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Town of Vienna Poised for a Robust 2014

Town leaves 2013 on strong footing.

When people think of wonderful places to live, they think of safety, a strong education system, recreational opportunities, a vital economy, Town Manager Mercury Payton says. Vienna earned its spot as the third-best small town in America to live in.

When people think of wonderful places to live, they think of safety, a strong education system, recreational opportunities, a vital economy, Town Manager Mercury Payton says. Vienna earned its spot as the third-best small town in America to live in. Donna Manz/The Connection

“We’re continuing the tradition of those before us who established the foundation that makes Vienna the great place to live in that it is.”

— Town Manager Mercury Payton

By all appropriate measurements – Moody’s, Standard and Poor, the Vienna Town Council and Town Manager – Vienna’s way-of-life and financial footing remain in the exceptionally healthy zone.

Vienna Town Manager Mercury Payton called 2013 a “successful year as typical for the town,” referring to the town’s financial position as strong and robust.

“Our budget was reasonably put together with a goal in mind that the services residents expect be provided at the same excellent, prudent level that we’ve always had,” said Payton.

THE TOWN closed the fiscal books in 2013 [June 30] in a “positive” position, which has been the trend of the town for many years, Payton said. “We bring in more money than we spend.

“We, typically, take an amount of money above expenditures, take a portion of that, and put it in the town’s general fund reserve which is the town’s saving account,” said Payton. What’s left goes for projects not met.

Payton said that department directors do an “excellent” job managing their budget. They let the Town Council know what they need to run their departments. For the most part, he said, department directors spent under budgeted amounts. “That’s a testament to their stewardship of funds,” said Payton.

Payton alluded to Vienna’s recognition as the third-best small town in America to live in. Fiscal responsibility was noted since it impacts the quality of life around Vienna, from safety to recreational opportunities to special events and programs.

“When people think of wonderful places to live, we think of safety, a strong education system, recreational opportunities, a vital economy,” said Payton. “Vienna is strategically placed within the national capital region.” There are substantial professional opportunities for Vienna residents in the area, and the housing market in Vienna is stable and robust. The Town of Vienna had 110 rebuilds in 2013, where houses on a lot are razed and new ones built in their places.

An abundance of family-focused activities, festivals, and youth sports programs helps maintain the small-town feel, he said.

The town put in place its first participation under the Public-Private Education Act which allows for a streamlined allocation process to enhance and improve a town’s infrastructure. The Church Street parking garage, which fell through, came under PPEA.

Going forward in 2014, the Town of Vienna has capital improvement projects that address infrastructure needs. The most visible to the public will be phase I of the renovation of the Vienna Community Center. The gym is in need of repair and the thrust of phase I addresses its renovation.

Other capital improvement projects are water and sewer, sidewalk construction, storm drainage and new power generators for Town Hall and the Northside Property Yard.

Vienna has a long-term capital improvement plan on the agenda through 2030 that embraces infrastructure.

A municipal bond was issued in the fall of 2013. “We have a budget that allows us to continue having the annual debt payment covered by the meals tax,” said Payton. “People who don’t live in Vienna but buy meals here support payment of Vienna’s debt.” Real estate taxes are not used for capital improvement projects, such as the community center renovation.

“We have a great staff, wonderful leadership of the directors, and our Town Council is appreciative of the work Town employees do each day. We’re all very much attuned to the needs of our residents.”

PAYTON IS ACTIVE in the community outside his workday. He comes to community functions, helps the Optimists sell Christmas trees. When he coaches Little League baseball, he runs into parents who tell him they support local life in Vienna. It’s a synergy of government and community making Vienna a great place to live. Town employees and the Town Council recognize the confidence residents place in them.

“Because of the emphasis on the Vienna ‘way,’ we treat people who come in here with the greatest of respect.

“We’re continuing the tradition of those before us who established the foundation that makes Vienna the great place to live in that it is,” said Payton.