Purcellville Emergency Meeting Postponed to March 10

At the end of the business day on Monday, March 6, Purcellville Mayor Kwasi Fraser called for an emergency meeting for 7:00 p.m. the same evening. The subject given for the meeting was to discuss an alleged threat a Town government employee made against a Town Council Member.

A majority vote is needed to proceed in a closed session meeting. However, in this case, the Town Council voted 4-3 against going into executive session. Council Members Doug McCollum, Ryan Cool, Nedim Ogelman and Chris Bledsoe voted against going into the closed session, and Mayor Fraser, Vice-Mayor Karen Jimmerson and Council Member Kelli Grim voted for the motion. The Council then voted unanimously to reschedule the meeting for Friday March 10, 7:00 p.m.

For meetings in general, Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act requires the public body to give three days notice. But, emergency meetings are exempt from this rule and can be called and held on the same day.

Town Attorney Sally Hankins quoted the FOIA “emergency” definition from the Virginia code: “Emergency means an unforeseen circumstance rendering the notice required by this chapter impossible or impracticable and which circumstance requires immediate action.”

McCollum argued that the situation did not rise to be defined as an emergency. He asked Grim to recuse herself and not attend the meeting as she was either a complainant or a witness.

After the meeting, Grim told the Blue Ridge Leader that McCollum was wrong on all accounts. She declined to say anything further.

Mayor Fraser said, “The definition of emergency is subjective. If you ask any one of us on this council, we might each have a different definition of what constitutes an emergency.” He continued, “I believe an alleged threat of bodily harm to a council member is an emergency.”

Grim said that the situation required immediate action and previous councils have called emergency meetings for the purchase of properties and legal matters. She said, “They were far less urgent or critical matters, and the same town manager and a different town attorney did not object to them.”

Fraser asked Town Attorney Sally Hankins if something is defined as an emergency, does the three-day rule to call a meeting apply. Her answer was no.




Strategy Session Tug of War

Grim pointed out that the residential portion of Vineyard Square (the John Chapman and Mark Nelis development on 21st Street) is 40 condos. “So we lost 39 availabilities, and that falls back to policy… that is 39 availabilities that we have lost. And that is approximately $2 million.”
– Council Member Kelli Grim

On February 22, the Purcellville Town Council held a second Special Financial Strategy Session meeting with their two consultants, David Rose of Davenport, and Eric Callocchia of Municipal and Financial Services Group. During the previous meeting, the Council asked the consultants to return with alternative scenarios, given the broad agreement that growth will not reduce the debt and utility rate burden.

However, the follow-up meeting was contentious, with the consultants backtracking on the assertion that you can’t grow out of debt, and pressing a familiar growth agenda. Members of the Town Council challenged the reversal, pressing the consultants to come up with innovative alternatives for reducing debt and utility rate burdens on citizens, by reducing costs and monetizing the Towns substantial assets.

This meeting was a follow-up with instructions from the Town Council to bring forward multiple concepts for utility rate structures and tiers, and debt finance and consolidation options to tackle the two large balloon payments due in 2020 and 2021. The previous Lazaro Town Council incurred, and then refinanced, most of its existing debt and repackaged it in restrictive nonprofit bonds.

The Town debt is currently just under $60 million. There are two types of debt: tax-supported debt consisting of the General Fund, and Parks and Recreation Fund, totaling $18.1 million; and the self-supported utility debt, consisting of the Water and Sewer Fund totaling $41.3 million. The current Town Council has not added to the debt, but instead has lowered it by well over $1 million.

The difference between the two debts is the tax-supported debt comes primarily from General Fund revenues, and the self-supporting utility debt comes from user fee rates and other charges.

Currently, the Fireman’s Field income is restricted by the nature of the nonprofit bonds and the way the current management contract is structured. If the debt is not refinanced, the other option is to change how the ball fields and the skating rink are managed. The Town could pay a firm a flat rate to manage the properties, allowing the Town to use the revenue for maintenance and debt reduction.

The recurring narrative of both consultants, along with Town Manager Rob Lohr, concentrated on growth as the primary means to paying down the Town debt. “You have a bunch of debt outstanding, no doubt about it,” said Rose.

