Saturday, November 19, 2011

re: Valley Health 'recalibration' to hit workers across network (NVDaily)

By Alex Bridges --

WINCHESTER -- Valley Health's efforts to "recalibrate" positions will hit salaries across the hospital network, officials said Friday.

The initiative means many workers could see their "shift differential" pay cut but, as two administrators explained, the system plans to compensate those affected employees with bonuses or other means "to make them whole."

The initiative began roughly a year ago after Elizabeth Savage-Tracy took over as Valley Health's vice president of human resources. As the new person in charge of the department, Savage-Tracy recalled taking a look the "total rewards program" to make sure it was fair, competitive and sustainable.

Total rewards includes all benefits, such as health insurance, welfare, retirement plans, as well as compensation -- base and premium pay. Premium pay includes shift differentials and career-ladder pay. Total rewards also includes "access management" -- vacation, holiday pay and other benefits.

To read the entire story, follow this link:

Friday, November 18, 2011

re: Some VHS workers to get raises; others could see pay cuts (NVDaily)

By Alex Bridges --

WINCHESTER -- Some Valley Health staff face pay cuts or may get increases as the hospital system equalizes positions among its thousands of workers.
Employees learned this week salaries may rise or fall as a result of an effort to align job titles and descriptions among the thousands of staff across the system.

Details of the initiative -- specifically who the changes affect and by how much -- were not available Thursday. More details on the effort would be available today, said Carol Weare, public relations manager for Valley Health.

Read the reamainder of the story on NVDaily:

Update on Lewis Gale Medical vs. Winchester Medical Center comparison

Back in November of 2009, The Pub shared a side-by-side comparison between Lewis Gale Medical Center (for-profit) in Salem City and WMC (not-for-profit).  Click on the link below to review:

For 2010, here are a couple of hilights of the comparison:
Lewis-Gale paid $27,437,225 in taxes while WMC paid just $110,699.
Lewis-Gale recorded a profit of $34.1 million vs. WMC's $53.1 million.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Winchester Medical Center's profits from 2000-2010

2000 $11,917,127 
2001 $4,262,944 

2002 $25,868,766 
2003 $35,113,921 
2004 $46,711,931 
2005 $54,346,679 

2006 $57,422,789 
2007 $66,617,961 
2008 $9,500,911 

2009 $53,757,390

2010 $53,104,420

$418,624,839 total profits since 2000 to 2010 for WMC.

Valley Health-backed study shows $1.24B area impact

The Winchester Star and NVDaily shared a story in today's paper that Valley Health is pumping about $1.24 billion into the regional economy this year.

There is no doubt that VHS has positive impact on the regional area but is the Winchester citizens feeling the affect of them not being a better neighbor in paying their real-estate taxes to the City of Winchester?

Just one example, how much more will the citizens of Winchester water rates keep increasing?

The report shows that VHS's annual community benefit for 2010 was $96.7 million but that community covers 18 regional counties serving approximate 1.1 million individuals.  The 2010 census tells us that approx, 26k individuals live in Winchester and 78k in Frederick County.  Winchester and Frederick County represents approx 9.5% of the regional population served by VHS.

Did this report share what VHS's current Investments and other securities were for 2010?

For the end of 2009, VHS's Investments and other Securities were as follows:

150,645,982 - Alternative Investments
  4,647,177 - Cash Equivalents
286,479,087 - Mutual Funds
 15,103,325 - Private Realty/Resource
  2,662,445 - Municipal Bonds
 24,542,903 - Common Stock

Now, should not the nurses and blue collar workers be better compensated?  Just review the jobs listings on the VHS website to see what some of those jobs are paying.
"As an economist, I'd have to say the market works and Valley Health has no particular interest in paying more than it has to, and they pay people what they need to pay in order to attract and retain them," Koch said.
As it's been stated, have you ever rode through VHS's parking lot and see how many out-of-state tags on the vehicles?  The blue collar worker salaries are more attractive to those who live in the neighboring state vs. the immediate local area.
The system’s employees are paid $287.5 million for their work and earn an additional $68.6 million in fringe benefits, Koch said. Average compensation of Val­ley Health employees exceeds the regional average by 20 percent.
But look at the regional area it's using for comparison.  Should it not be 20 percent more?  Have you seen what the VHS administrators are making?  Throw out the administrators and doctors salaries, and then see where those salaries would stack up with the regional area and even with the county across the mountain.
"Valley isn't paying its personnel as much as, for example, what they would earn in Frederick County, but it's paying them essentially what the market requires in order to attract really capable people."  Koch said.
Consider this, does not our local school system need additional funding?  The perception is that VHS and Shenandoah University will be partnering together to start a medical school which is great but what about our public school system?

