Name: Kelly Burk (Incumbent)
Profession: Retired Teacher
Campaign website: KellyBurkforMayor.com
Explain your top priority if elected, and what qualities do you bring to the council?
As with the other town leaders, my priority is looking for ways to ensure the vitality of Leesburg businesses, keep our communities safe during this pandemic, and protect the town’s fiscal strength and retain our high level of town service. Our business community has been dramatically impacted by the COVID-19 virus. Leesburg has instituted temporary zoning changes, such as closing King Street, allowing restaurant businesses more outdoor tables to enable greater space for outdoor dining; suspending parking fees; and extending the timeline for BPOL tax payments. In addition, our Utilities Department is working with customers who need a pay plan so that no water will be shut off, and the Economic Development Department has been working with the Small Business Administration to create job seminars on financing, best practices for businesses, and marketing ideas.
It took 10 years for the state/local economies to rebound to pre-recession levels after the Great Recession and we cannot wait that long for a recovery. I will work with our businesses, our faith communities, and our nonprofits to create a task force to help guide Town Council on the needs of the community. Visit Loudoun will become an even more important partner by creating a public relations campaign to encourage day trips and weekend overnight stays. Throughout this year, new businesses have opened, relocated, or expanded here in Leesburg. Our policies, diversity, and town culture continue to make Leesburg a great place for living, working, and entertainment.
Name: R.E. “Ron” Campbell
Neighborhood: Potomac Station
Profession: Retired higher education administrator and nonprofit executive
Campaign Facebook page: Ron Campbell Leesburg Town Council
Explain your top priority elected, and what qualities you bring to the council if elected?
I am running formayor of Leesburg because thechallengesthat face our community require new leadership that has the ability and the experience to step outside of the partisan circle to lead conversations on important topics such as the economic recovery plan for the town and our small businesses.The impacts of COVID-19 are a critical top priority that mustbe addressed. It is estimated that we will lose 25 percent of our current small businesses. I plan to lead the council in the development of a five-year recovery plan to prioritize the budget impacts and take action on solutions to provide services to our residents and our small businesses. The business community involvement in this plan is critical to the financial success of the town and provides for new innovative concepts to stimulate small business growth.
My educational background and professional leadership roles have given me the experience that is critically necessary to support the challenges facing the town. In my four years on council I have developed partnerships without regards to political party affiliation and as a leader, I know how to use all of our common strengths to work towards serving all in our town.
I am a principled leader that will work with all elected members of the Town Council and will assure you that all members of our community will be treated with fairness and respect.
I believe in people over politics and pledge to always put the best interest of our town first.
Town Council Race
Name: Ara Bagdasarian
Neighborhood: Historic District
Profession: CEO, Entrepreneur
Campaign website: ara2020.org
In 250 words or less, explain your top priority if elected (or re-elected) to the council, and what qualities you bring to the council if elected (or re-elected).
The top priority is adapting to, recovering from, and thriving during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. This will require unprecedented collaboration between the town, businesses, and residents to work together creatively to develop solutions.
My background as an entrepreneur and CEO working in the public safety sector, as a nonprofit and community leader, and former Leesburg Economic Development Commission chairman uniquely positions me to help lead the town to tackle the challenges ahead. These challenges are actually opportunities to innovate and improve.
I will bring optimism, resourcefulness, creativity, collaboration, and an entrepreneurial perspective to the council.
Name: Zach Cummings
Neighborhood: Southwest Leesburg
Profession: Residential real estate agent
Campaign website: ZachCummings.com
In 250 words or less, explain your top priority if elected (or re-elected) to the council, and what qualities you bring to the council if elected (or re-elected).
As a candidate for Leesburg Town Council, I’m running to bring a fresh perspective to Leesburg. If elected, my priorities will be helping our small businesses survive and thrive during our current health crisis by supporting smart growth here in Leesburg. Smart growth is revenue-generating growth that fits with the neighborhoods here in Leesburg and the overall Town Plan. Finally, as a member of council, I will work to end the gridlock that has kept important ideas from being debated by the council. We must have elected officials that can disagree without being disagreeable.
