP also serves to estimate the recommended level of financial participation on the part of the developers of new residential neighborhoods in Charles Town. Capital expenses are those that a local government allocates to projects with a lasting lifespan. For this study, capital projects are defined by improvements with a value of greater than $10,000 and a useful life of at least 5 years.

            Charles Town is a small, growing community located in the far eastern panhandle of West Virginia. It is approximately ten miles from the Maryland and Virginia borders, and approximately 65 miles from Washington, DC. There are approximately 3,000 residents of the City according to the 2000 U.S. Census. The City has annexed the communities of Huntfield, Norbourn Glebe, the Wu property (County Green), the Winchester Cold Storage property, Spruce Hill, Green Meadows, and Craighill Estates. The annexation of Huntfield is the most significant of the current development plans, and the plans are far enough along to offer detailed information. It is estimated that the City would add 8,275 new residents and 1,877 new students over the 20 year build out period of Huntfield. The developers have proposed a schedule of development to take place over a 15-20 year period.      The other developments would combine to have approximately 2,330 new housing units and 6,253 new residents. Table 1-1 provides a summary of the expected new developments.

Table 1-1


            Huntfield is the largest of the annexations, and will have the most profound impact in the existing community. The Huntfield Development plans cover an area of approximately 1,040 acres of previously undeveloped land. The development would be made up of 3,200 residential housing units, 200,000 square feet of retail and commercial office space, 130 acres designated for recreational and natural uses, 10 acres designated for civic uses, and 75 acres to be donated to the Board of Education for the location of  new schools. The residential development would consist of 1,947 single family homes, 803 town houses, and 450 apartment units. The 200,000 square feet of commercial space is planned to be evenly split (100,000 square feet each) between retail and commercial office space. This development and annexation would significantly increase the population and employment within the City.

            The City has entered into proffer agreements with the developers of each of the annexed properties. These proffer agreements provide the details of the responsibility of the developers to the City with regards to bearing the cost of the fiscal impacts. These proffers require the developers to cover the additional operational and capital expenses borne by the City to service the new communities. In order to determine the portion of the impacts that the developer is responsible for, the first step is to assess the current conditions of the City of Charles Town. The focus of this study is to specifically study the capital impacts of the anticipated growth, organize a plan to meet the needs of the current and future residents, and determine the appropriate shares of the cost to meet these needs.

            The City of Charles Town has already studied the expected operational impacts (costs in excess of expected new tax revenues) associated with new development, and established a per-unit proffer fee for operational costs of $700.  This operational fee is in addition to the capital development proffer fee that is considered in this Capital Improvement Plan study.

            Often times a portion of these capital improvements are generated through the assessment of impact fees on the developer of the property. This cost is generally passed on to the consumer, or the future resident of the new property. This is considered an equitable means of assessing the costs of improvement, as the future residents will ultimately benefit from the capital improvements implemented. These fees allow the government to recoup additional costs to accommodate the new development.

            Expanding communities and growing cities bring with them both new revenue generating capability and additional expenditure burden to a local government. It is often easier to acknowledge the increased revenue potential from further real estate, personal property, and sales taxes than it is to identify the added expenditures necessary to provide the new development with water and waste water treatment, educational facilities, and public safety. There are, of course, many other expenditure demands on a local government as well as several additional revenue generating factors. In order to accurately levy a proffer agreement, all facets of both sides of the balance sheet must be evaluated carefully.

            The remainder of this report is organized as follows. Section II includes a discussion of the existing conditions in Charles Town. Section III provides an overview of expected future conditions and the resulting greater need for City capital projects. Section IV presents a prioritization of proposed projects as well as estimated costs. Section V offers financing alternatives, including an analysis of responsibility for the capital costs. Finally, Section VI provides a summary and recommendations.




            The existing conditions of the City, and its capital needs, were determined through a series of interviews with City and County (Jefferson County) officials. The interviews were conducted on an individual basis in order to determine the current and future needs of the City. Specific areas evaluated include:

·       Fire and Rescue

·       Municipal Facilities

·       Municipal Parking

·       Libraries

·       Parks and Recreation

·       Hospital Facilities

·       Police Department, and

·       Transportation


            This CIP does not address capital fees associated with wastewater and drinking water facilities. These fees have already been established by the Charles Town Utility Board and City Council.

            This section discusses the findings of the interview process, and includes input from the Capital Improvements Planning Committee to provide a summary of the existing conditions of capital in the City of Charles Town.

2.1 Fire and Rescue

There are currently two fire departments that serve the fire and rescue needs of Charles Town and the surrounding areas, Independent Fire Company (located in Ranson) and Citizens Fire Company (located in Charles Town). Both of the fire departments operate on a volunteer basis and fund themselves through fund-raising efforts. Neither the City nor the County provide any substantial financial support to the fire and rescue services. Each fire department has an annual budget of approximately one half million dollars. This includes the money that is spent on capital improvements each year. An example of recent capital improvements was provided by Independent Fire Company. In 1999 the company purchased a new engine for about $350,000. The year before that, the company purchased a new tanker. They are also currently bidding on a new ambulance. Citizens Fire Company recently expanded their station house and added additional equipment to suit the needs of current residents.

The state of the fire service in Charles Town can be described as stretched, but sufficient to meet current City needs. The fire departments are finding it difficult to recruit and maintain enough volunteers as well as fund-raise the necessary funds to operate and equip the departments. Independent Fire Company has plans to build an addition on their fire house and purchase a multi-purpose rescue truck in order to keep pace with the needs of the City. The department is planning and maintaining its equipment and capital needs to serve the existing community. There is a strong belief that the fire departments will need to become a paid system within the next five years. This would mean that the local government would have to financially support fire and rescue services or support the fire and rescue departments. The County currently provides a partially funded Ambulance Authority that is operated in conjunction with Independent Fire Company. The County provides staffing and support for eight hours per day, while the volunteers man this service 24 hours per day. No plans to increase this support were stated in the interviews with County officials.