To close, why should the citizens of Winchester continue to borne the lost of tax base from VHS’s campus while they make millions and millions locally while reinvesting into other regional counties and even out of state?  Is this fair to the citizens of Winchester?

For the record for 2010, the Winchester Medical Center had a profit or in excess of revenue of $53.1 million and the Surgi-Center had a profit of $3.6 million.

Reference most recent information available to The Pub:
Salaries for VHS from 2006-2008

VHS's 2009 Whole Group IRS990 Return

VHS Corporate's Mgmt 2009 IRS990

Monday, August 15, 2011

How many rooms booked by the visitors for the World Series?

These are the number are "booked" rooms as a result of the World Series as the individuals I spoke with stated, "These are the rooms booked for 10 days and if they lose, then the number of rooms booked will decrease."

Pool Play is through Wednesday where all 9 teams will be here.  The playoff round starts on Thursday afternoon, so 4 teams most likely be leaving/checking out on Thursday mid-day leaving 5 teams in the hotels.  After Thursday's games, 2 teams will be eliminated so one could figure that those 2 teams will be leaving/checking out on Friday mid-day.

Looks like there are 7 nights guaranteed that the 9 teams will be in hotel rooms and that's if they all checked in on August 11th and not Friday during the day before 3pm on the 12th.  Some teams could leave on Wednesday as a result of their pool play coming to an end and not qualifying for Thursday's playoff round.  5 teams will be here for at least 8 nights and and 3 teams here for at least 9 nights as I am banking on the other team being Winchester for Thursday and Friday's playoff rounds.

Bryant, AR coaches stated on Sunday "We travel pretty well, about 75"

So if you use the average of 3.2 people per room x 23 = 73.6, so that is pretty accurate for the Arkansas team.

If you figure 151 rooms x 3.2 comes out to about 483 visitors.  Make note I am sure those tournament officials are staying 1 per room so I would venture to guess 400-500 visitors (including team members and fans) is pretty much in the ballpark of who has traveled into Winchester for the World Series.

My question is this, wonder why the World Series committee did not try to put 2 teams per Winchester Hotel so that the City of Winchester could of gained more tax revenue since the City of Winchester is footing the entire bill for this World Series?

(70) rooms booked in Frederick County Hotels:

(18) Aloft at $85 per night (Mineral Area, MO)

(23) Country Inn Suites at $83 per night (Bryant, AR)

(14) Courtyard by Marriott at $99 per night (Williamette Valley, OR)

(15) Fairfield Inn at $119 per night (New Milford, CT)

(81) rooms booked in City of Winchester Hotels:

(15) Hilton Garden at $129 per night (Elk Grove, CA)

(15) Wingate Inn at $80.77 per night (Glen Allen, VA)

(13) Hampton-Inn North at $120 per night (West Raleigh, NC)

(20) Hampton-Inn University at $120 per night (Lexington, KY)

(18) George Washington Hotel at $119 per night (both tourney officials and Bel Air, MD is staying here)

Wonder how many excursions were booked by August 4th?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Good luck to all of the teams in the 10U Cal-Ripken World Series

Best of luck to all World Series teams and hope all of the visiting families enjoy their stay in Winchester.

Hope the baseball God's bless our local area with some great weather from August 13-20th.

The Winchester Star has a special web-page devoted to the World Series which can be found at the following link:

Sunday, August 7, 2011

What's the final price tag going to be for hosting the World Series by the WPRD?

Just more random thoughts about the cost of the World Series, does not the local residents of Winchester deserve to know what the real cost is in hosting such an event?

Information cited from Winchester Star article on Saturday:

A costly endeavor
The World Series, however, doesn't come cheap. 
Veach said he is on pace to spend about $218,000 to operate the tournament. That includes the $45,000 paid to the Babe Ruth organization for the contract.
Another $60,600 in capital expenditures went toward upgrades at Yost Field, some of which Veach said would have been needed soon regardless. 
If revenue projections from items such as ticket, souvenir and concession sales are reached, Veach said, he thinks the tournament will net about $30,000 for the parks department. 
Natalie Loudan stated she has spent around 20 hours a week on the World Series for about the last 18 months.

Referencing Mrs. Loudoun statement after its calculated, that works out to about 1512 hours worked by Mrs. Loudoun and if one would figure a labor rate of $10-$15 per hour that comes out in the ballpark of $15,120-$22,680.

Now how many hours have been logged by the Winchester Park and Recreation department employees who are paid by the citizenry of Winchester and how much of the payroll has been devoted to the World Series so far?

Seriously, how much is this really costing the taxpayers of Winchester to host such event?  And don't forget, the City has only 3 kids on the team.

