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Thursday, December 8, 2022
FairfaxVienna spends some budget surplus, tucks rest away

Vienna spends some budget surplus, tucks rest away

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Vienna Council OKs Nearly $1.5 Million in Budget Adjustments: Vienna Town Council members on Sept. 26 unanimously approved $1,145,500 worth of adjustments to the fiscal 2023 budget – but cut out a pair of items that would have necessitated more staff.

The Council approved $902,500 for roll-forwards of purchase orders, including $362,500 for vehicles already ordered under Vienna’s Vehicle Replacement Plan. Town officials attributed the increased costs to supply-chain and staffing shortages experienced by the vendors.

The Council also approved $243,000 for carry-forward items identified by town department heads following adoption of the fiscal 2023 budget. But members balked at the prospect of paying $100,000 for two more maintenance workers to address issues at several town facilities and $40,000 to hire temporary staff to help with zoning and business-license enforcement.
“I don’t see the need to add positions,” said Council member Howard Springsteen. “We could have a recession. This is a prime example of ‘mission creep’ right now.”

The Council did approve:

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• $80,000 worth of incentives for hiring and retaining maintenance workers who have a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Such drivers have been in short supply in recent years and competition for them has been fierce, said Vienna Finance Director Marion Serfass.

Maintenance-employee turnover has been high in recent years, as half of the 44 such workers hired by the town since 2017 have departed. Some retired or were terminated, but many voluntarily resigned and compensation was the top issue cited in their exit interviews, said acting Public Works Director Christine Horner.

“People are getting better offers and closer to home,” Horner said. “A lot of our employees live out closer to Winchester. Our CDL [workers] also have to pave roads and pick up trash.”

• $15,000 for Bowman House landscaping improvements.

• $31,500 to implement a more streamlined procurement process in the Finance Department.

• $30,000 to purchase 60 cell phones. Town staff would like to switch from T-Mobile to either AT&T or Verizon in order to obtain better service, said Information Technology (IT) Director Tony Mull. Cell-phone service in the Northside Property Yard area especially has been problematic, he said.

• $31,500 to increase a part-time IT assistant to full-time status to help that department cope with implementing communications at the new Vienna Police Headquarters and a major municipal-software upgrade this fall, plus fending off potential cyber-security attacks.

• $30,000 for Laserfiche scanning of records in the Town Clerk’s Office.
• $25,000 for a community survey.

Vienna had a fiscal 2022 budget surplus of about $766,000, which town staff said resulted from higher-than-anticipated revenues in several general-fund categories and salary savings from some positions that were vacant during that budget year. Vienna officials will place half that amount, $383,000, in the town’s rainy-day fund, Serfass said.

The Council’s actions expanded the budget, but individual items still will need to come before the body for approval, Serfass said.

“Whatever you decide, we’ll make it work,” she said.

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