2.2 Municipal Facilities

            Municipal facilities are currently maintained and operated by the City itself, or contracted to outside vendors for large capital projects. The types of projects that would be included in capital improvements to municipal facilities would be: building improvements, road repair, City Hall upgrades, and city equipment. City equipment, such as trucks and lawn mowers, is used to maintain the aesthetic appeal of the City and in many ways often goes unnoticed to the average citizen. The upkeep of public facilities is nonetheless important to maintaining a city center that attracts business and consumers. The City is currently working on a downtown revitalization project that is intended to return a “Main Street” feel to the downtown area.

            Building improvements and the maintenance of City Hall equipment is also critical to the functioning of the local government. As the city grows the space and equipment necessary to operate the city government will expand as well. City Hall is currently operating at full capacity. In fact, many meetings and programs are scheduled for the evening hours in order to avoid conflict in the building. The City owns the entire building on the corner of Washington St. and North George St., but the second floor is currently rental space. While the City could benefit from using the full space the building has to offer, there are financial benefits from using the second floor as rental space. The mortgage on the property has several years before it is paid in full. At that time, the City plans to discontinue the rental agreement and utilize that space for City’s needs. This should be sufficient to meet the current needs of the City with regards to office and storage space and meeting facilities.

2.3 Municipal Parking

            Parking within the City is severely limited and was mentioned as a concern from several interviewed sources. Unfortunately, as the City grows and roads are expanded to accommodate for this growth, the parking situation will only get worse as a result of lost street parking. At this point the City does not have any parking garages, and only regulates a small number of municipal parking spaces. These are operated via parking meters, which have low fees (currently, ten cents per hour). The parking meter fees have been maintained at their low level in order to accommodate business owners who fear lost business from increase parking fees. By offering this inexpensive metered parking downtown, the City has essentially been granting minor subsidization to businesses that locate in the downtown area. Parking is likely to have an impact on the success of downtown businesses. The City’s actions have been important to encouraging a thriving business community in downtown Charles Town. In order to maintain this support the City may be interested in continuing to supply downtown parking. This will become a more important issue as the downtown area begins to feel the growth of the annexations and development.

2.4 Libraries

            The subject of libraries offers a unique situation to the discussion of capital improvements for Charles Town. The County has the authority to manage public libraries using State funding. The City has its own private library (The Old Charles Town Library) that is funded through a private trust. Although, the County operates three public libraries, the City’s private library houses the majority of volumes in the entire County, and it serves more than just the residents of Charles Town. The private library houses approximately 40,000 volumes in almost 8,000 sq. feet of building space. The West Virginia Library Working Standards (1992) require minimum levels of 0.6 sq. feet of space per capita and between 2.13 and 2.53 volumes per capita. The Old Charles Town Library meets these minimum standards for serving the citizens of Charles Town, but this library also serves to offset the deficit in space and volume provided by County libraries (Jefferson County, 2003).

            The private library is currently operating at well above its annual income from the funding trust. Conversations with the library staff and County officials revealed that if the library came under County control, its budget would be severely decreased, from about $300,000 per year to about $50,000 per year. Of the current budget, approximately 10% is used to fund the purchase of new materials. This portion of the budget is considered annual capital expenses of the library, as well as any expansions or improvements to the facility or additional equipment purchases such as computers and photocopiers.

2.5 Parks and Recreation

            Charles Town does not currently operate any public parks or recreation facilities. There are park and recreation lands within the City limits. One such area is operated and financed through a private non-profit organization. This park contains the only municipal swimming pool in the County. The other areas are all maintained and financed by the County. The County owns seven parks in Jefferson County, totaling approximately 240 acres. These are currently available to serve the recreation needs of the County’s 45,000 residents. This is approximately five acres per 1,000 people, which does not meet national standards. The general rule of thumb is that local governments should provide ten acres per 1,000 population of park land.[1] Judging by these standards, the County does not provide sufficient park space to meet the current needs of the citizens.

            In 2002, Charles Town acquired approximately 60 acres of land (the Knoll Property). These acres, as well as other donated spaces have been designated by the City to remain open space and wetlands. Consideration for the development of this land into recreation facilities may be warranted.

2.6 Hospital Facilities

            The Jefferson County Memorial Hospital, located in Ranson, is a private, not for profit business. There are several issues of concern regarding the hospital. First, there is insufficient parking. Second, management is currently deciding on how best to expand, or move locations. Third, accessibility has occasionally proved to be a problem as a result of the railroad tracks. At this time, the City and County have no involvement in the operation or capital costs of the hospital. This is the appropriate way to operate this facility. The City and County are not large enough to provide a publicly funded hospital facility. The private market should determine the fate of the hospital. It will continue to operate and serve the needs of the residents simply because there is a demand to fill. Any expansion should be handled by the business decisions of the private hospital through their own issuance of bonds or other means to raise capital.

2.7 Police Department

            The City Police Department is currently the largest single budget category for the City. The budget consumes approximately 50% of the annual City budget, as compared to the national municipal average of 25%. The Police Department has been revamped over the past seven years. In this time, the department has grown in both numbers and effectiveness. It is clearly a welcomed improvement, and one that the City plans to maintain. In order to meet the standards that are currently being set, this will require significant capital (as well as operational) funding in the coming years of population and area expansion.