Winchester Baseball serves up to 4 local counties representing up to 156,117 population and then when you throw in the two WV counties that bumps up the population to 194,016

Population figures:
City of Winchester - 26,203
Frederick County - 78,305
Clarke County - 14,034
Warren County - 37,575
Hardy County, WV - 14,205
Hampshire County, WV - 23,964

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

SU's Spirit of Shenandoah campaign (as of May 9, 2010)

The following information was collected from SU's Spirit of Shenandoah campaign site link back on May 9, 2010.

Campaign Progress
Overall Campaign Goal: $65.0 million
Raised to Date: $65.1 million 
The overall campaign goal is comprised of the following:

Capital Gifts
The Spirit of Shenandoah campaign seeks philanthropic gifts in support of several building projects—all of which will enhance the experience for Shenandoah students, and, in many cases, members of the community as well. These capital projects include Halpin-Harrison Hall (a new home for the School of Business), Brandt Student Center, a new athletic center and renovations to Armstrong Hall.
Capital Gifts Goal: $29.5 million
Raised to Date: $18.3 million

A robust endowment is a sure sign of an institution’s strength and vitality. The Spirit of Shenandoah campaign seeks philanthropic gifts that will build the endowment to a higher level, enabling the university to establish chairs and professorships and to provide additional scholarships and financial aid to deserving students.
Endowment Goal: $32.0 million
Raised to Date: $16.6 million

From day to day and from year to year, Shenandoah must keep the lights on, maintain our beautiful campus, upgrade technology, compensate staff and faculty, and so much more. Contributions to the Shenandoah University Annual Fund help the university stay vibrant and on course while also allowing for innovative thinking, new programs and a promising future. Annual Fund gifts are particularly critical during the Spirit of Shenandoah campaign, because we must never lose sight of our day-to-day needs. 
Operational Goal: $3.5 million
Raised to Date: $30.2 million
About The Campaign
The Spirit of Shenandoah is the most significant fund-raising effort in the history of Shenandoah University. It is a comprehensive campaign that will elevate our institution to a new level of prominence, and it has been quietly building momentum with the generous assistance of many leadership donors who have made Shenandoah their philanthropic priority.

The campaign is motivated by an ambitious master plan developed by faculty, students, administrators and trustees. It enumerates our goals, augments our strengths and addresses the challenges we face as an educational institution in the new millennium. We realize we must better serve our students, alumni and faculty. We also recognize our responsibility to serve our community, region and world. Everything we do at Shenandoah is ultimately about giving students the knowledge, the ethical foundation and the skills to make something special of their lives. The Spirit of Shenandoah is the exciting endeavor that will honor our mission and shape a spectacular future for the university we all cherish.
The Spirit of Shenandoah

$8-13 million
$5-8 million
$9.5-20 million
$7 million
$32 million
$3.5 million
Spirit of Shenandoah Goal
$65 million

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Winchester World Series 10U team moves to 63-2-1 on the year

The 10U Winchester World Series teams moves to 63-2-1 on the year with a 1 to 0 win over the Bellport Braves in the championship game of the Seahore Showdown Invitational tourney at the Sports at the Beach complex in Rehoboth Beach located in Georgetown, DE.

Winchester went 4-0 in pool-play with 8-0 win over Hauppauge Eagles 9U and 12-2 win over the Connequot Chiefs on Friday.  Saturday, Winchester had wins of 8-0 over Marlboro Mustang Gold and 13-1 win over Marlboro Mustangs.

Winchester received a 1st round by in the playoff round and had a rematch with the Connequot Chiefs that resulted in 4-0 shutout by Winchester.  The win setup the championship game with the Bellport Braves as Winchester held on for 1-0 shutout.  Winchester outscored their opponents 46 to 3 in the 3-day tournament.

Follow the 10U World Series results at the following from Aug. 13th-20th:

Pool Play Schedule and Bracket (pdf)

Standings Update

Live Brackets


Monday, July 25, 2011

Millwood closure debate ... Is this picture worth a thousand words or not?

Could this be a picture of what's to come IF that Millwood section gets closed in front of SU's OBT?   :)

Have a great day!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Is the WS event in the hole $75k already and where is this up to 5,000 visitors coming from?

From The Pub's perspective, the 10U World Series event is in the hole $75k already with the loan from WPRD reserve fund for this event.  Going to be interesting if this $75k gets paid back to the WPRD reserve fund or not?

From WincStar on Feb. 24, 2010:
The City Council voted 8-0 Tuesday to authorize spending $75,000 to obtain the contract to host the 2011 Cal Ripken-Babe Ruth 10-Year-Old World Series.
The vote came after the council received a revised plan for holding the tournament. The board reviewed the idea during its pre-meeting work session and added the item to its meeting agenda.

Council President Jeffrey Buettner was absent.

Brad Veach, the city’s parks and recreation director, requested $75,000 in reserve funds for the tournament.