Mayor Kwasi Fraser asked the consultants to consider a variety of operational efficiencies as part of a solution to manage the town’s high debt and utility rates.

Council Member Nedim Ogelman said, “So, you are saying if we grew a lot, that wouldn’t increase the infrastructure costs?” Rose replied, “We’ll talk about that later.” Ogelman continued, “I don’t think that you are necessarily capturing the whole variety of potential negative externalities … Did you look at other things, like cutting our government expenditures?” He pointed out that the Town has roughly 9,000 residents and, “maybe we are operating like a Town that serves 25,000 people instead of 9,000 people.” Ogelman was referring to a February statement made by Lohr who said he runs the Town as if it were a town of 25,000 residents.

Rose responded, “Whether you have one town manager or seven town managers, that wouldn’t have an impact on the Enterprise Fund.” Ogelman replied, “It will have an impact on the General Fund. But, these are all parts of our debt. Can we cut some of the expenses? Can we bring these costs down?”

“Let’s say you get additional houses, there are additional cars, there are additional other kinds of utilities that have to come in. There is additional wear and tear; there is additional stress on citizens, like traffic. You need additional staff to deal with the additional houses. I want to make sure that we are not looking at something as if there are no costs to it,” said Ogelman.

“The second thing I want to say is I am sensitive to this issue because there is a narrative politically in our town that tries to push the idea that there are no solutions other than significant additional growth … and I am not just willing to accept that on its face,” said Ogelman. Rose responded, “Maybe it does require one or two new policemen or another public works person, and those things have to be taken into account.”

Council Member Kelli Grim suggested using a portion of the Meals Tax to pay down the debt. “Two percent of the Meals Tax could be used for capital and maintenance, for example,” said Grim. Rose answered, “You don’t rob Peter to pay Paul.” However, Grim pointed out that the Lazaro Council used one percent of the Meals Tax to pay for legal fees.

Fraser echoed this point saying that the Meals Tax could be used for the General Fund and the Utility Fund as long as it does not create a deficit in another fund. “Right?” he asked. Rose confirmed that it can be used for any fund. But, for years Lohr had been saying that the funds could not be mixed.

“When you are talking about the Meals Tax and this is robbing Peter to pay Paul concept, what is the analogy for chargebacks? Is that also robbing Peter to pay Paul?” asked Ogelman. Rose said that he wasn’t “qualified enough to give an answer on that one.”

Chargebacks are a portion of expenditures, charged to different funds, for staff work, since staff members do multiple jobs in different departments. Since the Town has separate funds and they are supposed to be self-supporting, the Town bills that way. The Town currently charges each fund $500,000 (General and Sewer) for the chargebacks, which started in 20008.

Grim pointed out that the residential portion of Vineyard Square (the John Chapman and Mark Nelis development on 21st Street) is 40 condos. “So we lost 39 availabilities, and that falls back to policy… that is 39 availabilities that we have lost. And that is approximately $2 million. So if there is a policy that hurts us – there is a policy that allowed that.”

Grim was referring to managements recommendation of charging a single tap fee for the 40 condos, instead of separately metered taps for each of them. Lohr said, “We never really dealt with condominiums, same way with apartments. Condominiums are relatively new in western Loudoun.”

The growth scenario stuck throughout the whole meeting with Rose repeating that the Town has to grow. Ogelman said, “Of course, this all just assumes the closed system. That is to say your whole model is operating in the context of just water and sewer, not all other aspects of a town.” “Absolutely,” replied Callocchia.

“More houses bring additional service needs, and other infrastructure and capital improvement needs,” said Ogelman. “But so, the real challenge we are facing is not how to deal with this closed system that has capital improvement costs and has scale issues. To me, the real issue is how do you look at the costs and potential added revenue from the whole system, and how can we overcome the challenges of getting that potential revenue, and being able to invest it in our sewer and utility. That is the real challenge that we are facing,” said Ogelman.




Loudoun County Administrator Presents Proposed Budget for Fiscal 2018

Loudoun County Administrator Tim Hemstreet has presented a proposed budget for the Loudoun County government for Fiscal 2018 (FY 2018) to the Board of Supervisors, which begins July 1, 2017. The budget totals $2.5 billion in appropriations for the county government and school system. 
 