            The responsibility of the Charles Town Police Department extends beyond policing the citizens of Charles Town. The location of the Charles Town Race Track adjacent to the City creates a large influx of non-residents into the area, often during the later hours of the day and into the night hours. This creates a situation where the Police Department is serving a much wider area than is suggested by the population of Charles Town. This is reflected in the number of calls the department receives as well as the number of citations, arrests, and investigations the department undertakes. As a result, the Charles Town Police Department is larger than the standard municipal benchmarks and municipal averages for a city the size of Charles Town. It is necessary for the Police Department to extend their services in this manner in order to maintain a level of comfort within the actual city limits. This is a situation that is welcomed by the citizens who have come to expect a high level of police protection.

            The police department currently operates with one police station and 15 officers. The station could house up to 20 officers, which allows room for minor expansion of the department in the current facility. The annexations are broadening the area that the force must serve, making it likely that one or more substations would need to be built in the coming years. The capital costs associated with increasing the police department are mainly generated from the need to expand building capacity and properly equip new officers.

            The department currently provides a cruiser for each officer, which would be considered a capital cost of adding an officer to the force. While cars for new officers are included, this study also needs to include the replacement of vehicles in the future for existing and future officers. Each cruiser has an approximate useful life of eight years when purchased new or about four years when purchased used. In order to spread this capital cost, a percentage of the cruisers should be replaced each year. The cruisers for the current officers would need to be replaced regardless of growth, but those necessary for new officers would be attributable to the annexations and new development.

2.8 Transportation

            The main issue with transportation in the City is the availability of sufficient roadways and intersections to handle current and future traffic loads in a safe and efficient manner. A Traffic Impact Study (2000) was prepared by Appalachian Surveys of West Virginia, LLC to assess the impacts of the Hunt Field development on the City of Charles Town. The study analyzes the traffic levels at six major intersections. Each intersection is analyzed at current conditions and three phases of the development plans. Improvements are recommended for each of the intersections, with only one of the intersections needing improvement of its current state regardless of the development. The study implies that any transportation problems can be alleviated simply by improvements at the intersections. There is only one short stretch of road that is recommended to be widened from two to four lanes. The State of West Virginia Department of Transportation is also in the process of preparing a study on the road conditions and impacts of future development.

            While there is currently some congestion through the City, much of that has been alleviated by the US 340 bypass. The capacity of the roads and intersections seem to be sufficient to suite the needs of the current residents of Charles Town, with the exception of the fork intersection at Rt. 13 and Rt. 51. This intersection was detailed in the traffic study as unsafe and inefficient. The traffic study recommends re-routing the fork into a right-angle intersection with only a one-way stop rather than the current three-way stop sign. This would serve to increase visibility and allow traffic to flow smoother through the intersection. This improvement is necessary regardless of future development.

            With Hunt Field as the largest of the new developments in progress, it will create the highest increase in traffic flow. Old Rt. 340 currently connects the downtown Charles Town area to the main entrance of the Hunt Field community. This is currently a two-lane road with a double-yellow line. Beyond the main entrance to the community, Old Rt. 340 also connects with the US 340 by-pass. It is a major throughway from the city-center to the bypass and from the city-center to the City’s largest residential development. Page-Jackson Elementary School lies just off this stretch of road also, making it a priority area for safe vehicle traffic.



            The future conditions and capital needs of the City were determined through the interview process, analysis of planning and financial documents, and national municipal benchmarks. Benchmarks are a good place to start the analysis of City needs, but as all cities are different the specific interests of the current and future demographic of Charles Town must be considered. The future conditions take into account the annexations and new developments that will play a large role in the growth of Charles Town. As previously mentioned, the annexations include Huntfield, Norbourn Glebe, the Wu property (County Green), the Winchester Cold Storage property, Spruce Hill, Green Meadows, and Craighill Estates.

3.1 Population Projections

            The future expected population of Charles Town is one of the most important pieces of information in formulating the CIP. This will serve as the basis for need of the proposed projects and supply a general idea of the timing demand for the projects. The development plans are further along for the Huntfield project and they include estimates of residential housing units as well as a planned phasing schedule for the development. Because detailed data is only available for Huntfield, the expected population growth includes the Huntfield development and estimates of the future residents of the additional developments. The 2000 U.S. Census population count is used as the baseline for the population projections. Table 3-1 shows the population projections used for this CIP. Year 1 of the development corresponds to the year 2004 for the population projections.


Table 3-1


3.2 Future Needs

            This subsection describes the future needs of Charles Town based on the annexations, proposed developments, population projections, and the input from City department chiefs as well as the Capital Improvement Planning Committee. This CIP is a five-year plan, but also includes discussion of projects that should commence beyond the initial planning period. While Charles Town is clearly expected to experience unprecedented growth over the next five years, the greater population boom is projected over the subsequent ten to fifteen years. This is a result of the development plans that are phased in over a twenty year period. Fortunately, this provides ample time for the City to utilize this CIP as a starting point for preparing the City infrastructure to handle the expected population boom.

3.2.1 Fire and Rescue

There are two significant issues concerning the public provision of fire and rescue services. The first is the perception that public provision could have on the fund-raising capabilities of the fire departments. The second is the undefined service area of fire departments. Both volunteer fire departments are primarily funded through their own fund-raising efforts. If the fire department becomes run by the local government and provided as a public service, this could have a negative affect on the fund-raising capabilities. This becomes a problem because of the large size of the budget and capital expenses of the fire department. The City budget is approximately $2 million dollars per year. The expenses of just one of the volunteer companies would be 25% of the total City budget. It is reasonable to assume that the fire departments would still require significant fund-raising to meet their current needs because their entire budgets would be overwhelming to the City budget. The problem with this is that when a service is provided by a city, the residents tend to believe that their tax dollars are paying for the service they receive. Thus, residents would be less inclined to participate in fund-raising efforts for a service that they believe their tax dollars are already supporting. This could prove detrimental to either the City or the fire department.

