It's election time again in Vienna and townspeople say there is only one way to describe the campaign: The more things stay the same, the more things stay the same.

"Well, I guess we're just a sleepy little town with a sleepy little election," laughed town publicist Marie Kisner about the City Council election to be held in May. Three incumbents are running unopposed for three seats on the seven-member council.

"There are really no big issues and no controversies," Kisner said. "Most of the men (on the council) think the same. They meet twice a month and usually vote unanimously.

"Really, it's just three guys running for three seats. There's not much else to say."

In fact, most residents in this northern Fairfax County town of 17,000 say they can't remember a time when elections were so hot that candidates hurled salvos, instead of bromides, at each other. Last year, there were two candidates in the mayor's race, but even then the fusillade was tempered.

"I wouldn't say (the elections are) boring. It's just that Vienna is a small little town and people are basically pretty satisfied with what takes place," says dentist Jerome Covel. Covel, who has peered into Viennan's mouths for the past 13 years, says he hears more shrieks of pain than discussions of the election from his patients.

One reason for the reticence, Covel and others say, may be due to the nature of the current campaign. All three candidates say they have few philosophic differences with fellow council members. They believe in: single-family residential areas, good municipal services, continued police protection and fiscal responsibility.

Take three-term incumbent Donald Upchurch: "I believe we have to provide basic services in limited areas -- quality streets, good police protection and a top-notch parks and recreation department. I believe in limited growth and single-family developments . . . and my greatest emphasis is on stringent financial management."

Or incumbent Douglas A. Brook, who is completing his first term on the council: "I oppose the horizontal spread of commercial zoning into residential areas. I support the Reagan cutbacks, but as a consequence we're going to have to do more long-range financial planning. Vienna has to deliver first-class municipal services -- trash, police, volunteer fire department . . . ."

And finally, incumbent Raymond Hicks, who has lived in Vienna for 32 years and served on the council for eight: "I am a single-family, detached-home advocate. I believe in fiscal responsibility and keeping government out of the hair of the people. We need to provide necessary services in a good orderly fashion. We need good snow and trash collection. We need good police protection,"

Is bland beautiful?

"I've been around for 27 years and have yet to see a hotly contested election," says pharmacist Charles Hawthorne. "People like it that way. They're pleased.

"As far as I can tell, it's just another election."