The proposed budget is based on Board of Supervisors guidance to prepare a budget at the estimated equalized real property tax rate and to present requests for resources included in the budget in order of priority for the organization. The proposed budget was prepared at the equalized real property tax rate of $1.135. It includes prioritized requests that accomplish both the maintenance of existing service levels as well as the enhancement of some existing service levels.
 
The proposed budget includes base budget adjustments to continue to provide current services and to maintain the county’s ability to meet mandates and provide core public safety and social safety net services. The budget increases the local transfer to Loudoun County Public Schools by $61 million over FY 2017; the total transfer is $3.5 million less than the School Board’s adopted budget. The proposed budget also includes funds for the county’s employee merit pay program and includes resources for about 189 full-time equivalent positions in various departments, including those necessary to open new county facilities such as the Dulles South Multipurpose Center, Kirkpatrick Farms Fire Rescue Station, the Brambleton Library and the Ashburn’s Sheriff Station.
 
Hemstreet said that, while FY 2018 “presents a better economic picture than the previous year,” resources remain constrained. Hemstreet noted that the county’s population continues to increase, which brings an increased demand for services. Included with the proposed budget is a list of prioritized critical needs in a number of departments for the Board’s consideration.
 
Hemstreet said the proposed FY 2018 budget was developed in a better economic environment than that of FY 2017, due to improved external economic factors that form the basis from which the county’s revenues are derived. Loudoun property values continue to increase; the average assessed value of a single-family home in 2017 is $454,700, an increase of 2.4 percent over 2016. There has also been significant growth in personal property.
 
In the FY 2018 proposed budget, Hemstreet proactively replaced the local gasoline tax that had supported Loudoun County Transit operations with local tax funding. This replacement will allow Loudoun County Transit operations to be funded in the base budget in FY 2019, which means the county’s general fund will be better prepared to meet its upcoming financial obligation for Metrorail in FY 2019 as local gasoline tax will be diverted from county operations to help pay for Metrorail.
 
The Amended FY 2017 – FY 2022 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) totals $2.012 billion for the six-year planning period. The category with the largest expenditure percentage is transportation projects at 39 percent, or $789 million, followed by school projects at 32 percent, or $631 million.
 
To help address overcrowding and projected growth in the Loudoun County Public School system, the proposed CIP accelerates the opening date of a new high school in the Dulles South area by one year to the fall of 2020. The proposed CIP also maintains funding for high priority general government projects.
 
Hemstreet has advertised a real property tax rate of $1.140 to provide the Board with options to fund the Loudoun County Public Schools’ budget request and to fund county budget requests. The proposed budget is balanced at the equalized tax rate of $1.135, which is 1 cent lower than the current tax rate. The personal property tax rate of $4.20 would remain unchanged under the proposed budget. 
 
The Board of Supervisors will determine the final real property tax rate and related budget policy decisions during March budget work sessions with adoption of the FY 2018 budget expected on April 4, 2017. 
 
There are several ways in which members of the public may participate in the budget process, including Board of Supervisors public hearings, email, voice messages and social media. The Board will hold three public hearings on the proposed FY 2018 budget. The hearings are scheduled for: (1) Tuesday, February 28, 6:00 p.m., Board Room, Loudoun County Government Center, 1 Harrison Street, S.E., Leesburg; (2) Thursday, March 2, 3:00 p.m., Board Room, Loudoun County Government Center, 1 Harrison Street, S.E., Leesburg; and (3) Saturday, March 4, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Loudoun County Public Schools Administration Building, 21000 Education Court, Ashburn. Anyone who wishes to speak at the public hearings may sign up in advance for one speaking slot, beginning Thursday, February 16, by calling 703-777-0204. 
 