A possible solution to this problem lies within the second problem of an undefined service area. By the nature of a fire department, the volunteer companies have an undefined and broad service area that includes Charles Town, Ranson, and much of the surrounding areas that are part of Jefferson County. Charles Town or Ranson, alone, could not sufficiently provide this service to the entire area because of the expense and the inequitable burden to taxpayers in the city that provides the service. If Charles Town chose to provide the service alone, then its taxes would presumably be higher than neighboring Ranson, but the residents of Ranson would still benefit from the service. It would only make sense, then, for citizens to choose to reside in Ranson, where they can benefit from the service without directly paying for it. This would deplete Charles Town’s ability to provide this service, and be detrimental to the entire area.

This suggests that a service, such as the fire department that has undefined boundaries, should be provided through a joint effort. Many counties in the area offer a County Fire Department, which could be considered in this case. In the event that the service is part of the county government, benefiting cities would also contribute their share of the service through intergovernmental transactions. The existence of a County Fire Department would alleviate both problems of moving the fire service to a publicly provided service as it would be equitable to the citizens and provide a larger base of resources to draw from in financing such a public service.

The main goals for the sufficient provision of fire and rescue services in the future should involve restructuring the financing of the fire departments with the following options:

·       The Council should lobby the County government for the establishment of a County Fire Department, of which Independent Fire Co. and Citizen’s Fire Co. would be stations. This is a highly feasible scenario judging by Jefferson County’s Comprehensive Plan 2003. Recommendation 4.16, on page 96 of the Plan, speaks to the need for a paid service for the County.

·       Establishing a Special Fire District with a tax that would fund a Charles Town/Ranson district Fire Department, of which both existing companies would become stations.


            Large capital improvements are anticipated towards the end of this 5-year planning period, and shortly thereafter. In order for those improvements to be undertaken smoothly, this plan recommends first establishing the institutional structure of the Fire Department. In doing so, the department must be marketed well in order to maintain a good portion of the fundraising efforts. Once the institutions are in place for a growing service, the funding sources will be more certain and budgets will be more predictable. By collecting the appropriate fees for fire and rescue from the outset Charles Town affords itself the flexibility of funding the improvements within the City of assisting with cost sharing once the departmental relationships are established. Because the institutional framework has not yet been established, the City should include funding for Fire and Rescue in this CIP in order to fund the following projects:         


Short Term projects



Future Projects

3.2.2 Municipal Facilities

            In order to meet the expanding needs of Charles Town, the City must be prepared to provide the necessary municipal facilities. As more land becomes City property, this creates a larger area that must be tended to by City workers and equipment. The extent to which the City will need to purchase new equipment and care for more land depends on the agreements the City enters into with various Home Owner’s Associations. The developers of the Huntfield community have said that for marketing purposes they would maintain the upkeep of the neighborhood until the build-out period is complete. Therefore, at the end of the period Charles Town would need to purchase equipment to enable the City to maintain the area into the future. The CIP costs reflect $200,000 worth of landscaping and road maintenance equipment in the final year of development.

            The City also needs to maintain the upkeep of its roads into the future. The City recently repaved all of the roads that it is responsible for. Going forward, the current plan is to repave a portion of the road each year, and to rotate the work effort. This serves to lessen the burden on traffic in any given year and also spread the financial burden. The plan calls for repaving 25% of the roadway each year on a four-year rotating basis. This will ensure that all the roads are repaved in a four-year cycle, which is considered appropriate to maintain good surface conditions. The cost of resurfacing can arguably be considered a capital cost or an operational cost. If we assume the four-year resurfacing cycle, then the project does not fit into the definition of a capital project (five-year project life). But, the value of the project (estimated at $20,000 per year) exceeds the $10,000 defined amount, and this allows the resurfacing to be included in capital costs. The new developments would not directly add to the expense of resurfacing. For example, the Huntfield development plans will maintain the roads and property throughout the build-out period. This allows the developers additional aesthetic control over the product that they are selling, and also allows the City to avoid the additional cost of upkeep in the new development. The new developments bring with them additional vehicular traffic that would utilize the existing roads. This additional traffic flow would contribute to the wear of the road surface. As a result, the responsibility for the capital maintenance should be shared between the developments and the current City residents.

            As the population base and land area of the City continue to grow, the need for additional municipal facilities also becomes more important. Although not in the current five-year planning horizon, the City needs to plan for a City Hall expansion project, which could include building a City Hall Annex. This plan assumes costs of $2,000,000 for construction spread over two years for 2015 and 2016 to allow the City government to expand its services to meet the needs of the growing City.

3.2.3 Municipal Parking

            The County has determined the need for 262 parking spaces to suit their current and upcoming needs as they expand their government facilities. There has been some discussion of a parking garage being built to fulfill this need. If a parking structure is built, it would be in both the County and City’s interest to form a partnership with the County on such a project. With County offices located downtown, the parking structure would prove to be mutually beneficial. It is in the County’s interest to engage in this joint parking structure as well because a larger structure can be built at lower average unit costs per parking space. This will reduce the amount the County will have to pay for their parking needs.