As a small business owner and an active member of our community, I have the experience to work with people from all walks of life. My work as the vice president of fundraising for the Catoctin Elementary School PTA has afforded me the opportunity to meet so many of our small business owners and parents. I have engaged with many Leesburg organizations, including the Friends of Leesburg Public Arts, helping raise funds for the Stanley Caulkins Memorial in downtown Leesburg. I live in southwest Leesburg with my wife, Jeanette, son, Jackson, and Australian Shepherd, Taylor Sniffs.
Our town and our town government need a fresh approach and perspective to keep it moving forward. I would be honored to earn your vote his November. Please visit zachcummings.com for more information about me and my campaign.
Name: Kari Nacy
Neighborhood: Country Club
Profession: Director, EverWatch Solutions
Campaign website: KariNacy.com
In 250 words or less, explain your top priority if elected (or re-elected) to the council, and what qualities you bring to the council if elected (or re-elected).
If elected my top priority for Town Council would be to focus on recovery for our community and small businesses from COVID-19. Additionally, ensuring the update of our Town Plan really reflects and maintains our small-town charm while ensuring Leesburg continues to improve for all residents.
Qualities I bring to council if elected would be transparency and honesty, and a positive outlook and attitude. Business, contracts, and budget acumen are also key qualities. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, a willingness to work together with every council member regardless of differing political views so that we are representing Leesburg in a professional manner.
Name: Bill Replogle
Neighborhood: Northeast Leesburg
Campaign website: BillforLeesburg.com
While our top priority should be revitalizing the local economy in the wake of the pandemic, there is another time-sensitive issue that needs to be tackled immediately.
We need to acquire Westpark and preserve it as greenspace. This should be done without delay, before it falls into the hands of a developer. We should then initiate a study to find the best use in the eyes of the residents, and Town Council and staff should take that input and develop a game plan for the use of the property. The pandemic has increased demand for outdoor activities like golf, tennis, hiking, biking and just walking. Westpark could be an Ida Lee South, or a par 3 golf course, and provide recreational opportunities for our residents and revenue for the town. Westpark could also offer a system of walking/hiking trails, and perhaps some community gardens. If the revenue producing potential doesn’t cover the cost of the acquisition and maintenance, we could look at the potential for public/private partnerships to ensure there is no additional tax burden to residents. It would enhance our already envious quality of life.
What should the Town Council’s top priority be right now?
Kelly Burk: My mayoral priorities—ensuring economic vitality, keeping our community safe, and protecting our fiscal strength—are in line with what our town priorities should be now and going forward. A community faced with economic stress must focus on community stability. COVID-19 is still running its course. The job losses, poverty, and food scarcity need addressing now and for the foreseeable future. Sustainability and equity are critical to surviving seismic events like a recession, a natural disaster, or a viral pandemic. We should continue investing in our neighborhoods to provide residents with amenities and open spaces, which have helped our residents stay healthy, in mind and body. We must actively engage a variety of participants in making Leesburg a well-run town. Elected and volunteer leadership should reflect the diversity of Leesburg and residents are encouraged to fully participate in community decision making. As mayor, it will always be my focus to have a diverse, welcoming, community that is committed to the well-being of our residents.
Ron Campbell: The development of an economic recovery plan due to the impacts of COVID-19 for the town and our small businesses must be the top priority. The town is currently facing an estimated $11 million deficit and the economic recovery will not happen if we do notmake a plan to address and prioritize the budget impacts on our programs andservices. The revenue deficit that began in FY 20, now extending into FY 21, is not forecasted to end anytime soon. The entire community involvement in this recovery plan is critical for the long term success of the town. The leadership direction for the Town Council must be focused on a recovery agenda.