The public hearings at the government center will be available for viewing on Comcast Government TV Channel 23, Open Band Channel 40, and Verizon FiOS Channel 40. They will also be webcast at www.loudoun.gov/webcast. Members of the public may also: (1) leave a message on the Board of Supervisors’ Comment Line at 703-777-0115; (2) send an e-mail to the Board of Supervisors at loudounbudget@loudoun.gov, or write to the Board of Supervisors, P.O. Box 7000, Leesburg, VA 20177; or (3) provide comments through the Loudoun County government’s Facebook and Twitter sites.
 
More information, including the proposed budget for FY 2018, the County Administrator’s FY 2018 budget presentation and the schedule for Board of Supervisors budget work sessions, may be found on the Loudoun County website at www.loudoun.gov/budget.




Presentation and Public Input Session for Proposed Senior Community Development

The owner of the Stuper property along with the contract purchaser – Buckeye Development, will hold a public meeting on Monday February 27, 7:00 p.m. at the Carver Center, 200 E. Willie Palmer Way in Purcellville. The 20-acre Stuper property is located along N. Maple Avenue and Hirst Road. The purpose of the meeting is to gather comments and input from the residents on a proposed senior living community. The proposal includes active adult housing, continuing care, memory care, adult day care, medical care and potential other complementary uses.

Said Marlys Rixey who is Trustee for her father’s estate, “My late father purchased this property four decades ago and had it annexed into the Town. He wanted to eventually develop his property that respected the community’sdesire for quality development and associated services. This is the reason that I am pleased that Buckeye Development has expressed interest in bringing Dad’s vision to fruition.”

“We are excited to meet and work with the Town of Purcellville’s citizens to gain input into our proposal for this land. We strongly believe in and promote community involvement during the land planning process to ensure we are addressing the community’s needs and concerns prior to filing a development application with the Town. Our goal is to provide a quality senior living community that not only provides housing, but the opportunity for its residents and their families to have access to complementary services. However, it is important to us that the community is equally excited and supports our proposal,” said Ed Smariga, Principal, Buckeye Development.

Residents, neighboring communities, and elected officials are invited to attend. For more information contact Linda Erbs, Linda@lauercommercial.com or 703-850-3641.




Mayor Fraser Stage Side Chat, Carver Center Feb. 15, 7-8:30 PM

Purcellville Mayor Kwasi Fraser will host a stage side chat at the Carver Center, 220 E. Willie Palmer Way, Purcellville – Wednesday, Feb. 15, 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

The purpose of this discussion forum is to hear from the citizens on all matters concerning Purcellville. All residents and neighboring residents are invited. It’s an opportunity to openly voice issues, concerns, ideas, and solutions. Mark your calendar and please plan to attend.




Purcellville Town Council Meeting – January 10

Senior Campus Concept: Mayor Kwasi Fraser, Council Member Nedim Ogelman, and the Town Attorney met with the representatives of the Stupar property in January. The property is located at Maple and Hirst Road. The owners are interested in putting a senior citizen campus on the land, providing different entry points for seniors, to live, work, and play. Mayor Fraser said he encouraged the owners of the property to engage the community, and get feedback to see if there is support for the proposal to move forward.

Waste Water Solutions: Mayor Fraser also recently met with the Israeli firm Emefcy. The company has a turn-key waste water treatment modular solution, which may complement Purcellville’s state-of-the-art plant, Fraser noted. The firm has a way for the Town to “augment our capabilities at the pump level … [so] we can process the raw sewage before it gets to the plant … We see it as a potential way to increase our operational efficiencies.” Following the meeting, Fraser said that the Emefcy’s solution saves 90 percent of the energy used in wastewater treatment, and avoids energy-intensive pumping, which will mean energy savings for the Town. Fraser said that the Town will need to further evaluate a pilot program with Emefcy and the Department of Environmental Quality to determine the viability of this solution.

Staff Vacancies: At the January 10 Council meeting, the topic turned again to staff vacancies – notably, that of an assistant director of public works, a paralegal, and a part-time event specialist. (The Town already has one part-time event specialist.)

Council Member Kelli Grim said that it was long overdue to have an assistant director of public works. “Regarding the paralegal, we are paying as much to outside firms, currently, as our staff attorney… Are we attempting to do things that are not the Council’s priorities?”