            The City could reserve a number of spaces in the facility for its needs and the needs of downtown businesses. If necessary, these spaces could also be leased back to the business community, or operated on a pay-as-used basis by the consumers. In any event, is seems to be in the City’s interest to be involved in expanding their parking facilities to promote the downtown business district. It is unclear how the new developments would affect the overall parking situation in Charles Town, but it is reasonable to assume that if the number of residents supporting downtown businesses increase, then the need for downtown parking would increase as well.

            The proposal of this plan is for the City to enter into a joint cooperative agreement with the County in financing a parking structure. The City needs to confirm the exact amount of parking space that it desires to provide over the upcoming years, and negotiate an agreement with the County regarding the establishment of such structure. This CIP assumes that the City would enter the agreement to use 100 parking spaces in the garage. The industry standard is approximately $2,000,000 per 100 spaces for a low-rise garage structure. Generally speaking, the higher the structure the more expensive the cost per parking space.

3.2.4 Libraries

            As the City population expands, the Old Charles Town Library will need to purchase additional equipment and volumes as well as expand the facility to accommodate the increased number of users. The associated capital costs for these improvements would be attributable to the new developments and annexations.

            The recommended capital improvements for the Library include restructuring the financial support of the Charles Town Library, and the City providing the estimated $30,000 annually towards new volumes. In the restructuring of the financial support, the City Council should press for County aid in funding the library’s operations. It is understood that the expected County level of support[2] ($50,000) is not sufficient to meet the needs of the library, which are currently $300,000 annually. But, with support from the County and from the City, the library would significantly lessen its strain on the endowment. Similar to the recommended intergovernmental agreement on fire services, this recommendation is also feasible based on the County Comprehensive Plan 2003. Recommendation 4.27, on page 107 of the Plan, recommends that Jefferson County continue financially supporting its public libraries and explore assisting the other libraries in the County.

            It is also recommended that a portion of the proffer agreement funds be allocated to support the library’s expansion needs as a result of serving a growing population. The $30,000 annual contribution from the City would be used for annual capital expenses as well as one-time expansion projects as necessary.

3.2.5 Parks and Recreation

            The suggestion of creating a City Parks and Recreation department, or at least taking on the responsibility for its own recreation space, has been mentioned. This would allow Charles Town to offer recreation space to its citizens and not rely on the County to provide sufficient space. Recreation facilities also offer a unique opportunity to work with neighboring Ranson to develop joint park land for the needs of both communities. It is clear that the use of the recreation space could not be restricted to the residents of a single city when the two are in such close proximity. Some facilities, such as an indoor recreation center or swimming pool, would be rather costly for Ranson or Charles Town to build independently. There are also economies of scale[3] that exist in providing public recreation facilities. A joint effort between the two cities could take advantage of these economies.

            The proffers and plans for Hunt Field provide five to six recreational facilities (pool, clubhouse, tennis courts, etc) for the residents of the development and/or the members of the Home Owner’s Association. It is unlikely that these facilities will be available to the citizens of Charles Town without fees.

            The recommended course of action for Parks and Recreation is for the City to establish a Department of Parks and Recreation and establish a capital budget for desired improvements. Joint partnerships with the City of Ranson and Jefferson County should also be explored. The services provided by public recreation facilities extend beyond the citizens of the providing jurisdiction. Therefore, it is appropriate to include cooperative plans in the establishment of these capital improvements.

            Parks and Recreation capital projects would enter into the Long term or Future projects categories. While these projects enhance the quality of life in Charles Town, capital budgeting in areas such as public safety takes higher priority. At this point, the City has indicated the desire for additional playing fields for youth leagues, as well as a multi-purpose activity center. This CIP includes a $4.5 million project for a community center. With a budget of that amount, the center could include indoor and outdoor facilities, playing fields, and a swimming pool. The plan includes this project in the category of “future” projects to be completed beyond the five-year planning period, but the costs are included in the overall calculations. This is discussed in more detail in Sections 4 and 5. This large planning item also provides flexibility for earlier recreational facilities to be built within the budget framework of this plan.

3.2.6 Hospitals

            Neither the City nor County is large enough to provide a publicly funded hospital facility. The private market should determine the fate of the hospital. It will continue to operate and serve the needs of the residents because there is a demand to fill. Any expansion should be handled by the business decisions of the private hospital through their own issuance of bonds or other means to raise capital.

3.2.7 Police Department

            This CIP estimates increasing the size of the Police Department based on the increase in population. Table 3-2 shows progression of officers along with the vehicles required. It has been mentioned that Charles Town’s police department is larger than other cities of its size. The projections in Table 3-2 account for this level of service, and gradually scale back the comparative size so that it is closer to national benchmarks. This would allow the City to expand its police department while lessening the impact it has on the City budget.

            The vehicles are broken down into new vehicles that will be necessary each time a new officer is added to the department, as well as replacement vehicles to maintain a safe and operable fleet. The plan assumes that each vehicle must be replaced every 4 years. Therefore, 25% of the fleet is replaced each year. The total cars for CIP represent the sum of new vehicles and replacement vehicles.

Table 3-2


            From the set of projections in Table 3-2 an additional capital improvement projects appear necessary during this planning period. A necessary capital improvement during this planning period is the expansion of station space for the Police Department. The current facility can hold a staff of up to 20 officers. Based on the projections in Table 3-2, the Department will require additional space by the year 2006. This space can be generated by expanding the existing facility to accommodate the increasing number of officers, or by establishing an additional substation that would also accommodate further growth of the Department. As the size of the Department will only continue to increase in the future, the desired path of expanding space would be to add another station facility in 2007, which would be able to house further expansion when necessary. This substation facility could be built in conjunction with a City Hall Annex in a densely populated area of Charles Town.

