Public Offers 'Wish List'

Public Offers 'Wish List'

Town Council considers public concerns for upcoming budget planning.

In an attempt to solicit feedback from residents, the Town Council opened its Feb. 8 public session to hear "wish list" items and immediate needs the community thought necessary for the fiscal year 2005-06 budget.

Among ideas presented, streetscape and drainage improvements were mentioned for residents on Wood Street. Because sidewalks are beyond repair and the streets have been repaved so many times they are now inches higher than originally designed, residents said storm water run-off gathers in their yards as opposed to the drainage systems.

Residents said it has been 15 years since the last major improvements to the street, adding they do not want anymore repaving but instead to essentially start over.

RICHARD DOWNER SPOKE as a resident and made it clear he was not representing any organizations when he brought up the separation of the Downtown Business Council from the Herndon Dulles Chamber of Commerce.

Downer said because the Downtown Business Council has voted to become a separate entity, he foresees the organization asking for start up money for initial materials in the future.

He said that although the group will separate from the chamber the main goal will remain to promote Herndon, adding they already have promotion plans in the works for this summer.

MAUREEN RYAN, EXECUTIVE director Council for the Arts of Herndon, used the public comment time to explain to Town Council why the Council for the Arts asked for an $8,000 increase in next year's funds.

Ryan said because the Council for the Arts has seen positive results of their promotion of the arts around town, including a 33 percent increase in funding for art scholarships — up $2,000 from last year — the organization is piloting two programs this year.

One program is a technology in the arts competition to be held at the local area schools.

Sponsored by communication businesses such as SAIC and Cox Communications, Ryan said the program will allow students to learn how art can be used in various technological capacities, in addition to exposing them to future employment opportunities.

The second pilot will be run in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institutions' various seminars.

Through the sponsorship of the Stanley-Martin Properties, the Smithsonian Institutions will offer four seminars in Herndon next year for residents to attend.

Those include everything from a Civil War presentation and culinary arts seminar featuring local restaurants to a discussion on the media.

Ryan said the Council for the Arts would like to offer seminars year round, which is why they asked for an $8,000 one-time only increase to "bridge the gap" this year from summer into fall.

The following year the hope is the success of the programs will finance themselves.

DAVID SWAN, PRESIDENT of the Friends of Runnymede Park, came before Council not to ask for money, but to remind them of the reallocation of money from the proposed nature center fund to other projects earlier this year.

"Five-hundred thousand dollars was taken out of the nature center budget," he said. "I want to remind you of the promise that the money would be back in the fund to construct [the following year]."

Other public comment included the request for more staff in the community development department as well as the department of public works.

CHARLIE WADDELL, PRESIDENT of the Dumbarton Square Homeowner's Association, spoke on behalf of the Herndon Community Association Coalition, saying they would like to see an additional neighborhood inspector on staff.

Based on current inspector, Angela Alford's work, Waddell said the homeowner's associations have seen their neighborhoods cleaned up and violations remedied.

Following public comment Mayor Michael O'Reilly said the council would take everything into consideration while developing the upcoming budget and attempt to address impeding suggestions.