May’s Town Elections Take on a Different Look

Now that the Leesburg special Town Council election has passed, the focus shifts to town elections in western Loudoun on May 1.

This year’s elections will be held for the towns of Purcellville, Middleburg, Lovettsville, Hamilton and Round Hill. They won’t mirror past elections, however, as two longtime mayors will step down from their seats and a couple new rules will change the way they’re handled.

One of the biggest shakeups is the Virginia law that will list candidate names on the ballot in the order the county registrar receives their filing paperwork, rather than alphabetically.

The other change in this election comes as a result of the Lovettsville population increase to 1,580 registered voters, requiring candidates to submit a 50-signature petition. It’s the first time petitions have been required there. Purcellville candidates must still submit a petition with 125 signatures.

Loudoun County General Registrar Judy Brown said taking advantage of the ballot order rule by submitting paperwork earlier could help candidates who end up lacking signatures.

“That sometimes is a problem when they wait to the last minute,” she said. “If they get them in soon enough, it gives us a little more time to let them go back out and get signatures.”

The Rundown

In Purcellville, Mayor Kwasi Fraser submitted his paperwork for a second re-election last week, with incumbent Councilmen Doug McCollum and Ted Greenly also planning to run. A final candidate has yet to step up to fill a third open spot that will be left by Councilwoman Karen Jimmerson, who announced she will not seek re-election but instead will ramp up a campaign for the Board of Supervisors in 2019.

Purcellville is currently in the middle of four investigations of its senior management staff—an audit of the investigation that resulted in the firing of the police chief, an investigation into the conduct of the former interim town manager and two investigations into claims of sexual harassment and “other complaints” from town staff against the town attorney. Town council is also looking into ways to monetize multiple town-owned properties.

In Lovettsville, Mayor Bob Zoldos will not run for a fourth term. Having served on the town council since 1998, Zoldos said his decision to step down came after a long family discussion and multiple offers to become a fire chief, something he said he’s always wanted to do.

“There’s so many opportunities for me right now,” he said. “I think it’s a perfect time to do it.”

Zoldos said he has been talking with four potential candidates who might run for his spot.

Three council seats will also be on the ballot, with Councilwoman Kimberly Allar not seeking re-election and Vice Mayor Tiffaney Carder and Councilman Nate Fontaine unannounced. A special election will also be held to fill an unexpired council term that was vacated by Rob Gentile and is being temporarily filled by Mike Dunlap.

The town is growing at a fast pace, with multiple businesses moving in, a Town Square project that should begin this year and plans to annex the 15.38-acre fire station property just south of the town limits.

In Hamilton, Mayor David Simpson submitted his paperwork last week in hopes of his first re-election. Hamilton is the only Loudoun town where the mayor serves a four-year term instead of just two years. The terms of Councilmembers Rebecca Jones, Craig Green and Michael Snyder will all expire in June. Snyder said he is unsure about seeking re-election after more than three decades on council.

The town this year will begin multiple projects that will see the addition of storm drains and new sidewalks, in addition to the widening of existing sidewalks.

In Round Hill, Mayor Scott Ramsey will seek election for a fifth term and three council spots will be on the ballot. While Councilmember Fred Lyne will run, Councilman Chris Prack said he is still undecided. Councilwoman Janet Heston’s term will also expire.

The town this year will kick off the Franklin Park Trail and Main Street enhancement projects by summer, submit an application by June to become an official Appalachian Trail Community and continue talks with residents about a potential town expansion.

Middleburg will have one of its most historic mayoral elections, and perhaps one of the most interesting this year. Mayor Betsy Davis will not seek re-election for a seventh term, allowing Vincent Bataoel, chairman of the town’s Economic Development Advisory Committee, and Council members Mark Snyder and Bridge Littleton to vie for the spot. It will be the town’s first contested mayoral race in 26 years.

Councilmembers Darlene Kirk, Peter Leonard-Morgan and Kevin Hazard will all be on the ballot in hopes of securing three of the four open council seats. A fourth candidate has yet to come forward.

This year the town will adopt a Capital Improvement Plan, which it hasn’t done in more than a decade, renovate parts of its water system and sidewalks and move forward with a space-planning study for a new town office and police station.

Candidates in all towns must submit their paperwork to the county registrar’s office by March 6. The deadline for voter registration is April 9. The election will be held Tuesday, May 1.

pszabo@loudounnow.com

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