            Another capital project pertains to a recent State of West Virginia mandate that all public safety communications systems must be upgraded from analog to digital systems. This is required of the Police Department in the next three years, and should therefore be included in this plan over the Short term planning period (2005-2006).

3.2.8 Transportation

            The transportation related recommendations of this CIP are planning oriented as opposed to project based plans. It is recommended that the City Council lobby the West Virginia Department of Transportation to complete their traffic study and move forward with intersection improvements. The Traffic Impact Study (Appalachian Surveys) focuses on intersection improvements. It is the recommendation of this plan that this would be sufficient only for the short term. To plan for the future traffic safety concerns, the City should purchase rights-of-way along Old Rt. 340 for expected widening and improvements along this connection to Hunt Field. It is a major throughway from the city-center to the bypass and from the city-center to the City’s largest residential development. Page-Jackson Elementary School lies just off this stretch of road also, making it a priority area for safe vehicle traffic.

            Under the annexation agreements between the City of Charles Town and developers, the developers are responsible for the transportation improvements necessary to accommodate the additional traffic impact resulting from their development projects.  Specifically, developers are required to conduct traffic and transportation studies that identify the road, transit, and bicycle/pedestrian facility improvements necessary to mitigate the transportation impact resulting from their development projects.  Based on these studies and the analysis of the City of Charles Town, the developers will be responsible for the pro rata share of transportation improvements directly attributable to the traffic resulting from their development projects. This CIP does not identify the specific transportation facility improvements needed to accommodate future growth, and does not identify the per-unit proffer fee necessary to support such transportation improvements.  Instead, those transportation issues will be handled by the City of Charles Town under the transportation provisions of annexation agreements. This CIP does review and critique the developer’s traffic study to offer recommendations for the City of Charles Town.

3.3 Future Resources

            Although the City has growing needs that will be difficult to finance, the City will also have increasing resources from the new development and population growth. The new developments create additional tax revenues through the property tax on new homes and through likely increases in property value of existing homes. It is common for the property values of existing homes to increase as a result of new development. The actual magnitude of these spillover effects is difficult to estimate. The City should also experience increased revenues through growing business activity in Charles Town. The City collects taxes from the corporate sector as well as the residential community, and more residents should spillover into better business opportunities for merchants. Table 3-3 is taken from the previous Fiscal Impact Analysis (Final report attached, URS, 2003). The table shows the estimated annual revenue and operational expenditures generated by the proposed Hunt Field development at full build out and occupancy. As the table shows, the expected revenues are not sufficient to cover the estimated operational expenditures that Charles Town would incur. As a result, any of the capital expenses for the projects in this CIP that are attributable to the new developments would also not be covered by the revenue generation from the development. Therefore, any capital improvements necessary as a direct result of the development should be financed by the previously mentioned developments, and are beyond the accounted revenue generation.


Table 3-3: Operational Impacts of Huntfield Development*

* Note: All of the induced revenues are included in this table. This information was derived for the Fiscal Impact Analysis (URS, 2003). The existence of capital projects is assumed to induce no additional revenues.


            Another area of concern for future resources is the revenues that the City collects from the Charles Town Race Track. Currently, this is a major source of revenue for the City, accounting for about 20% of the annual budget. Jefferson County and its municipalities have been in a unique position to gain revenues from the race track, as it is one of only a few throughout the State of West Virginia. Its location in Jefferson County has provided benefits to these local governments. This situation is in jeopardy for two reasons. First, the State has proposed to share the race track revenues more evenly throughout the State. Second, neighboring states, such as Maryland and Pennsylvania, have proposed opening their race tracks to video lottery and slot machines. This would detract from the current clientele of the Charles Town Race Track, and severely reduce the revenues that cities like Charles Town gain from this operation. As these measures have not been passed yet, this report does not attempt to quantify them; rather simply note that this money may not be available in the future. And, this could have dramatic negative affects on the budget of Charles Town.



            In order to implement the capital improvements necessary for the stable growth of Charles Town, the projects must be prioritized and carried out according to their prioritization. This portion of the planning is largely dependent on the input of the Capital Improvement Planning Committee. In general, the prioritization is based on the immediacy of need for the project as well as the financial feasibility of completion of the project. All of the proposed projects are categorized into the following four priority groups:


  1. Immediate-term projects – to commence within the current year. These are projects that address public safety concerns, federal or state government regulations, or eliminate an immediate threat.
  2. Short-term projects – to commence within years 2 and 3 of this plan. These are projects that address an immediate need to preserve existing capital investment, alleviate overcrowding, or generate significant revenues.
  3. Long-term projects – to commence within years 4 and 5 of this plan. These are projects that address increases in demand for public services, meet new program goals, or can be financed with minimum burden to the City.
  4. Future projects – to commence after the 5-year scope of this plan. These are projects that do not occur during the present planning period, but need to be addressed to accommodate expected future growth.


            The categories listed for prioritization are used to establish the timeline of when projects should occur according to the recommendations in Section 3. Table 4-1 on the next page is a summary of the recommendations with the prioritization and approximate costs, where available.


5.1 Financial Responsibility

            With the recent annexations into the City, there is the question of who should pay for the necessary improvements outlined in previous sections. It has been shown in the Fiscal Impact Analysis (URS, 2003) that the development of Hunt Field would negatively impact the City budget based solely on the operational costs that would be added to the City, after accounting for the future revenue generation from the development. Above just the operational expenses, the recent annexations and subsequent developments contribute to the capital impact to the City. This section uses the Hunt Field development as an example, as the best data is available for that development. As the Hunt Field development has been shown to have a net negative impact from an operational standpoint, the capital impact would go above and beyond that operational impact. Therefore, the development would not be generating enough revenue to cover its share of capital improvements to the City. This must be taken into consideration when assigning financial responsibility in this Capital Improvement Plan.

