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Silent Night (At Town Hall)

As the first snow of winter fell, the Town Council carried on with what business it had.

If not for the snowy weather, Monday night's Town Council meeting might have been more eventful, although with only three items on the agenda, the meeting was unlikely to reach a high pitch under any meteorological circumstances.

Four awards from the Community Enhancement Commission were presented for outstanding landscaping improvements. They went to Park Street LLC, the Milsteads of Ayrhill Avenue, Magruder's of Virginia and the Vienna Inn. The plaques were highly personalized, even to include pictures of the award-winning properties.

However, the recipients, perhaps intimidated by the winter weather, were not present to receive this distinction.

A public hearing on a proposal to increase eligibility for tax exemption or deferral for seniors and the disabled, attracted two or three citizens, one of whom addressed the council. Resident Norma Jean Curry inquired as to why the public hearing had not been publicized in the town newsletter.

Councilmember George Lovelace assured her, "I know several people who would have been here had it not snowed."

The proposal would increase the cap for exemption or deferral from $240,000 to $340,000 — the highest allowed by state law — and would increase the gross income threshold from $12,000 to $20,000, depending on the amount of tax relief.

Dennis King, the town's director of public works, made a timely request to continue riding a Montgomery County Council of Governments contract with International Salt Company LLC for the purchase of road salt, at a cost of approximately $30,588. That buys about 600 tons of salt. Approval was unanimous, possibly under the immediate threat of no turnout at this winter's council meetings.

A proposal to set a date of Jan. 9 for a public hearing on a proposed zoning change in order to create a half-acre park next to the park maintenance facility on Nutley Street was also unanimously approved.

Perhaps the juiciest tidbits were provided by the council members' reports at the meeting's start.

Councilmember Sydney Verinder alluded to a transmission he had received from the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, saying Dominion Power may soon impinge upon the Washington & Old Dominion Trail to the west of town with the construction of lines and distribution systems. He was not clear on the details, but council members decided they should at least inform Dominion of their feelings on the matter.

Councilmember Lovelace reported that he had talked with some local senior citizens, "and they don't seem to feel the community center has enough to offer to them." He asked that the staff look into the matter.

Mayor Jane Seeman mentioned that the Vienna Town Band will be giving their holiday concert this Sunday at 2 p.m., and she will be there, narrating "'Twas the Fright Before Christmas."

"It was very stressful to practice with them, but I think I've got it," she said.

She also reported that on Friday, Dec. 16, between 2 and 4 p.m., she and the Town Council will hold a reception for Vienna residents at the Town Hall, and she said it appears that Town Engineer Holly Chu, who raises fish as a hobby, had a fish named Wiggles adopted by the family of Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich Jr.