That money will be added to a matching contribution from Winchester Baseball to provide $150,000 for contract fees, facility repairs, and operating funds.

Veach said he thought the event would yield at least $75,000 in revenue, which would enable the money taken from the reserves to be replenished.

Council Vice President Art Major asked Veach to put his department’s money where his mouth is, proposing that any reimbursement shortfall be taken from the parks budget for fiscal year 2011. Veach agreed.

What is the up to 5,000 visitors representing?  How did someone come up with that number?

Baseball series could attract 5,000 visitors
And pump up to $750,000 into local economy
July 22, 2011
By Val Van Meter
The Winchester Star
Parks and Recreation Director Brad Veach said about $150,000 has been generated, in cash and in-kind donations, to refurbish Yost Field - pictured above, provide transportation, and offer special trips and incentives to the visitors during the upcoming Babe Ruth League, Cal Ripkin 10-Year-Old World Series. 
Winchester Parks and Recreation Director Brad Veach sees 10-year-old baseball players and thinks tourist dollars. 
At Thursday morning's meeting of the Winchester-Frederick County Tourism Board, he told members that the upcoming Babe Ruth League, Cal Ripken 10-Year-Old World Series could bring as many as 5,000 people to Winchester next month.
He added that those visitors could pump $750,000 into the local economy.

Previous supporting posts of interests:

Thursday, July 14, 2011

VHS rebounds from 2008 and has an outstanding year in 2009 for profitability!

Wonder how true this quote is ... "Paper lay still, they can write anything on it"

Did not VHS get a heck'va deal when it was agreed upon with City officials where VHS just pays a flat fee of $750,000 to the City of Winchester when you compare it the profit margins that they are consistently turning out?

Also, the Wellness & Fitness Center had $3,274,581 in total revenue for 2009.

Have a great day!

Click on image to enlarge!

Supporting documents:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Random VA private college President's compensation package comparison

2009 $208,253 ... 2010 $211,151 ... Eastern Mennonite University
2009 $195,121 ... 2010 $221,986 ... Averett University
2009 $276,315 ... 2010 $283,749 ... Emory & Henry College
2009 $294,488 ... 2010 $287,326 ... Roanoke College
2009 $279,663 ... 2010 $316,266 ... Shenandoah University
2009 $282,963 ... 2010 $318,591 ... Bridgewater College
2008 $358,660 ... 2009 $332,295 ... Randolph Macon College
2009 $319,019 ... 2010 $358,265 ... Ferrum College   
2009 $429,394 ... 2010 $428,681 ... Virginia Wesleyan College
2009 $324,498 ... 2010 $442,983 ... Lynchburg College

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Pub is NOT affiliated with The Winchester Watchdog

For the record, The Pibbster's Pub is not affiliated with The Winchester Watchdog.

For those who want to spread untrue rumors, you need to stop because you are uninformed.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

VHSL Financials since 2006

To help promote transparency with this non-profit and due to the number of requests to share such information and to eliminate a lot of hearsay, the Pub has decided to share the following information on the Virginia High School League's financial status since 2006:

Please note, up til 2006, it was only the Regions being calculated but starting in 2007, the "Districts" where  included as it was stated, some districts do very well while others struggle to keep their heads above water.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

SU's President Speaks out on Millwood Ave Proposal

Tracy Fitzsimmons, President of Shenandoah University:

Setting the Record Straight on Millwood
One of the things I love about our community is how much local citizens care about Winchester, which has been reflected in the public dialogue over the past months on both sides of the Millwood issue.

I speak on behalf of the students, trustees, faculty and staff of Shenandoah University in saying that Shenandoah, too, cares deeply about our local community. I would not be enthusiastic about the potential re-location of Millwood Avenue if I did not believe that it would be good for both the City and the University.

In response to some of the concerns raised, I offer the following clarifications:

•    A consultant was hired because neither the City Council nor the University leaders are traffic experts. The consultants, Gorove/Slade, were hired because of their expertise in City/University transportation issues and their strong emphasis on stakeholder participation. From what I can tell after reading the report, they have based their recommendation on data and best practices.

•    The City of Winchester did not pay for the traffic consultants. The funds came from transportation planning funds available to the Metropolitan Planning Organization. These funds could not have been used to address other local needs like education or signage.

•    The re-location of Millwood has always been specifically aimed at improving traffic safety and flow through the Route 50 gateway and creating a nicer entrance to both Winchester and Shenandoah.

•    It will also facilitate the safe continuation of Winchester’s Green Circle trail, which addresses the City’s goals of promoting open spaces and alternative means of transportation.

•    The recommendation of the traffic experts is best understood as a re-location – not closure, but re-location - of Millwood Avenue about 100 feet to the south by adding a new, dedicated, continuous right-hand turn lane that would be carved out of current University property.