            The current conditions of the City must also be taken into account. It would not be equitable to lay the entire burden on capital improvements onto the developments, particularly if the improvements would be needed with or without the new developments. Any portion of the improvements that are necessary to meet the current needs of the citizens of Charles Town should be funded by the City.

            In maintaining a theme of equity in assigning financial responsibility, the role of the County must also be considered. Many services have been shown to benefit the residents of unincorporated areas of the County as well as the residents of Charles Town. In order to avoid messy boundary and ownership conflicts, these services should be provided by joint means, which may include significant financial support from the County government as well as a heightened level of intergovernmental cooperation.

Some of the cost sharing has already been written into proffer agreements between the City and the developers in the annexation agreements. One goal of this section is to clarify the issue so that greater detail can be added to the legal cost-sharing agreements.

5.2 Budgeting

            The City budget should be linked to the CIP through the establishment of a capital budget. The adopted CIP will provide guidance to the creation of the capital budget. The first year of the CIP should be represented in the current year’s capital budget. The future years of the CIP (including updates) would then be used to develop the capital budgets for future years. This maintains the ongoing process of capital improvements to the City as the capital budget reflects the expenditure requirements of the CIP. The capital budget should include the expected revenues from agreements with the developers as well as the City’s portion of the project funding.

            The operational impacts in the Fiscal Impact Analysis were derived through a general equilibrium (input-output) model of fiscal flows. The resulting impacts suggested that the City should collect approximately $700 per new residential unit to cover the net negative operational impacts on the City budget of new development. It was also recommended that this figure be revisited every three years in order to accommodate changes in the local or national economy. The revenues collected from this recommendation should be used only for the increased operational expenditures of the City.

            The capital impacts, presented in this report, are based on project plans deemed necessary through the interview process and committee feedback. This is referred to as a plan-based method of determining capital impacts. A plan-based method avoids using a simple extrapolation of current expenditures to future population totals, and bases the impacts on specific projects. The expenditure extrapolation methods would not work well for Charles Town because the City does not have a previously established annual capital budget. As a result, the capital expenditures necessary to accommodate new development were calculated based on the recommended projects in the previous section. The cost of these projects is the basis for capital development fee that could be levied on new residential units.

            The calculations are based on the net present value of the proposed projects and the associated year that each project is recommended. The net present value is the cost, in real dollars, of the proposed capital improvements. The proposed projects benefit both the current residents of Charles Town and the future residents that purchase homes in the new developments. The net present value of this plan-based CIP is $12,317,091. At full build-out and occupancy of all the new developments, approximately 80.1% of the population of Charles Town will reside in these new developments. This figure is based on the population projections shown in Section 3 and the occupancy projections (or estimates) of the development plans. This suggests that the developments should be accountable for 80.1% of the costs of capital improvements to the City of Charles Town. Therefore, 80.1% of the net present value of the proposed projects is the estimated total development fee to cover capital improvements. This figure, $9,861,061, can be applied evenly to all residential housing units for a development fee of $1,783 per unit. This dollar value can be assessed as the developer sees fit (to single family homes, town homes, and multi-family homes) to recoup their costs of the overall capital proffer agreement total. Table 5-1 provides details of the timing of project costs and includes the calculation of the values cited in this paragraph.

            The City of Charles Town's development proffer fees would also include fees necessary to contribute to the capital costs of public schools. Charles Town has based its proffer fees for public schools on the capital plan and impact fee study conducted by Tischler & Associates on behalf of the Jefferson County Commission. Charles Town expects to collect such public school portions of the proffer fees, and to pass those school funds directly to Jefferson County Board of Education.




5.3 Financing Sources

            Budgeting is just one means of financing the current and future needs of the City. There are also several other mechanisms at the disposal of local governments to meet their revenue needs. This section highlights some important financial resources available to Charles Town and describes where they are appropriately used. There are many financing options available to Charles Town for funding the projects. In a time of shrinking federal and state budgets, government officials are continually searching for new and alternate methods for securing adequate funding to ensure that the City maintains the highest quality and most efficient infrastructure and facilities. The methods listed below provide background information of the funding alternatives available to the City.

Additional Sources of Capital

            All of the proposed projects are capital assets with long-lived benefits and large up-front costs. The City government does not have sufficient resources to pay these up-front costs, and even if the funds were immediately available it would not be prudent to pay the entire cost up front. By spreading the capital costs, all users of the facility pay a share of the cost. Many alternatives exist for financing the capital expenses of this plan. The following methods are briefly described: grants, subsidized loans, and public borrowing. With loans and public borrowing the fund must be paid back over time, and methods of raising revenues for that purpose are also discussed. It is important to recognize that, with the exception of grants, the capital funding provides an immediate means to acquire large capital, but that must be paid back over time.


            Grants are often provided by the Federal and State governments to assist local governments in providing necessary services to their citizens. Grants, of course, are not guaranteed until the application has been approved. The availability of funds is also subject to current economic conditions and prioritization of Federal and State programs. This signals the difficulty in relying heavily on grant monies to fund local projects.

