Leesburg Mayor Kelly Burk used her first State of the Town address Wednesday not only to look back at a successful, though sometimes challenging, year for the town, but also to offer many things to look forward to.
The mayor presented her State of the Town to a packed Council Chambers at Leesburg Town Hall. Vice Mayor Suzanne Fox and council members Ron Campbell and Marty Martinez were in the audience for the roughly 30-minute address, along with dozens of town residents and supporters.
Burk touched on many key moments and objectives of the past year, from a slight increase to the town tax rate to funding some forthcoming transportation improvements, to the completion of many projects throughout town, including the Russell Branch Parkway extension, the Lowenbach neighborhood improvements, and a security system around the Water Pollution Control Facility.
She also pointed to the many new business openings throughout town, and landing some new or expanding businesses that bring with it a large employee base, like Lowe’s Home Improvement Store and the forthcoming EIT headquarters. She pointed to the many popular town events that town staff ran seamlessly, while at the beginning of last year some of that same staff was asked to respond to a historic winter storm.
She took time during her speech to personally thank the town staff for its tireless work.
“Leesburg’s staff – whether in the Town Hall, on the streets, at the police station, or utility plant – works hard to maintain excellent services and strives to improve on them constantly,” she said.
Burk said town employees, along with the Town Council and engaged and active residents, are to thank for the constant accolades constantly heaped on Leesburg, often cited by surveys throughout the nation as a great place to raise a family.
“With a strong financial background, strong staff support, and an involved citizenry, I am very excited about 2017,” she said.
The mayor pointed to capital projects and other council objectives she looks forward to completing this year, including transportation and storm drainage capital projects and the roll-out of compliance for new proffer guidelines. Burk noted some goals in particular in the forthcoming year that she is personally working on. She said a recent conversation with management at The National in Lansdowne will now have the conference center, at its own expense, running a shuttle service from the property to downtown Leesburg on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights so its guests may enjoy the shopping, dining and entertainment options in the Historic District.
Burk also said she would like to get a comprehensive parking plan completed this year and plans to work with town staff and commission members to achieve it.
“For too long we have done piecemeal fixes and this year I plan to kick off an in-depth, town-wide review,” she said.
Burk also said she would like to arrange an open house at the Leesburg Executive Airport to give the public more of an opportunity to see what the airport offers and understand current and future projects and growth.
Of the year and ongoing efforts, Burk concluded, “This is your government doing its best to benefit you and your family in a truly exceptional manner. My mission is to fulfill that objective and I work each day to do just that.”