•    The consultant’s recommendation estimates that such a re-location of Millwood would reduce the potential for accidents and minimize driver confusion, especially for visitors to the city. And they estimate that the delay to those of us who regularly drive that route will be three to seven seconds.

•    The University will secure the funds necessary to complete the road improvements for this project currently estimated at $1.7 million, with no funding expected from the City of Winchester.

•    As a gesture of good faith toward that end, Shenandoah University has already set aside $500,000 for the project. This is the half a million dollars that our Board chair, Jim Vickers, referred to in a recent interview. This sum is a beginning and not a ceiling. SU is willing to take responsibility for raising the remainder of the funds necessary for the project.

•    The Economic Development Analysis & Master Plan of the Economic Development Authority lists an “Entry Corridor Improvement Program” as an important tactic to “Improve the Image of the City.” This project addresses that need for the Route 50 entry corridor. Both citizens and visitors alike will be greeted by a less confusing and more beautiful entrance to the city, with all of the appropriate signage to direct them to the historic district.

•    Finally, the University and the businesses immediately adjacent to it are in a mutually-sustainable position. Our students and their parents rely heavily on Sheetz and the Hampton Inn, and we have faculty and staff who patronize Beltone. As they thrive, the University thrives. We are confident that the Millwood improvements can be designed in a way that is beneficial to the local businesses – and we intend to continue to be a good neighbor to these businesses.
Over the last three decades, Shenandoah University has heavily invested time and resources in historic Winchester. The results include:

•    A $1 million renovation of the former John Kerr School building. Each year, more than 1,500 local residents take music, dance and art classes in this historic building.

•    Locating three of our academic programs – physical therapy, occupational therapy and education – downtown.

•    The purchase and renovation of the former Solenberger Hardware building on the Loudoun Street Mall for student apartments and a commercial space. In addition to bringing new revenue to downtown merchants, this property will remain on the City’s tax rolls.

•    The relocation of University staff members to the Feltner Building, on the Loudoun Street Mall, and the opening to the public of the Feltner Museum on a weekly basis, again, bringing activity and revenue to the City’s historic center.

If the re-location of that short stretch of Millwood Avenue were going to hurt the businesses or citizens of downtown Winchester, it would have the same negative impact on Shenandoah’s current and future operations downtown!

Instead, I believe that the re-location of Millwood will serve both the University and the Winchester community well.

If we can create a beautiful Route 50 entrance to Winchester, a nice entrance to the University that will reflect positively on the City, assure safer vehicular travel on the same number of lanes, direct traffic more clearly to the downtown – all without having the Winchester government shoulder the financial costs nor the citizens suffer with more than a seven second traffic delay – then isn’t that a win-win?
Isn’t that the kind of end goal toward which City-University partnerships are supposed to strive?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Winchester Star's view on Millwood Closure

Our View: 'Win-win' . . .
April 23, 2011
Or more like 'Advantage, SU'?

What's good for Shenandoah University will ultimately be good for Winchester. That's essentially the message put forth by James T. Vickers, chairman of the university's Board of Trustees, pertinent to the potential closure of the stretch of Millwood Avenue between the Interstate 81 interchange and Apple Blossom Drive.

The issue of whether or not to close this 1,000-yard ribbon of roadway, long hanging fire, will attain an initial measure of resolution next week when the local Metropolitan Planning Organization offers its recommendation on this proposal. If the MPO gives it a thumbs-up, as anticipated, the plan will be forwarded to City Council for ultimate approval or rejection.

Earlier this week, Mr. Vickers shed considerable light on SU's plans should City Council decide the closure resides in Winchester's best interests. The school envisions a brick wall around its southern boundary - a $1 million project, complete with a grand entry to the campus at University Drive - as part of a tree-lined, brick-walled approach to Winchester. Ancillary to this initiative would be an interior road system within the university, prompted by the projected closure of current entrances and exits to the Harry F. Byrd Jr. School of Business and the former National Guard armory.
For the remaining editor, following this link:

Friday, April 1, 2011

Interesting online FaceBook campaign poll

Check it out below, very interesting in how this will break down with individuals are actually attaching their name when their cast their vote.

What Should Shenandoah University do with $1.5-$2.0 million dollars?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Joint Commission reports less charity care will be needed

Stephen W. Bowman, Staff Attorney/Methodogist at Joint Commission on Health Care (November 3, 2010) reports that the number of uninsured and charity care need will decrease from the impact of the federal health care reform.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Report recommends Millwood closure (NVDaily)

A consultant’s recommendation to the Winchester-Frederick County Metropolitan Planning Organization includes closing a stretch of Millwood Avenue near Shenandoah University. 