Said Council Member Nedim Ogelman, “This is a town – judging from the election we just had – that is not looking to grow. A town where people do not want taxes to increase. And, we are a town that is trying to manage debt … This is a new Town Council that was brought in through an election where these values were expressed strongly. As a new Town Council [member], I don’t want … strategic decisions to be dictated by previous budgeting decisions.”

Ogelman said that he looked at some other towns in Virginia, and he found data that broke down staff by general functions. He looked at the Town of Warrenton, and noticed that the staff from 2006 to 2015 fluctuated very little, and is slightly smaller now. He noted that the public works, and water and sewer departments were intensive – 56 percent of staff was focused on that department. The public safety departments were significant, leaving other departments at 20 percent. “I would say if the public works, and water and sewer – if those were needs that we had in the past and we need to replenish, then that makes good sense to me.”

Mayor Fraser said he wanted to look at hiring as it relates to efficiency. “I look at things from an operational and process perspective. When I see a request, for example, for an assistant director of public works, my first thought would be – can we promote someone into that position and if the answer is no – I will say, `Why not?’ If we had a director functioning in that role for many years, someone should have been taught to replace that director.” Fraser pointed out that if the Town has to hire someone new, it has to spend resources on advertising and training. The new hire “can’t hit the ground running.”

In reference to these issues, Fraser also said he did not vote for the budget last year, because he wanted certain items in the budget, such as an operational audit. Also, he said, there were budgeted items he did not support.

An operational audit would have shown what the Town’s needs were “within the Town of Purcellville,” said Fraser. “Absent that, I trust staff. I trust your judgment. But, when we are requested to take the taxpayer’s money to pay for something, I need more than just trust to drive my decision. So, that’s where I am with several of the positions.”?Fraser said in a prior meeting he was made aware that some staff positions didn’t have descriptions of their functions. “Those are red flags for me. Let’s get our house in order, so I can understand where the needs are. We can then determine … if we need to hire for these positions. Right now, I am not convinced there is a need.”

At the January 24 Town Council meeting, Council voted against discussing the paralegal position for the third time, since a vote had already been taken and failed. The Council did vote to hire an assistant director of public works, and voted for a part-time events planner. (Mayor Fraser and Council Member Nedim Ogelman voted no, commenting that the position can be filled by volunteers).

Backup Sewer Policy: At the January 10 meeting, Council also moved forward to fix the Town sewer backup policy.

Most Virginia municipalities are only responsible for backups that occur in the main sewer pipes/system. The Town had been paying for backups from residences to the main, and is only one of two localities to do so. Consequently, Purcellville will be revising its policy so the Town is only responsible for backups that occur at the main.

Council Member Kelli Grim said that she strongly supports changing the policy, and would like to put that information in Town water bills. Mayor Fraser said that it is important to do outreach, and inform the citizens of this change. Making this policy change will save the Town at least $100,000 over a ten-year period.

Town Manager Evaluations: For the first time in 23 years, a formal written process has been developed for the town manager annual evaluation. The process began January 31 with the Town Manager’s Annual Report. All council members will complete their evaluations, and conclude the process in a closed meeting with the town manager by mid-March.




Leesburg Mayor Kelly Burk To Deliver State of the Town Address

On Wednesday, February 8, at 6:30 p.m., Mayor Kelly Burk will deliver her first annual State of the Town address. The address will take place in the Council Chamber on the second floor of the Leesburg Town Hall, 25 West Market Street. The public is encouraged to attend.

Mayor Burk’s address will be broadcast on the Town’s local government access cable channel, Channel 67 on Comcast and Channel 35 on Verizon FiOS. In addition, the address will be streamed live from the Town website at www.leesburgva.gov/webcasts. The video will be archived and available for on-demand viewing at the same web address.




Eileen Boeing Selected to Be Leesburg’s Next Clerk of Council

Leesburg Town Manager Kaj Dentler has announced that Eileen Boeing will be joining town staff as Clerk of Council.

Boeing is currently the Director of Customer Support for Zodia Aerospace. Previously, she served as Operations Coordinator for the Town of Purcellville, where she provided staff support to the Town Council as well as several of the Council’s sub-committees and advisory boards.

