Post #522: The 2/3/2020 Town Council meeting

Posted on February 4, 2020

The Vienna Town Council met last night to consider a few items of business.  You can find the agenda and meeting materials on this web page.

Land at 440 Beulah and 114 Locust converted to government use.  The main item on the agenda was to get the ball rolling on legally allowing a couple of parcels of land in Vienna to be used as part of the new police station project.  The properties in question are the area directly adjacent to the existing police station (114 Locust) , and a house out on Beulah Road (440 Beulah), adjacent to the “Beulah Road Mulch Yard”.  The Town bought that Beulah Road house back 2018, but refused at that time to say why it had bought it.

Unsurprisingly, that proposal passed unanimously.  That was pretty much a given, as they’ll have to rezone at least the house next to the police station in order to build the new one there.

As I understand it, this was just the first step – amending the Town’s comprehensive plan to allow this.  I have the vague impression that they’ll have to come back and redo this, for the rezoning proper, in order to satisfy all the legal requirements.

Town account balances.  A second item of business was one that I think I haven’t seen before, which was a report on the Town’s financial assets — its investment balances.  Given the property values and incomes in Vienna, it should come as no surprise that the Town is in good financial health and has tens of millions (30-ish million?) of dollars invested in various interest-bearing accounts.

I still have not quite puzzled out why I haven’t seen this before, and why I’m seeing it now.  Either I wasn’t paying attention when I researched the budget last year, or this is a new report.  I can recall looking for and being unable to find information on account balances, but simple incompetence on my part could easily explain that.

Councilman Noble will not run for re-election.  The only surprise in the meeting was that Councilman Noble will not run for re-election, citing (I believe) the need to care for a relative.  I think everyone of a certain age can empathize with that.  And those not yet of that age can be glad they haven’t had to deal with it yet.

To me, the right context for this is the controversial vote to approve 444 Maple West, against considerable citizen opposition.  The vote was 5-2.

Of the five voting in favor:

  • Three have chosen not to run for re-election.
  • One was defeated in the last election.
  • One is running for mayor.

Of the two voting against:

  • Both are running for mayor.

In hindsight, that vote, plus the simple passage of time and the occurrence of life events, appears to have been as much of a watershed moment as you are likely to see in the politics of a small town.  But only in hindsight.

As an aside:  I assume the Town will have its recording of this up soon, so I do not plan to post my own recording of the meeting.  I also have to admit that I didn’t much pay attention during the discussion of the police station item, and maybe I’ll replay the tape and see if there’s anything else worth reporting about that.