Dennis Grundman/Daily 

By J.R. Williams --
January 13, 2011

WINCHESTER -- A transportation consultant has recommended closing Millwood Avenue between Jubal Early Drive and Apple Blossom Drive as the best alternative to the area's current traffic pattern.

A draft report prepared by Washington-based Gorove/Slade Associates Inc., which includes the non-binding recommendation, was released Wednesday by the Winchester-Frederick County Metropolitan Planning Organization, a regional planning body that commissioned the study.

The study is the result of a comprehensive traffic analysis, input from several public workshops and other submitted comments. Eight scenarios for the area were developed and considered, including leaving Millwood open or closing other nearby roads.

Gorove/Slade has recommended closing the Millwood Avenue stretch, constructing a right-turn lane for westbound traffic on Jubal Early at its intersection with Apple Blossom Drive and adding a traffic signal near where Lowry Drive intersects Apple Blossom.

The report says the alternative was selected because it improves safety, convenience and appearance. Improvements are estimated to cost $1.73 million.

Public comment also swayed toward that alternative, the report says.

"From the comments it was apparent that there were strong opinions among different groups and interests that participated," it says, noting the concerns of critics who said they were not well-represented.

However, "The majority of the comments from the public sessions concluded that [the selected alternative] had the most merit," it says.

Gorove/Slade also recommended additional measures to consider if the plan is implemented, including a suggested route for the Green Circle Trail and implementing updated signs. It also recommends renaming Apple Blossom, north of Jubal Early, to Millwood Avenue for continuity.

MPO officials are expected to review the draft report at two meetings scheduled for Wednesday.

The Citizens Advisory and Technical Advisory committees will meet at 8:30 a.m. in the Board of Supervisors meeting room at the Frederick County office complex, 107 N. Kent St., Winchester.

The MPO Policy Board will meet at 10 a.m. in a first-floor conference room at the same address.

After reviewing the study, the policy board will decide on the next step and whether to schedule another meeting for public comment.

Chris Price, executive director of the Northern Shenandoah Valley Regional Commission and MPO secretary, has said such a meeting is likely.

The MPO ultimately will make a recommendation based on public comment and the Gorove/Slade analysis, but final authority over the matter rests with the Winchester City Council.

The full study, including all public comment collected to date, is posted to the NSVRC website at Click on "Commission News."

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

City Council votes to keep WMC tax exempt with amended ordinance

City Council voted to keep WMC campus tax exempt with an amended ordinance that will require WMC to make a payment to the city that will be $750,000 annually in lieu of be taxed.  It will be billed semi-annually and is reviewable every six years.

Kudos to the City Council for understanding that this David vs. Goliath battle would of been a heavy financial burden on the City of Winchester.

If WMC’s request for tax exemption for the campus was denied tonight, anyone could assume that an inevitable lengthy litigation process would have taken place.  A costly litigation process would have not been in the best interest of the City with its limited resources as compared to Valley Health Systems.

This agreement has ended the current litigation between VHS and the City of Winchester.

WMC and VHS’s reps must be thrilled with such agreed upon payment once one reviews would could have been.

Something to ponder, in 2009 ... WMC (not-for-profit) paid $98,896 in taxes to the City of Winchester and Lewis-Gale (for-profit) paid Salem-City $17,744,293 as it makes one wonder, was there some money left on the table?

Click here to review:
Winchester Medical Center (not-for-profit) and Lewis-Gale Medical Center (for-profit) 2009 comparison

Please note that WMC's down year in profitability for 2008 of just $9.5 million rebounded quite well in 2009 with $53.7 million.

This website: has profit figures that were documented for years 2000-2006 as the Winchester Medical Center had a 10yr profit total of $365.5 million during years 2000-2009.

$11,917,127 - 2000
 $4,262,944 - 2001
$25,868,766 - 2002
$35,113,921 - 2003
$46,711,931 - 2004
$54,346,679 - 2005
$57,422,789 - 2006
$66,617,961 - 2007
per IRS990
 $9,500,911 - 2008 per IRS990
$53,757,390 - 2009 per

$365,520,419 ...  Winchester Medical Center's profits 2000-2009

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Should the entire Wincheste Medical Center campus be tax exempt?

If you agree that the entire Winchester Medical Center campus should not be tax exempt, then contact and/or forward this Open Forum written by Paul Hampton onto your respective council representative.

Forward this e-mail onto your friends and neighbors who are residents within the City limits.

City Council is voting on an ordinance to deny or approve the entire WMC campus tax exempt Tuesday night, Jan. 11th at 7pm.

City Council members:

Tuesday night's agenda ... reference Pages 27-30: 

Open Forum: VH's 'community benefit'
October 23, 2010

Hospital request for tax exemption also on docket

January 8, 2011
By Vic Bradshaw

More background info on Winchester City Council's upcoming vote for an ordinance to deny or approve the entire Winchester Medical Center campus as tax exempt this Tuesday night, January 11 at 7pm in Rouss City Hall.