“We are delighted to have Eileen join the Town of Leesburg,” Mr. Dentler commented. “Her strong customer service and business process improvements background in the private sector, along with her previous local government experience, really made her stand out from the other candidates. We are looking forward to having her on board next month.”

Boeing’s first day with the Town will be Tuesday, February 21. She replaces long-term clerk Lee Ann Green who left the Town in December 2016 after nine years as clerk to take the Chief Deputy Clerk position with Prince William County.




Hugh Forsythe Appointed Interim Leesburg Town Council Member

Mr. Forsythe will serve until a special election is held November 7, 2017.

At the Jan. 9 organizational meeting, the Leesburg Town Council appointed Hugh Forsythe to fill the council seat vacated by Mayor Kelly Burk. Mr. Forsythe was sworn in immediately after his appointment and joined the council on the dais for the remainder of the organizational meeting and work session that followed.

Mr. Forsythe retired from the United States Air Force in 2006 at the rank of Major General. A graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, Mr. Forsythe is a command pilot with over 4,500 hours of military flight time and 18,000 hours of civilian flight time. Following his Air Force career, Mr. Forsythe flew for United Airlines, Air India and a number of corporate and charter companies. He is currently an Operations Controller for United Airlines and consults with Bye Aerospace, Inc. on Unmanned Aerial Vehicle development. Mr. Forsythe was previously the Director of Operations for Potomac Flight Charter, located at the Leesburg Executive Airport. He is on the board of Loudoun Volunteer Caregivers and has served on the planning committee for the annual Leesburg Airshow. Mr. Forsythe and his wife, Judy, have lived in Leesburg for 20 years.

“I am looking forward to serving the residents of Leesburg to the best of my ability,” Mr. Forsythe commented following his appointment.




Purcellville Town Council Meeting, December Wrap-up

The Purcellville Town Council addressed several important topics in its December proceedings.

Mary’s House of Hope

The Council unanimously approved the sale of the Mary’s House of Hope property.

Mary’s House of Hope is operated by the Good Shepherd Alliance, which has for nine years provided temporary housing for women and children. The Town is selling the property for $300,000. The Good Shepherd Alliance, over the years, has paid for substantial renovations to this formerly abandoned property.

Said Council Member Kelli Grim, “This property was planned to be torn down. Previous Council Member Nick Pelchar and others helped to move it forward to be used for a good cause. This has been functioning in the same use for more than eight years. I do think we are moving in a positive direction.”

Mayor Kwasi Fraser said, “I see this as a dormant asset that we are now waking up … now we will be receiving revenue from it. But, more importantly we will be receiving a cash flow for the benefit of our citizens. So, I see this as a good thing.”

Makersmiths

At long last … the Town will be renting out its former maintenance facility, which has been unused for over 5 years, to the Makersmiths.

The property is located at 785 and 787 South 20th Street. Makersmiths is a popular and dynamic non-profit organization that encourages innovation and invention. The lease, which will hopefully be signed sometime in January, is proposed for 4 years with an option to purchase at a later date. Makersmiths will also make significant improvements to the property annually.

Purcellville Town Wells

Mayor Fraser began this discussion with comments to correct two identical articles that appeared in two local newspapers about Purcellville’s wells. “As I drink a bottle of Deer Park Water, I look at the cover of it and there is a deer on a mountain. That deer is beautiful, he is in a green pasture and it’s a great marketing tool.” But, continued Fraser, “ … that deer could be a source of E.coli. I say this because there were two articles … [stating] that our Hirst well is [raw source water] contaminated with E.coli. That is true, but the context in which the articles were presented was as if Purcellville has one single point of failure. The well that is contaminated with E.coli is the first source before it gets downstream into the drinking water. So, I believe that there should have been due diligence in presenting those articles to say that we have multiple controls in place to prevent your drinking water from getting E.coli.”

Fraser continued, “The test was done when there was a major rainfall and that is one reason why the test can show positive for E.coli. So, I would like to work with staff to present the true picture so our citizens will know that raw water can be tested for E.coli – but we have a pre-chlorination process that should kill E.coli. If that does not work then we do have a filter, and post application of chlorine which will eradicate any E.coli.”

