At its first meeting back from the summer recess, the Vienna Town Council took care of basic business and tossed around a few larger concerns.
Councilmember Laurie Genevro Cole brought up the issue of Verizon, which is working on a franchise agreement with the Town of Vienna for cable and wireless service. Cole’s concern regarded undergrounding utilities, which she said had yet to be put into writing.
Verizon’s estimate of the undergrounding utilities cost is six times what it once was, said town attorney Steven Briglia.
"I would throw the number out there, but I don’t want to put a damper on the evening," he said. "For some reason, (Verizon) keeps thinking that the technical side of undergrounding utilities is getting harder and harder."
Town manager John Schoeberlein said that the town had sent a letter to Verizon to try and get an estimate in writing.
Councilmember George Lovelace brought up white goods disposal fees. In December 2004, the council voted not to use town resources to dispose of white goods, or household appliances such as old refrigerators, microwaves, air conditioners, or washing machines, for residents. White goods pickup had once been part of the town’s special pickup program but was discontinued on Jan. 1, 2005.
Public works director Dennis King said that rising gas prices and overhead costs made it difficult for private trash disposal companies to contract with the town.
"We offered to pay for (white goods disposal) back when prices were cheaper," said Councilmember Maud Robinson.
"The citizens are entitled to that," said Lovelace. "I’d like to see it readdressed."
Lovelace also expressed concern about the lack of clarity in the town code regarding individual developers and the problems that sometimes result from improper building practices, such as drainage problems or erosion in the surrounding neighborhood.
"We have to have some way to capsulize processes for the development of individual homes," he said. "We have a code that deals with erosion and settlement control, but I’m not sure to what extent we are abiding by them."
IF THE TOWN were to fix problems like stormwater control caused by individual developments, said Lovelace, "it means the developer of the house is getting off."
The town and town staff are working with state representatives and with other jurisdictions to find a way to make the code more legally enforceable, said Briglia. "I hope that makes you feel better," he said.
The Town Council also voted on a motion to support the Town of Herndon, which is drafting legislation to the 2006 Virginia General Assembly for a resolution moving the cost of undergrounding utilities in and around development projects onto the developers.
The resolution is consistent with the way the town operates, said Briglia. Although typical development projects in Vienna are smaller than those in Fairfax County or the Herndon area, he said, the last handful of developers who have come into the town have followed the practice of undergrounding utilities themselves.
"It couldn’t hurt us to do that," said Seeman.
Briglia also noted that supporting Herndon’s proposal would give Vienna more clout when demanding the same practice of developers.
The council voted unanimously to draft a letter of support for Herndon’s proposal.
THE TOWN COUNCIL also voted on the following items:
* The council voted unanimously to purchase two police interceptor vehicles, under the Vehicle Replacement Program at a cost of $47,487. The cars are 2006 Ford Crown Victorias from Sheehy Ford of Richmond, with complete police package, limited-slip rear axles and reverse sensing system, among other features.
* By a 6-1 vote, with Councilmember Michael Polychrones opposing, the council approved a consideration to terminate the current civilian retirement plan and replace it with a defined contribution plan for new employees and current employees who want to sign up for it. The change will not take benefits away from employees under the existing plan.
* A consideration to continue the purchase of Sensus water meters through Hughes Supply, Inc. passed unanimously. Hughes Supply is the only known manufacturer of the product.
* The council voted unanimously to award stone for street work to Chantilly Crushed Stone, Inc., for $26,736.
* The council voted unanimously to continue riding a $21,415 contract with Stafford County, Va. for work uniform rental service, rugs, dust mops and accessories to G&K Services.