WMC ruled not tax-exempt
City Council votes 7-0 to authorize first-half real estate tax bill of more than $1 million

September 29, 2010
By Vic Bradshaw

58.1-3603 Exemptions not applicable when building is source of revenue

58.1-3605 Triennial application for exemption; removal by local governing body

58.1-3606 Property exempt from taxation by classification

58.1-3650 Post-1971 property exempt from taxation by designation

58.1-3651 Property exempt from taxation by classification or designation by ordinance adopted by local govern...

Burkholder: No 'qualifying exemption' met by WMC
September 30, 2010
By Ann T. Burkholder
Tax questions regarding Valley Health and/or Winchester Medical Center have comprised a significant portion of my workload over the past lively nine months as Commissioner of the Revenue.

On Jan. 27, 2010, (City Attorney) Tony Williams, staff member Tina Butler, and I visited the Wellness Center in response to Valley Health's protest of the personal property tax and business license taxes of that site. At the time, Todd Way of Valley Health also asked about the questionnaires regarding the initial triennial review of tax-exempt properties, any need to apply for exemption of the new Diagnostic Center, and options for minimizing tax discussions regarding future construction and usage charges.

Consequently, Valley Health submitted an application for real estate tax exemption for the WMC campus in February 2010, which was scheduled for review at the March 23 City Council work session. Upon seeing the recommendation of the Assessor and Commissioner of the Revenue that Valley Health be denied a blanket exemption, Valley Health then withdrew its application. By filing and subsequently withdrawing this application, Valley Health clearly demonstrated its own awareness that no clear and irrefutable tax exemption exists for the WMC campus.

Since then, the city and Valley Health have gone back and forth on the matter, accelerated by recent meetings between the two parties. In a letter dated Sept. 2, James Daniel, attorney for Valley Health, wrote, "We understand that it is not in dispute that charitable, nonprofit, Virginia hospitals are exempt by classification from local real estate and personal property tax."

I do not agree with this statement; rather, whether Valley Health/Winchester Medical Center qualifies for exemption under that section of the Code of Virginia is specifically what is in question. It is the position of this office that the entity is subject to taxation unless City Council enacts a classification or designation otherwise.

It is likely that the City of Winchester considered the original Winchester Memorial Hospital, on the Stewart Street site, and the naissent Winchester Medical Center to be tax-exempt under liberal interpretation of the language of the 1902 Virginia Constitution. While post-1971 updates to the Code of Virginia include stricter guidelines, nothing has been found which clearly establishes WMC's entitlement to tax exemption under either the current or earlier version of the Constitution.

While correspondence from prior administrations suggests that the issue was examined, by all parties' accounts, the mission and business of today's Winchester Medical Center have substantially evolved from the hospital of yore. As a result, the commissioner has little basis on which to conclude that ownership, use of the property, and, in fact, the property itself, are the same as when the exemption initially came into use.

On Sept. 23, Valley Health officials held a press conference at the Wellness Center to discuss their 2009 Community Benefit Report. As stated by the Valley Health Board Chair, the point was to show what Valley Health gives to the community in lieu of paying taxes. Of the $71.3 million in benefits claimed, over 63 percent consists of bad debt expense and Medicare Reimbursement Shortfall, both of which more accurately fall under the cost of doing business.

Valley Health avers its not-for-profit status and charitable contributions undermine any claim of ineligibility for exemption, yet neither point is relevant to the matter at hand. Not-for-profit does not automatically equate to non-taxable. Moreover, while the City of Winchester is very appreciative of the generosity and community benefits provided by Valley Health, these are not a substitute for the benefits provided by tax revenue. Here in the city, we are blessed with many citizens and businesses that willingly donate goods, money, and services to designated charities, yet also pay their fair share of local taxes for the common good.

Assisted by the City Attorney, City Assessor, and my staff, I have reviewed applicable state and local code, local records of council action, numerous legal opinions and proceedings, and information provided by Valley Health. Considerations in evaluating tax-exempt status have included:

Categories of taxation, to include real estate, gross receipts business license and personal property taxes.

Usage of real property, including undeveloped land, property leased to outside entities, and property used for personal and professional services.

Variety of business units operating under Valley Health, including traditional hospital functions, as well as those in direct competition with fully taxable entities, such as the Wellness Center and physician office practices under Valley Physician Enterprise.

Fair and equitable distribution of local taxpaying responsibility, recognizing that Valley Health will continue to expand its vision, mission, and revenue stream.

The role of Valley Health as a valuable community partner.

