Let the competition begin — it is election time in Herndon. While elections for the Town Council will not take place until May 2, council members are already announcing intentions for next term.
Mayor Michael O'Reilly announced his plan to run for re-election at the end of last week.
"I plan to run a very vigorous and rigorous public campaign," he said.
O'Reilly added he was excited and honored to have the endorsements of former mayor and current Del. Tom Rust (R-86), Sen. Janet Howell (D-32), Fairfax County Chairman Gerald Connolly (D-At-large) and Supervisor Joan DuBois (R-Dranesville).
Five campaign issues that will be important next term include overcrowding, neighborhood preservation, taxes and government spending, future development and the day worker population, O'Reilly said.
All top priorities of the current council, each item needs to remain in the forefront for the 2006-08 council.
During the 2004-06 term, council members increased the number of community inspectors to investigate overcrowding cases in the town. Penalties for violators of the zoning ordinance were also increased. All significant accomplishments, many steps still need to be taken to reduce the number of overcrowding cases in town, O'Reilly said.
Last year also marked the largest decrease in the town's real estate tax, reducing it from 28 cents per $100 assessed value to 25 cents per $100 assessed value. But, because real estate assessments have dramatically risen in the past five years, council must "continue to exercise sound fiscal management and hold the line on taxes" for citizens, O'Reilly said.
IN THE NEXT YEAR, council will also face three major development projects. These include the downtown redevelopment project, development around the future Metrorail station and infill development, according to O'Reilly. Each item will have a significant impact on the town and will need specific guidance from the council to ensure Herndon's quality of life is maintained, O'Reilly said.
Next term, council will also be faced with continuing the success of the recently approved day worker hiring center. Success is possible by ensuring the town's anti-solicitation ordinance is enforced and no additional unregulated sites develop in town, O'Reilly said. Because controlling illegal immigration is a federal issue, O'Reilly plans to continue his open dialogue with federal officials to push for federal action to address immigration reform.
O'Reilly has scheduled a tentative re-election kick off event for early March, and plans to have his Web site, www.OReillyForMayor.com, updated and re-launched at that time. He can be reached at mike@OReillyForMayor.com.