The 2008-2010 Town Council approved a budget on June 8th, 2010, setting a $0.2675 tax rate per $100 of assessed value on real estate; maintaining the current 1.5% meals tax rate and raising the cigarette tax rate $.25 per pack to $.75. The current council maintained the $0.2675 tax rate per $100 of assessed value on real estate, but raised the meals tax by 1% to 2.5% to which I was opposed; and some of our restaurants have suffered. (See associated Times newspaper article.)
Through Fairfax County's Area Plan Review process, the Town made requests to Fairfax County to mitigate traffic, provide adequate recreational facilities and public services, and better access to the site and its planned transit station. The Town has also been working cooperatively with Loudoun County through the Inter-jurisdictional committee with Fairfax County, Loudoun County and the Town to work together to best address traffic and development plans that will have an impact on the entire region.
The Town continues to push for a bridge over the Dulles Toll Road to connect the planned development north of the Toll Road with development planned for the south in order to mitigate congestion on Route 28. We have also suggested direct access to the CIT metro site from the Toll Road in order to reduce the number of people who might take the Centreville Road/Elden Street exit and cut through Town to reach the site.
I continue to serve on the Dulles Area Transportation Association's (DATA's) Board of Directors as its Secretary and the Town's representative, to assist area businesses and municipalities in their efforts to manage and improve transportation demand.
Serving as the General Laws sub-committee chairman of the Virginia Municipal League's Legislative Committee over the past two years has afforded me an opportunity to work with elected officials from all across the state as we encourage the General Assembly to be responsive to local government needs. One such issue is reducing unfunded State mandates to local municipalities!
The town has made significant reductions in cases of overcrowded housing. Continued zoning enforcement will ensure our town retains a high quality of life.
Neighborhood preservation also means embracing our current zoning districts and examining all the potential pros and cons before making any changes to those districts that might affect our quality of life.
The long-awaited Herndon Downtown Master Plan is finally a reality. The Town Council heard from the citizens that development in our Historic Downtown must retain the current low to moderate density levels and new construction must blend cohesively with the old.
Neighbors of the Dranesville Road/Park Avenue and Park Avenue/Monroe Street intersections were awarded an opportunity to address proposed traffic calming measures at public hearings, thanks to Mayor DeBenedittis's agreement to follow my suggestion to place these items on the agenda (against the majority of Town Council's wishes). Citizen Involvement DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE!! (See related Washington Post blog about the outcome of citizen involvement).
Your vote on Tuesday, May 1st WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE in deciding whether we move to higher density 'urbanization', or continue to embrace our 'small town character and charm'. It's YOUR decision, so take part in the process and VOTE!
After the last Town Council election and six months of public comment on the Town's anti-solicitation ordinance, the majority of Town Council (of which I was not a part) voted to allow solicitation from our sidewalks. Click here to read more.
While an Economic Development task force has been assembled to create a branding message for the Town, individual businesses have expanded their operations such as Auto Scandia and Wiygul's Herndon Automotive with the help of myself and other individual Councilmembers. I believe it is important for Town Council members to get involved in all aspects of Economic Development.
One of the most important accomplishments of the 2006 and 2008 Town Councils was the creation of the 2027 Vision Statement. The current council made a few minor tweaks to the Vision Statement in 2010, but the sentiment remained the same. Will we be able to hold onto this vision in the future?
"In the year 2030, Herndon continues to be a 21st century town where history and heritage are respected and where people and their involvement matter. Herndon's inclusiveness and sense of community foster empowerment in each citizen. Its unique character and charm attract a wide variety of people, including many families who are raising their children here. Herndon is the anchor of an expanded community where positive benefits extend beyond the Town's boundaries."