Expanded Recreational Options

The Town’s Parks and Recreation Committee has been working on expanding recreational options for Town residents in a cost-effective manner – looking at grants and outside funding sources.

They have been exploring a pump track, which is a bicycle style park with looping trails of rollers and berms.

The track would take about one and a half to two months to build and would be built on unused Town property on South 20th Street. Council Member Karen Jimmerson said that she would like to honor Robert Harrington by possibly naming the park after him. Harrington tried several years ago to get biking out in the Purcellville area – and December marks one year of his passing. Council Member Nedim Ogelman said that kids need something to do, and this kind of project would reflect the desire of the community.

Request for A Paralegal

The Town Council voted against funding a new position for a paralegal.

Said Council Member Ogelman, “Just looking at and comparing 15 different towns and cities that have more than 8,000 citizens – and what I see out of that analytically is only five of them – one third of them have a paralegal and all of those that said they have a paralegal were towns or cities with at least 15,000 people. Some of them much bigger – like Leesburg with a population of 47,773 or Charlottesville. None of the towns [of] our size – 8,000 to even 15,000 – had a paralegal. But, it begs the question, then, to find out how we produce a bigger demand than these places. We need to work within our means.” He continued, “The towns that have paralegals are big towns or cities where they run school systems and fire departments.”

Town Manager Rob Lohr said, “We are an 8,000-community operating as if we are 25,000. He pointed out that Purcellville is more like Leesburg and Herndon. “When you look at the services and programs, and the committees, commissions and boards, and the budget and the facilities that we operate, we are definitely a lot more like … Leesburg and Herndon …”

Ogelman then said, “Good governance is having an administration and governance that is commiserate to the value, size and scope of the community that it is serving, not bigger, not smaller. He pointed out that Leesburg has a population of 47,773 people. Ogelman mentioned that Leesburg with a budget of $94 million spends six percent of its budget on legal, and Purcellville with a budget of $21 million spends 10 percent on legal.

Council Member Ryan Cool pointed out that the Town incurred a lot of legal expenses during Purcellville’s growth period. “What is causing the need to have so much legal demand now,” he asked. Lohr responded that the town generates a lot of work. “We always want to go much larger, there is an expectation.”

“This is a band new council,” pointed out Council Member Grim. “[We] did not approve this enhancement. “We are not in a growth spirt.” Grim said that the Town is currently paying the same dollar amount to outside law firms as the Town is paying for its in-house attorney – approximately $250,000 for both. Looking at a list of 55 items from the town attorney, Grim said, “What I see is no priority – [ for example] drafting a false alarm ordinance for the police – you don’t have to reinvent the wheel because there are 50 other towns that have that type of ordinance already in place.” She continued, “We do need to look at the priorities on this list because it might not fit with the priorities of this council.”

“This is an opportunity to run a leaner ship,” said Mayor Fraser.




Leesburg Town Council To Consider Four Candidates For Interim Appointment To Vacant Council Seat

At their special organizational meeting, Monday, Jan. 9, the Leesburg Town Council will hear presentations from four candidates vying for appointment to fill Mayor Kelly Burk’s vacated council seat. The four candidates are Jed Babbin, Hugh Forsythe, Rusty Foster and Gwen Pangle.

The four candidates were selected from among 12 applicants who submitted letters of interest and professional resumes to the Clerk of Council. The mayor and council members individually reviewed the applications and each provided the Clerk with their top three candidates in ranked order. The aggregated results yielded four top candidates, as there was a tie for third.

Following the candidates’ presentations on Jan. 9, the Council is expected to deliberate and may vote to appoint one of the candidates to fill the vacant council seat until a special election is held. At the same meeting, the Council also expected to discuss, and may decide on, the date of the special election which may be held in the spring of 2017 or on the date of the next general election, Nov. 8, 2017.




New Leesburg Mayor and Town Council Members Sworn In

At the Ida Lee Park Recreation Center last night, Leesburg Mayor Kelly Burk and Council Members Ron Campbell, Tom Dunn and Ken Reid took their oaths of office. Clerk of the Circuit Court Gary Clemens administered the oath of office to Mayor Burk, Council Member Ron Campbell and Council Member Tom Dunn. General District Court Judge Deborah C. Welsh administered the oath of office to Council Member Ken Reid.