At this point, my findings indicate the property and activities of the WMC Campus do not meet any qualifying exemption by classification or by designation and thus are taxable. Within the next two weeks, absent compelling evidence to the contrary, my office will begin preparing the current year real estate tax bills for the WMC Campus and will proceed with other applicable billings.

Ann T. Burkholder is commissioner of the revenue for the City of Winchester.

WMC had a profit total of $311.7 million for years 2000-2008
This website: has profit figures that were documented for years 2000-2004 as the Winchester Medical Center had a 9yr profit total of $311.7 million during years 2000-2008.

VHS serves 18 counties to be exact in VA, MD and WV. 
Is it fair to the citizens of Winchester for Valley Health System to take millions and millions of dollars made locally tax free to reinvest across state lines?  

VHS is basically constructing on average $30 million dollar mini hub hospitals in Berkeley Springs WV, Romney WV and Page County.

Valley Health's statement on the regional communities that it serves:

WMC provides a range of services for its communities which includes clinics and support programs.

All of these items give patients access to leading edge technology and state of the art service, and to experience high quality patient care that is close to where they live.

These activities are overseen by WMC's BOD's, comprised mainly of independent community members.

The population has increased from the previous year from 951,209 to 959,447 in 2008.

The female population for 2007 was 479,624 and the male population was 471,585 in 2007.

The population numbers for 2008 show that females increased to 483,523 and the male population increased to 475,924 for 2008.

The regional community that VH serves is widely diverse.  The regional community racial ethnic breakdown in the communities served by VH is as follows: 84.2% White, 4.8% Black, 1.7% Asian, 1.5% Multiracial, 1.2% other, 0.2% Native American and 3.3% Hispanic for 2008.

The total population per race or ethnicity increased significantly from 2007.  Give the general location of facilities, WMC serves several migrant worker communities during harvesting of crops for the local farmers.

There is also an aging population that WMC serves with several of its communities.  As the baby boomers grow older, more and more medical care will be needed and provided by WMC.

Where are the Readers of the The Pub coming from and how long are they staying?

Google Analytics reports that since November of 2008, the readers of The Pub are spending on average of 4 minutes and 47 seconds per visit that includes on average of 2.39 pages viewed.  A total of 17,593 pages have been viewed.

There have been a total of 453 different service providers/networks as of 1/9/2011 where the readers derive from.  Click on this document to see the breakdown of what networks/service providers are producing the most consistent readers ... Google Analytics : The Pibbsters Pub as of 1/9/2011

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Review of Millwood Avenue closure plan near completion (NVDaily)

By J.R. Williams --
December 31, 2010

WINCHESTER -- The Winchester-Frederick County Metropolitan Planning Organization is completing its review of a draft analysis on the closure of a stretch of Millwood Avenue near Shenandoah University.

The study, contracted to Gainesville-based engineering firm Gorove/Slade Associates Inc., is expected to include summaries of public comment, the study process to date and data gathered on the proposal.

The draft likely will be made available next week, said Chris Price, MPO secretary and executive director of the Northern Shenandoah Valley Regional Commission.

Although the consultant may indicate a preferred alternative in the draft study, the MPO ultimately will make a recommendation.

A final decision on the proposal rests with the Winchester City Council.

"We're moving toward recommendations, but we're not going to come out with an official recommendation until after we go through another round of public comment," Price said.

A public comment meeting on the draft likely will be scheduled in mid-January, although a date has not yet been set, he said.

The MPO commissioned the study earlier this year to examine closing Millwood between Jubal Early Drive and Apple Blossom Drive and adding a right-turn lane for westbound traffic on Jubal Early at its intersection with Apple Blossom Drive.

Working groups studied alternatives for the intersection at previous public meetings.

Among the options explored were building a pedestrian bridge over Millwood, closing Apple Blossom Drive or closing Jubal Early between Millwood and Apple Blossom.

Closure of Millwood and adding the turn lane at Jubal Early is estimated to cost about $1.5 million, according to Gorove/Slade materials. That option would improve safety at the intersection, correct an awkward traffic pattern and improve aesthetics, the materials say.

Meanwhile, a local businessman who opposes the closure has gathered more than 500 signatures on a petition since introducing it about six weeks ago.

Mike Brill, owner and manager of the Midas auto repair shop at 824 S. Loudoun St., said Thursday the signatures are only from visitors to his business. A wooden sign at the edge of the shop's parking lot, at the corner of Loudoun and Gerrard streets, directs people inside.

If the stretch of Millwood Avenue is closed, Brill said, "that traffic is going to keep going to the left. It's not going to come back downtown.

"My business depends on traffic flow. ... They're hurting downtown businesses. We just went through a year of construction."

Brill said he eventually will turn over the petition to the City Council.

MPO Technical Advisory Committee and Policy Board meetings are scheduled for Jan. 19 at 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m.