Of the five towns that were a part of Tuesday’s municipal elections, three will see their incumbent mayors back in for another term and two will have first-timers filling the mayoral seats that were vacated by tenured mayors with 40 years of experience on their respective town councils.
In Purcellville, voters tapped Mayor Kwasi Fraser to serve a third two-year term, following a challenging year that featured the firing, suspension and investigation of several top staff managers.
Fraser, a senior consultant for Verizon and a 12-year town resident, turned away a challenge from Chris Thompson, winning by a 13-point margin. He got 924 votes to Thompson’s 717, according to unofficial results.
In the Town Council race, five-month incumbent Theodore F. Greenly was the top vote-getter, with 996. He’ll serve on the dais with newcomers Joel D. Grewe and M.F. “Tip” Stinnette. Grewe got 913 votes and Stinnette got 910. Steve H. Warfield was fourth with 785 votes.
About 30 percent of the Purcellville’s 5,757 registered voters turned out to the polls this year, which is the same turnout the town saw two years ago.
Fraser said he now has three tasks to address: finalizing the town’s fiscal year 2019 budget, working to select an independent firm to conduct an operational audit of the town’s organizational structure, and preparing to review the Planning Commission’s Comprehensive Plan in June that he said would be “aligned with slow, moderate growth.”
Resident Brandon Bonnett said he voted for Fraser precisely because of his views on growth. “I don’t want to see any additional growth – I’d like to see things stay small town,” he said.
As for the turmoil that has plagued the town since early last year—beginning with the retirement of former town manager Rob Lohr and the subsequent controversy and six investigations, he said that all would “come to closure very shortly.”
Fraser also thanked Thompson for a “great challenge,” which he said held him accountable.
Nate O. Fontaine will be the next mayor of Lovettsville and he’ll be joined by three new Town Council members.
Fontaine won his race against Kris Consaul by a wide margin and will replace Bob Zoldos, who will retire after three consecutive terms on June 30. Fontaine landed 442 votes, 77 percent of total votes cast, and Consaul took 125 votes, or 22 percent.
About 36 percent of the town’s 1,600 registered voters turned out this year, compared to 6 percent in 2016.
Fontaine said his first order of business would be to find ways to make the town’s utility system more efficient, perhaps by moving forward with a water meter replacement project, which the current Town Council is evaluating. “I think that’s the biggest thing,” he said.
Fontaine also applauded Consaul for running a positive and substantive campaign.
“Kris Consaul deserves a lot of credit in this,” Fontaine said. “She was a great opponent to go against.”
One of the biggest topics among voters revolved around the town’s utility rates. One first-time town voter said that he cast his ballot for Fontaine because he wanted to see “proper appropriation of the funds.”
“What’s a priority versus a luxury,” he said.
Resident Mary Davis said she voted for Fontaine because of his involvement in town government. “He’s been really involved through this whole entire process,” she said. “It’s hard to vote for someone who’s never been to one meeting.”
Hornbaker was the top vote-getter among the six Town Council candidates. He’ll be joined on the dais by Renee E. Edmonston and Matthew R. Schilling. They got 322 and 274 votes, respectively, according to unofficial results. Nicholas R. Hayward, who ran on a slate with Hornbaker and Edmonston, narrowly missed out on a seat, with 270 votes.
Lovettsville also had a special election for one Town Council seat and incumbent Michael D. Dunlap ran unopposed in that race. He got 482 votes.
Hornbaker’s strong showing came after Former Planning Commissioner Frank McDonough publicly accused him of bullying behavior stemming from altercations last year. The Town Council reviewed the allegation and has since developed a new Standards of Conduct for public officials.
Zoldos wrote an April 15 email to McDonough on the issue. “I, like you, abhor the use of bullying and intimidation to slow or effect the governance of our town,” Zoldos wrote. “[Town Council members] absolutely detest this type of behavior.”
Hornbaker said this week that he does not condone bullying, cyberbullying or intimidation. “I am committed to treating the public, town staff, fellow commissioners, members of the Town Council and mayor in a professional manner with the respect and dignity they deserve,” he said.
Fontaine said he would be working with the Town Council to build upon the town’s Standard of Conduct and would ensure that the town’s elected and appointed officials continue to “put a professional face forward.”
About 36 percent of the town’s 1,595 registered voters turned out this year, compared to 6 percent in 2016.
In Middleburg, Town Councilman Bridge Littleton will be moving into a new chair in the town office starting July 1.
He was elected as mayor by a wide margin in a three-way race between Councilman Mark T. Snyder and Vincent Bataoel, chairman of the town’s Economic Development Advisory Committee. It was the town’s first contested mayoral race in 26 years.
Littleton, an eighth-generation town resident whose father was a 34-year council member, got 193 votes. Bataoel was second with 91 votes and Snyder got 11 votes, according to the unofficial results.
In the Town Council race, Vice Mayor C. Darlene Kirk—also a second-generation council member—got the most votes with 183. Incumbents Peter A. Leonard-Morgan and Kevin P. Hazard were re-elected with 155 and 134 votes respectively. They’ll be joined by the town’s former economic development coordinator, Cindy Craun Pearson, who got 165 votes. Mimi Stein narrowly missed winning a council seat, garnering 129 votes.
About 58 percent of the town’s 532 registered voters made it to the polls, compared to 16 percent in 2016.
Littleton will replace Betsy Davis, Loudoun’s longest tenured mayor who is retiring after serving six terms as mayor. She was first elected to the Town Council in 1998.
Littleton said that once sworn in, he would act as a guide for the Town Council in striving to boost economic and business development, invest in the town’s utility system and infrastructure and raise strategic reserves from 20 to 100 percent of the budget without increasing tax rates or reducing services.
“I am incredibly concerned with 65 percent of our tax base relying on luxury tourism,” he said. “It’s so fragile to the economic conditions.”
Voters in Hamilton faced uncontested races as the mayor and three Town Council candidates sought re-election.
David R. Simpson got 61 of the 65 votes cast in the mayor’s race to win a third four-year term. Of the three incumbent council members, Rebecca A. Jones got the most votes, 61, while Craig M. Green and Michael E. Snyder each got 58, according to the unofficial results.
About 16 percent of the town’s 419 voters turned up to vote, compared to 9 percent in the 2016 Town Council election and nearly 20 percent in 2014.
In Round Hill’s uncontested races, Scott T. Ramsey was re-elected as mayor with 59 votes and incumbent Frederick J. Lyne was elected to the Town Council with 54 votes.
Of the 85 write-in ballots cast for the two other Town Council seats, Amy Evers came out on top with 32, followed by Donald Allen with 27.
About 13 percent of the town’s 513 registered voters made it to the polls, compared to 11 percent in 2016.
Overall, about 31 percent of the five towns’ 8,814 registered voters turned out on Tuesday, compared to 22 percent in 2016 and almost 24 percent in 2014.