The newest incarnation of the Clifton Town Council kicked off its inaugural meeting Tuesday, July 1, at the Town Meeting Hall. Half an hour before the meeting started, Mayor Tom Peterson and Town Council members Chuck Rusnak, Michael Anton, Wayne Nickum, and Pat Layden were officially sworn-in by Fairfax County Clerk of the Court John Frey to their second terms. Newcomer Deborah Dillard, who defeated incumbent Town Council member Lane Johnston by one write-in vote, will be serving her first term.
"It’s a big difference from last year," said Peterson. "We had a little tea party [last year] because we had a whole new Town Council."
In addition to their elected titles, Council member Michael Anton was voted vice mayor of Clifton. After Peterson called for a motion to name Anton vice mayor, a brief debate followed, eventually ending when a consensus formed that Anton, who received more votes this election than even the mayor, was qualified. The motion passed unanimously.
THE TOWN COUNCIL'S first order of business was reviewing the town’s spending over the past year. According to records stated at the meeting, Clifton brought in around $265,000 while spending nearly $272,000. However, Peterson was quick to point out that proceeds from the town’s annual Clifton Wine Festival, estimated to be around $10,000, had not yet been added to the town’s total revenue for the year. That would leave Clifton’s net profit at approximately $4,000.
Next on the agenda was a report by the Planning Commission, headed by Kathy Kalinowski on the application for incoming restaurant Trummers on Main, after reviewing the restaurant’s plans for table capacity, limiting exterior music and a parking space-sharing arrangement struck with the church next door, Kalinowski recommended approval of the restaurant’s application. The motion passed unanimously. Approval for a site plan is schedule for the next Town Council meeting and, if passed, Trummers is set to open by November.
Donna Netschert, a member of the Parks Committee, was recognized by the council and gave an update on the town’s plan to use money from the Patty Moore Fund to commission two honorary plaques. The fund is an organization dedicated to Patty Moore, an 11-year-old Clifton resident who went missing in July 1970. Her skeletal remains were found three months after her disappearance. According to Netschert, the detective in charge of the investigation told her that Moore’s case had gone "cold" and that the only hope for solving it would be if there were a confession. Since the council had already transferred some of the $10,000 from The Patty Moore Fund to the Parks fund, Netschert was charged with using that money to commission two honorary plaques, one for Moore and one for another Clifton child, Bryce Anderson, who died of cancer in 2006.
"She’s almost an urban legend because nobody knew Patty from this generation," said Netschert in a phone interview.
OTHER ITEMS of note included the adoption of Cardinal Bank as Clifton’s official bank, and the possibility of an ATM being installed in the town. Council member Wayne Nickum, who served as mayor of Clifton from 1982-92, abstained from the vote due to owning stock in Cardinal. The motion passed. Later during the meeting, Nickum argued against allowing the Labor Day Car Show to wire ITS speakers and play music in residential areas. This prompted debate from several members of the council, some of whom said they liked the music and others who said they felt the request might seem unfriendly.
"Maybe I should get my speakers out and blast music the other way." said Nickum. The council made a motion to restrict music and wiring from the Car Show to non-residential areas of Clifton. It was passed unanimously.
The night’s final order of business included a proposal by a local Boy Scout troop to perform various maintenance tasks to the Community Hall, including replacing the refrigerator, floor mats and fixing electrical shorts. The motion passed unanimously, with Peterson saying "I’ll give anyone who comes down here free ice cream for every day they spend [working]."
Clifton’s next Town Council meeting will take place on Aug. 5, 7:30 p.m. at the Clifton Town Meeting Hall.