Hello Middleburg! I am pleased to remind readers that I filed for mayor. Town elections are May 1, 2017.

I am again appealing to readers to file for the May 1 election to fill my soon to be open council seat. If you are unable, please talk to neighbors who might be interested. As of February 2, we need three more people to file. Please see my January column for filing information and other details.

I am running for Mayor to make sure Middleburg remains the beautiful rural village in its unique foxhunting surrounds and culture. Middleburg is a jewel that we must protect and I have the experience and knowledge to do so.

My experience is unmatched, serving on council and Town committees for the past two and a half decades. I served with Betsy Davis, retiring as mayor since the town elected us both to the council.

I know the issues the town is busy addressing, such as parking and office space for town staff and police. I also resolved past problems, such as our water utility and lead plans to replace water lines in Ridgeview this year while stabilizing rates.

Here is an exceptionally rare and unusual story from my council experience. The Memorandum of Understanding (proffer) for the Salamander Resort’s zoning application was a Huge Controversy for months while council debated it. This all came to a head at a July 14, 2005, council meeting.

I chaired the land use committee, which debated it then. I was convinced that the rest of council split evenly between favoring and opposing the rezoning.

Once the Salamander motion came up Tim Dimos, then mayor, called for the vote by polling each council member. Eura Lewis voted Yes. Next, in line, I asked Tim to come back to me. Margaret New voted No, Darlene Kirk voted Yes, Bundles Murdock voted No, Helen Hyre voted No and Betsy Davis voted Yes.

As expected, Tim came back to me with the vote tied.

I spoke to Salamander, seated before us, telling them that I would vote yes if they met me on two conditions. The first was how the Town must co-hold the open space easement with a state-recognized easement organization. That was to protect the easement from interference by any party, including the resort or a future council.

For Salamander, the second condition was a much bigger ask! I told them must agree to pay availability fees for water and sewer for the forty-nine houses they wanted to build there. This gave them pause because these fees amounted to almost a million dollars. The Salamander team retired to the Town Manager’s office to discuss their response and returned after some five minutes agreeing to both conditions.

This scenario almost never occurs in a Middleburg Council meeting and proved very stressful for me! In fact, it should be rare indeed. Most council votes are unanimous – a good sign that members are cohesive and working well together. However, this one vote was a win for all – by approving the resort and for helping the water utility, then in dire financial shape. It was a big win for our water customers.

I look forward using my lengthy and broad council experience to build on Betsy’s work as mayor and to bring the council to its next level. Middleburg’s council is taking on ever more tasks, and the council deserves the structure and leadership to help it keep pace with an ever-busier schedule.

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