Council Approves Tax Rate

Council Approves Tax Rate

Without so much as a discussion, the Herndon mayor and Town Council approved the tax rate and the appropriation of funds for the fiscal year 2005 budget, which was approved in late April without a funding source.

In addition, the Town Council approved the capital improvements program, which was deferred May 11.

BY A MARGIN of 5-2, with Council members Dennis Husch and Connie Hutchinson opposed, the council agreed to keep the real estate tax at 28 cents per $100 of assessed value. Back in April, the pair had also opposed the proposed tax rate. The difference this time around was the presence of Councilman John De Noyer, who was absent from the April meeting. Approval of the taxes requires a two-thirds majority.

At the first vote in April, Husch recommended reducing the tax rate by a penny, which he said would equate to about $25 per year for the average household. Husch made no attempt to change the rate this time around.

Once the vote was cast for the tax rate, the council moved onto the appropriation of funds. This time Husch was the lone dissenter, again without any comment. The ordinance essentially gives town officials the authority to implement the $34 million FY '05 budget and includes monies for the FY '05 CIP.

THE NEWLY approved CIP includes borrowing funds from the water and sewer fund to help pay for the final phase of the community center renovations.

The CIP vote also cast Husch as the lone objector. He has repeatedly spoken out against borrowing the funds from an enterprise account to pay for items in the general fund. While he did not renew his objections, he did say, "Borrowing money from the water and sewer fund, while it may not be a legal problem, it is an ethics problem. We collect money for one thing and we're using it for another. It violates trust," just two weeks ago.

The public hearing, much like the previous one, drew little attention from the citizens, as well.

The approved CIP includes 11 projects including funding for improvements to the Jefferson Street Park as well as Runnymede Park; complete the community center renovations; provide some funding for the cultural arts center for value engineering and to see if retrofitting the existing structure for a theater is possible; completing the security system and providing furnishings for the new police station; some downtown street improvements; equipment replacement; minor road construction; some storm drainage improvements; building maintenance and upgrading of information technology.