Happy New Year Middleburg! I am pleased to announce here that I formally filed for mayor with the registrar’s office in Leesburg. Town elections are May 1, 2017. I will write more extensively on this topic soon.

By filing for mayor, I will give up my council seat on June 30, because that seat is up for re-election in May. Since the mayor only votes to break a tie – exceedingly rare – I will also give up my vote on motions coming before council. Therefore, I am appealing to readers to file for the May 1 election to fill my soon to be open council seat. If you are unable to commit, please talk to anyone you know who might be interested.

REQUIREMENTS: What is legally required to run for council? You must be a resident of Virginia at least a year before the election and reside within Middleburg’s corporate limits, be a registered voter and file for election (or win as a write-in candidate). Since Middleburg has so few residents, that is all. Helpful experience includes past or present service on one or more committees. One last thing – Town elections are non-partisan, and party affiliations are gauche.

HOW TO FILE: Filing is simple. You must complete two state forms. The first is the Certificate of Candidate Qualification (SBE_501_4-rev1-15) and the second is the Declaration of Candidacy (SBE_505_520). You must get the first form notarized before filing. You can have the second form notarized or have it signed by two witnesses. Candidates for office in Middleburg are not required to gather signatures or file any other forms. The filing deadline is eight weeks before the election – Tuesday, March 6 this year.

FORMS TO FILE: You can download these forms from the Virginia Board of Elections https://www.elections.virginia.gov/candidatepac-info/candidate-bulletins/index.html. Once you complete the two forms, deliver them to the registrar’s office in Leesburg at 750 Miller Dr. SE, Suite C. The telephone is 703-777-0380. Judy Brown is the General Registrar and can answer questions.

SOME DETAILS: Council meets twice a month on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays at 6 PM in the Town Office at 10 West Marshall Street. Our meetings are typically about three hours long. Council members also serve on one or more committees and most meet monthly. Attendance is an obligation and absenteeism is discouraged. Council member pay is $200 per month. Virginia provides a training session for newly elected officers, and I highly recommend this valuable training.

BLUEMONT: Most readers know the summer Bluemont Concerts here in Middleburg and other towns over many years. Bluemont reflects the culture in our communities and provides affordable family entertainment, including concerts and country-dances. Bluemont also provides arts in education events in public schools as well as cultural entertainment for elderly.

Bluemont is a 501 C (3) charity that celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2016. The charity depends on tiers of support: local government funding, personal & business contributions, and modest admissions at its concerts.

Since the last recession, local government contributions have declined dramatically and the board is engaged in comprehensive planning to determine what services it can maintain within this reduced funding.

Future success depends on private donations to replace some of the lost local government funds. I am appealing to our community to help an urgent fundraising effort with a $40,000 goal by spring. Please help! Visit www.bluemont .org and click the donate button or mail a contribution to Bluemont Concert Series, PO Box 802, Berryville VA 22611. Thank you!

That is my opinion – what do you think? Do you have ideas for ways to improve Middleburg? I welcome all comments, suggestions, and questions!