Public borrowing

            The second common method for capital financing is through the issuance of government bonds. In this sense, the City would be relying on the public capital markets to generate the initial funds needed for the projects within this CIP. Two primary types of local government bonds exist: General Obligation Bonds and Revenue Bonds. General obligation bonds are backed by the general revenue-raising capabilities of the local government and the revenue bonds are guaranteed by the revenues of the facility.  Revenue bonds are limited tax bonds which are secured by revenues generated by the application of a fixed rate for a provided service, such as water or sewage. Unlike general obligation bonds, revenue bonds generally do not require voter approval, but are restricted in their means to meet debt payments.        

Subsidized Loans

            Another source of up-front capital is subsidized loan programs. These generally offer lower interest rates than the City would likely pay for public borrowing. Borrowing in the form of a loan has a different payback system than issuing bonds. This type of loan is similar to a home mortgage where the principle is paid off in portions each year specified by the loan agreement. In the case of a bond issue, the principle is not paid back until the maturity date, at which time the principle is paid in full.




            The CIP is a tool for planning the future of Charles Town. The recommendations have been developed through a series of interviews with City and County officials and meetings with the Capital Improvement Planning Committee and City leaders. As a result, this document has laid out the existing conditions in the City as well as the expected future conditions with the annexation and development of several properties. This CIP stresses the need to strengthen intergovernmental relationships in order to provide the citizens with the proper infrastructure and services they require. This CIP also stresses the importance of the legal agreements with the developers of the annexed properties. It is imperative that the developers contribute financially to the capital improvements that are necessary to serve the growing population of Charles Town.

            The CIP has outlined the recommended capital improvements over the next five years, and some projects that should be planned beyond this five year period. As a result, a development fee has been calculated that the City should collect from the developers of new residential property within the City. This is a plan-based fee calculation, where the developer’s share has been calculated by the percentage of the population that will reside in the new developments. The resulting fee of $1,783 per residential unit is sufficient to cover the recommended plan items with the additional pass-through of fees to the Board of Education. Similar to the fee calculated for operational impacts ($700 per residential unit), this fee should be tied to inflation, or flexible enough that it can be adjusted every several years, if necessary. This allows the City to manage increased expenditures as they occur, rather than remain fixed to a value that is partially dependent upon overall economic conditions.

            It should also be understood that the City needs to prepare to share in the costs of the capital improvements so that the burden does not fall solely on the shoulders of the developers and new residents. This CIP has outlined several alternative financing options that the City should pursue to fund the recommendations of this plan.

Continued Input

            The adoption of this CIP is the first step in an ongoing effort to generate capital improvements in the City. A key element in continuing the process is input from agency/department heads. Upon review of this document, it is recommended that agencies submit requests to the City for further capital improvements that they deem necessary over the next ten years. Two forms (Form A and Form B) are attached to this document as appendices, which can be used for the agency/department heads to submit capital improvement requests to the Planning Committee. Utilizing formal requests on a continual basis will allow the existing CIP to keep pace with the growing needs of the City. This CIP stresses the need for a joint effort and continued devotion to capital improvements. A description of the project should include the project need, costs estimates, operations and maintenance costs, and a brief overview of the benefits. All submissions will be reviewed by the Capital Improvement Planning Committee for their inclusion in future CIP updates. The submissions will be reviewed based on consistency with overall City planning, project cost, and funding availability. Upon approval, selected projects will be included in updated versions of the CIP and submitted to the City Council for review.




City of Charles Town, WV, “Fiscal Impact Analysis: Annexation and Development of Huntfield Property,” prepared by URS Corporation, Bethesda, MD, January 2003.


Jefferson County, WV, “A Traffic Impact Study for Huntfield, A Planned Community,” prepared by Appalachian Surveys of West Virginia, LLC, Charles Town, WV, March 2000.


Jefferson County, WV, “Impact Fees,” prepared by Tischler & Associates, Inc., Bethesda, MD, June 2003.


Jefferson County, WV, “Draft - Comprehensive Plan 2003,” prepared with Tustian and Associates, Bethesda, MD, May 2003.













Appendix A – Continued Input Forms



Form A


City of Charles Town, West Virginia


Capital Facilities & Equipment Inventory

   Equipment                                                                                                       Target Date

          Or              Year Built      Latest Major                                Extent            Rebuilding

      Facility         or Acquired     Improvement     Condition           of Use             Expansion

(1)                               (2)                               












(1)  Report as fair, good, and excellent

(2)  Report as light, moderate, and heavy


Note: Please include facilities and equipment that have a value of at least $10,000 and a useful life of at least 5 years.

Form B


City of Charles Town, West Virginia


Capital Project Request Form



Department & Activity ____________________________ Date Prepared_____________


Contact Person ___________________________________ Phone Number ___________

1)     Project Title:


2)     Purpose of Project Request Form (Check One):


            (  ) Add a new item to the program

            (  ) Delete and item in a year already a part of the program

            (  ) Modify a project already in the adopted program

3)     Department Priority:

4)     Location:

5)     Project Description:

6)     Justification & Useful Life:

7)     Expected Costs (Please attach expected project costs as well as operations and maintenance costs for the life of the project.)


Note: Please prioritize in comparison to other department projects. For example, write 1 of 3 if the department is requesting 3 separate projects, and explain why.

[1] The National Recreation and Parks Association recommend that a city provide 6.5 to 10.5 acres of park space per 1,000 of population. It is not required that the entire space be developed park land, some of the space should be maintained as simple open space.

[2] Jefferson County does not currently provide this level of support. It is proposed that this amount of money could be allocated from County resources in an intergovernmental agreement to provide funding to the Charles Town Library.

[3] Economies of scale exist when the average costs of producing a good (or service) decrease as more of the good is produced. In this case, the average costs of building a recreation facility should decrease with its size.