Hello Middleburg! This article is my opportunity to address the town and respond to questions. Please allow me to state here that anything I write in this column is solely my opinion; I do not consult the other members, unless I explicitly say so. Please send your questions (and comments or complaints!) you want me to address to the Eccentric.

Middleburg town council will begin its July 14 regular meeting with County Clerk to swear-in the new members. Council will also hold a reception before our June 23 meeting from 4:30 to 6:00 PM to thank the out-going members for their previous terms of service. Both meetings are at the Town Office and all meetings are open to the public, if you are interested in attending.

The Salamander Resort is proceeding with its plans to develop 49 houses on their existing property. They still have many steps to complete before they start building, including a few remaining zoning issues and approvals that the Middleburg Zoning Administrator and Planning Commission are addressing. They will also need the usual building permits, et cetera. We will all know they are starting when they put the roads in behind the Ridge View neighborhood. An existing utility right-of-way will provide a 30-foot buffer behind many of the existing houses.

Salamander retained the rights for these houses through the Open Space easement and Council approval of the Inn about ten years ago. As I understand Salamander’s plans, these will be expensive luxury houses that include resort-relates services and amenities, including many that will be available for short-term rentals (under 30 days).

I struggle with how to make these new houses as residential as possible. I would like to see them house as many actual residents as possible so these new people can be citizens who participate in Middleburg and its government. Buyers who own a house but live elsewhere seldom become aware of community issues or get involved. So far, I am not optimistic that this is an achievable goal, although I am certain it is a worthy one.

As many readers may know, we hired a new Town Treasurer this winter. Ashley Bott. I am happy to report that she is now operating at full function following an extensive introduction and transition. Before she could get to full speed, she had to learn the accounting system, reconcile all accounts, prepare for the upcoming annual audit, and help select new billing software to manage our tax and utility billing and receipts. Her account reconciliation included investigating outstanding bills and receipts that began before her tenure. Ashley is now preparing full monthly reports to council with detailed expenses and revenues for our review.

The Bluemont concerts return to South Madison Street next month. Here is the schedule so you can save the date. Each concert starts at 7:30 PM on the following Saturdays. July 9: Mary Ann Redmond (rock / R&B), July 16: Clark County Band (American classics / pop), July 23: Bill Emerson & Sweet Dixie (bluegrass) and July 30: Beltway Brass Quintet (jazz). In case of inclement weather, the backup site is the Middleburg Charter School auditorium (101 No. Madison Street). Admission is $5 (general, 11 and older), $4 (friends and seniors), and $2 (kids under 12).

Road construction on Washington Street is proceeding. The work on the new water line is complete and all buildings are now connected. The rest of the work, addressing sidewalks, crosswalks, streetlights and the street are now focusing on Madison to Pendleton streets. The contractor is ding one side at a time – expect them to switch sides in July and complete in August. The contract scheduled the remainder of the work (to the east) to complete in October. Washington Street should look beautiful this fall/winter. However, it sure is painful in the interim. As always, I welcome suggestions to make things more manageable until then!

Please send your questions, suggestions, comments or complaints to the Eccentric. I will address them in upcoming articles, as I am able.