Town Council Notes

Town Council Notes

Good Neighbor Award

At the Nov. 23 Town Council public hearing, Judy Downer announced Marilyn Katein as the recipient of the town's first "Good Neighbor Award."

"Ever since I have known Marilyn, she's given a helping hand to those in need," said Downer.

Downer said she nominated her neighbor who has lived in Herndon for 48 years because of her desire to not only help others but also stray and injured animals and because Katein, 81, will move from Herndon next month to live with her daughter and family in Baltimore.

Although she will not be in Herndon, upon receiving her award from Mayor Michael O'Reilly, she assured him "I'll come back every once in a while — I'll keep an eye on all of you."

The good neighbor award was created by the Cultivating Community Initiative to encourage community spirit. The award honors residents who take the time to make the neighborhood and community a better place.

Telecommunications Tax Restructured

The Town Council unanimously passed a resolution at the Nov. 23 public hearing regarding the restructure of a telecommunications tax currently in the 2005 General Assembly's deliberations.

The resolution instructs Town Attorney Richard Kaufman to follow the possible restructuring of the tax through the General Assembly, notifying Del. Tom Rust of the negative impact it will have on Herndon if approved.

The proposed restructuring would eliminate local and state taxes on telecommunications and instead impose a general state tax.

Kaufman explained that general state tax would then be divided up in Richmond based on the General Assembly's criteria and distributed by the state to the local governments. This means that one local government may see more returns from the tax than another based on set requirements.

In the Nov. 16 work session, Mayor Michael O'Reilly had explained to the council that he and Kaufman had been watching the telecommunications tax closely, and both believed it would not benefit Herndon.

Budget Amendments Approved

The Town Council voted unanimously to approve an ordinance that would amend the Fiscal Year 2005 Adopted Budget. By approving the ordinance, the Capital Projects Fund and Information Systems Improvements Fund will show the expenditure and receipt of two reimbursement grants.

The adopted budget modifications include a $180,000 Virginia Department of Transportation Urban Allocation grant to help with the Sugarland Run Regional Trail project and a $61,348 COPS 2004 Technology grant to help the GIS Mapping/Crime Analysis Software modules portion of the budget.

Center Expansion Approved

Phase 4 of the Herndon Community Center expansion was approved by council at the public hearing.

The expansion includes the increase of floor area to the center, additional parking, storm water management measures and related landscaping at 814 Ferndale Avenue.

Joint Communications Committee

The council passed 5-0, with Vice Mayor Darryl Smith and council member Steven Mitchell abstaining, to approve the establishment of a joint communications committee and the appointment of the members.

The committee was created in November 2003 by the mayor and council to encourage greater communication between council and the Planning Commission on various long-term planning issues. The establishment of a committee also allows the Planning Commission to take on more strategic issues.

Included on the committee will be two members from council, Smith and Mitchell, two members from the commission, Jay Donahue and Paul LeReche and Henry Bibber, the town's director of community development.

Each member will serve a two-year term, the first expiring June 30, 2006, with the appointment to the committee ending if the member's term on council or the commission ends before then.

While the committee was formed to increase communication between council and commission, it was also created to better inform the community about future developments and projects in town.

Through the committee, the hope is the community will learn about projects early on in the process so public comment and suggestions can be heard and considered when developers are still formatting plans.