Kelly Burk was sworn in for her first two-year term as Mayor of Leesburg. Mayor Burk served as Vice Mayor of the Council for 2016. She was elected to Council in the April 2012 special election and reelected in November 2014. She previously served on Town Council from 2004 to 2007. In November 2007, Kelly was elected to represent the Leesburg District on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors. She served on the Board from 2008 through 2011. A Leesburg resident since 1979, Kelly was a special education teacher with Loudoun County Public Schools until her retirement in 2014. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from George Washington University and a Master’s Degree in Middle School Curriculum and Instruction from Virginia Tech.

Thomas S. Dunn, II, was sworn in for his third four-year term as a Leesburg Council Member, having been first elected to the Town Council in 2008. Council Member Dunn served on the Leesburg Planning Commission and the Leesburg Economic Development Commission prior to his election to the Council. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Studies from Mary Washington College, which is today the University of Mary Washington, in Fredericksburg.

Ron Campbell was sworn in for his first four-year term as a Leesburg Council Member. Council Member-elect Campbell currently serves on the Leesburg Environmental Advisory Commission. A fifteen-year resident of Leesburg, he is the owner of College Business Concepts, LLC, a business development consulting company. Ron holds a Bachelor’s Degree in American Studies from Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio, and a Master’s Degree in Counseling, Human Services and Guidance from Montclair State University in Montclair, New Jersey.

Kenneth “Ken” Reid was sworn in for his third non-consecutive four-year term as Leesburg Council Member. He was first elected in 2006 and was re-elected in 2010. In November 2011, he was elected the Leesburg District representative to the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors. He served on the Board from 2012 through 2015. By profession, Ken is the owner of Washington Information Source Co., a small publishing and book/DVD distribution business located in Leesburg. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Rutgers University and a Master’s Degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Ken and his wife, Dr. Lynn Reid, Ph.D., have been residents of Leesburg since 2002 and are the parents of twins, James and Lara, who are now college juniors. Ken is a member of CHABAD Synagogue in Herndon.

Mayor Burk stated, “I am very excited to begin my term as Leesburg Mayor. I look forward to working with the new Council and the public to continue to make Leesburg a dynamic, vibrant place to live, work, and play.” Mayor Burk and Council Members Campbell, Dunn and Reid will take office on January 1, 2017.




Purcellville Launches Financial Transparency Platform

The Town of Purcellville announced the launch of its financial transparency platform through OpenGov, which is designed to bring visibility, openness, and accountability to our operations. The Town Council has emphasized its commitment to honest budgeting, responsible spending, and financial transparency and approved the contract with OpenGov in September.

This platform provides citizens the opportunity to view, filter, and analyze financial data both monthly and annually for Purcellville. Visitors to the site can analyze financial trends from Fiscal Year 2015 to current year, in areas such as including annual tax revenues, personnel costs, monthly operating expenses, and overtime costs. One of the benefits of the platform is that visitors can download the data for offline analysis and even share it on social media.

“The Town Council has placed an emphasis on collaborative governance with full citizen engagement,” said Mayor Kwasi A. Fraser. “We strive to be open and transparent about how we manage and spend our resources. The OpenGov platform takes the complexity out of the financial reporting process by democratizing our data in a meaningful and easy to understand way for our stakeholders. The more informed our stakeholders are about how every tax dollar and other streams of revenues are managed, the more engaged and confident they will be in our decision making process on behalf of the Town.”

For a quick link and information about the site, visit www.purcellvilleva.gov/opengov. This site allows you to find commonly-requested reports. It also includes links to “Tips on Using OpenGov” and “Frequently Asked Questions about OpenGov.”

When using the Town’s OpenGov portal, use one of the saved “Views” to find easy reports, or use the customizable “Filters” to drill down into the specifics that you would like to see. The information provided is comprehensive and updated monthly.
Questions about the Town’s information can be directed to Town Staff at 540 338-7421 or info@purcellvilleva.gov.