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Clifton Council Looks Forward

Town Council looks ahead to a budget newly elected council will ratify.

One night after an entirely new council was elected, outgoing Mayor Jim Chesley said he’s looking forward to watching the future of Clifton evolve once he leaves office.

“Democracy in action is great,” said Chesley, who will be replaced in July by newly elected mayor Tom Peterson. “This whole council has done a heck of a job these past two years. They’ve raised $450,000 for the town, which is the best start any group has ever had. We trust the new council will spend it wisely and leave some of it in the bank.”

The current council will have one more major item of business before its term ends in June: the adoption of the town’s operating budget for fiscal year 2007.

Council member Brant Baber came to the meeting prepared with a list of suggestions for changes to the budget, including the annualization of the business tax, which brings in an estimated $18,000 each year.

Suggesting that the council err on the side of cautiousness and expect to be “low on revenue and high on expenses,” Baber recommended using lower totals for the amount of income received through business taxes.

He also suggested the council look into legislation that was recently passed that would allow municipalities to receive a portion of taxes paid on cell phones.

“Instead of the taxes going to the county, it would come directly into the town,” Chesley explained. “It’s not a new tax, it’s based on phone bills and usage.”

Baber suggested adding an additional 2 percent to the meal tax on all restaurants in Clifton.

“This is just like what every other town and county within 50 square miles does,” Baber said. “It could bring in an additional $40,000 each year,” Baber said. “It doesn’t seem to have discouraged patronage anywhere else.”

THE BUDGET will be up for a public hearing during the next meeting of the Clifton Town Council, on Tuesday, June 6, after which the council will vote to adopt the budget.

The council also heard a presentation on the current tourism incentive offered by Visit Fairfax, which will involve a massive, county-wide treasure hunt.

“We have the only tourism Web site on the East Coast where you can virtually tour different locations from your computer,” said Arney Quirion, president and chief operating officer for Visit Fairfax, clicking on a virtual tour of Clifton.

Thirty-nine localities on the Visit Fairfax Web site that are highlighted with virtual tours, and a dozen of them are included on the treasure hunt.

Participants will go to the Visit Fairfax Web site and answer a series of trivia questions, pointing them to specific towns, parks or attractions in the county. Those residents who answer all 13 questions correctly will be entered into a larger drawing, and 10 people will be sent on a treasure hunt across the county to find a buried 2006 Infiniti FX 35.

“I guarantee, more people will have heard of Clifton after this promotion if only by going on our site,” Quirion said.

The highlight of the contest will come Labor Day weekend in September, when the 10 finalists will be trying to track down the vehicle.

“There have been so many communities contacting us, asking us to bury the vehicle in their area,” Carney said. “At the end of the summer, there will be 10 people running around the county looking for a buried Infiniti.”