Hello Middleburg! I am starting what will become a regular column in this space to: 1. address reader’s questions;  2. get more people involved; and  3. address periodic issues concerning Middleburg and its community, including specific questions or concerns from readers and sent to the Eccentric

My first column, written on the eve of an important local election deadline is an appeal to get more people involved.

Middleburg is a unique town with a genuine sense of place. This requires an active and involved community comprised of the people inside Town limits, with a vote in Town elections, as well as those living nearby, who have many other opportunities to get involved.

Middleburg’s Town Council election is coming up on May 3 . . . but to run you have to register soon.The Virginia Department of Elections requires candidates to file with the Registrar in Leesburg, the county seat, by March 1 this year to get a candidate’s name othe May ballot. If you can, register.  If you can’t, however, you may still run as a write-in candidate as many have chosen to do in the past few years.

If you would like to see the council in action, please attend one of our meetings at 6 PM at the Town Offices, 10 West Marshall Street, on the second or fourth Thursday of each month. These ‘regular’ and ‘work’ sessions are both open to the public.

If you are unsure or not ready to run for council, there are still many opportunities to get involved. Middleburg has several committees, all open to the public, to consider.

I started on the Board of Zoning Appeals or BZA (a position to which council nominates an in-town candidate that the court then appoints). The BZA only meets when someone challenges a ruling by the Middleburg Zoning Administrator, which is rare.

Other committees include the Planning Commission (members must reside inside the Town). I served on it for ten years and got a great foundation for council there. This committee provides the opportunity for excellent state training on the basics of zoning and related state laws affecting local governments.

The Historic District Review Committee (HDRC) protects the architectural integrity of the downtown historic district.

The Streetscape Committee advises council on street trees, sidewalks and related issues.

The Go Green Committee addresses environment and related issues affecting the well-being of our community.

The Wellhead Protection Committee provides advice to keep our source water safe for producing drinking water.

We also have the Arts Council, Economic Development Advisory Committee and Health Center Advisory Board, and others.

Middleburg has many opportunities to get involved and to meet great people already serving on our community.

For a complete list of the committees and who serves on them see: http://www.middleburgva.gov/Town_Committees.html, with schedules at: http://www.middleburgva.gov/Meetings_Town_Office.html.

Again, all committee meetings are open to the public. Most meet once a month (Wellhead meets quarterly).

The Town web site also lists periodic vacancies. Most simply require a letter of interest. For some committees, describing related experience is helpful, for example architectural experience is helpful for the HDRC.

I look forward to meeting you in the May council election or on a committee.

Please send your questions about Middleburg’s local government to the Eccentric and I will do my best to address them.