Although the city did elect a new mayor and one new councilman, Tuesday was, overall, a successful day for incumbents in the City of Fairfax.
Scott Silverthorne, who served on the city council for nine terms, easily defeated Jerry O’Dell in the mayoral race. Mayor Robert Lederer did not seek re-election.
Michael DeMarco, in his second attempt to win election to the council, will fill the vacancy left by Silverthorne. Incumbents Dan Drummond, Jeff Greenfield, David Meyer, Ellie Schmidt and Steve Stombres were all re-elected over first-time candidates Catherine Read and Garry Perryman.
“I think it’s a signal that the citizens believe it’s time to get serious about economic development,” Meyer said of the election results. Meyer received the highest number of votes among the council candidates.
Indeed, economic development and potential redevelopment of some of the city’s aging commercial areas were the top subjects during the campaign.
“Economic development is critically important because that spills over into everything we do,” Silverthorne said.
The city needs a strong business sector to continue funding services that residents value, while also keeping taxes at a reasonable level, he said.
As mayor, Silverthorne said he sees his role as bringing together developers, residents and city government to reach consensus on the right types of development projects for the city.
Meyer also said the renewed energy of a new council term makes this a good time to push ahead.
“With the economy turning around, we have a real opportunity to find projects that work for us in Fairfax City,” he said.
Silverthorne said he also wants to spend some time reviewing city business practices, to make sure they are as efficient as possible, and develop a strategic plan for city government.
“I want to make sure of is that our city government is functioning well. I think by and large it is,” he said.
He also would like to initiate a review of the city’s charter, which he said has not been reviewed since it was first drafted more than 50 years ago, when the City of Fairfax was incorporated.