Ara Bagdasarian: Economic Resilience: adapting to, recovering from, and thriving during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. How our town can better work to accommodate new obstacles that arise from restrictions and lifestyle changes in order to safely keep our economy going.
Zach Cummings: Leesburg Town Council’s top priority now should be helping our small businesses survive and thrive during this pandemic. Our small businesses are the lifeblood of our community. We rely on their tax revenue to help provide the amenities our citizens enjoy. Town Council must continue working with town staff and our small business community to think outside the box on ways to keep people coming to Leesburg and spending their money. As winter approaches, we need to assist in finding ways to continue outdoor dining options, help with expanding opportunities for take-out services, and bring customers to Leesburg.
Kari Nacy: Right now, adapting and moving forward during COVID-19 is the biggest priority for the town. We’ve seen our residents and businesses suffer because of COVID-19 with countless small businesses having to close their doors for good. It’s truly heartbreaking and we must do everything we can as a town to prevent any further economic decline. Continuing tax relief plans for businesses and citizens and adapting our town processes and policies so that people can survive is an absolute priority. We must be flexible as a town to aid in recovery. All of these small changes equal relief for our citizens.
Bill Replogle: Revitalizing our local economy in the wake of the pandemic. We need to work with local business owners and residents to figure out creative solutions to this problem. While outdoor dining and closing down King Street at key times has been a good assist for our shops and restaurants, winter is coming and we need to figure out how to best adapt to the changing seasons and weather. We should revitalize the downtown business association and create a task force charged with generating recommendations that will fuel our local economy. First Friday has always been a draw for Leesburg as well. Perhaps we can expand that program without putting our community at risk. Being a marketing guy by background, I think there are creative ways we can enhance the Leesburg brand and drive visitors to our local businesses to further revitalize our economy and make Leesburg a destination for both residents and the community at large.
With the spring budget deliberations looming, and town government revenues on the decline, what will be your mindset come budget time? Are there services that should be cut/reduced? Are there new programs or General Fundadditions that should be accommodated? Are taxes going up?
Kelly Burk: Local governments are on the front of this Covid-19 crisis. The stresses to our economy will not end anytime soon and this virus will continue to impact our businesses for a long time to come. As the town continues to follow the state phasing guidelines, that will determine consumer spending, and in turn cause people to lose their jobs, making it difficult to pay taxes and then tax revenues will be impacted. With the reduced tax base, the town will be strained to provide the services expected from our residents. The town taxes fund the police, the parks, street repair and cleaning, trash pickup and so much more. With the reduced employment picture many in the community will be unable to pay rent or mortgages. This will result in a huge demand for services for people that will have no job, no home, and nowhere to live. However, it is premature to suggest budget changes and/or reductions just yet. During the budget process the council will need the most up to date data possible to make the best recommendations concerning services. Tax revenue provides detailed economic data and as a council we should be careful to use that data and not emotion to determine service impacts and tax rates. As a council and working with the region, we need to have a strong lobbying effort in front of Congress to get the aid local and state governments need to shore up their budget needs. We need to work as a region to help businesses find ways to work differently. As Mayor I will create a task force from the business, faith, and non-profit communities to advise the council on action to be taken. These businesses and giving organizations are in the trenches daily with the individuals and families impacted the most. The task force can focus on ways the community and our town government can help get as many people back to full employment. I will seek a strong partnership with the county on ways to ease the burden of those in our community. This is going to be a long, arduous struggle and working together with the regional governments, Loudoun County, and organizations such as Visit Loudoun and the nonprofit community, we can find solutions to address our most pressing issues.
Ron Campbell: The new council must prepare itself to quickly learn about the fiscal challenges and the fiscal obligations that have been built into the current budget that have been mostly covered by residential and business tax revenues. I will propose additional council budget orientation sessions that will focus on learning about the fiscal deficit and potential solutions that might involve reductions in staff and/or services. This fiscal deficit cannot be resolved by increasing taxes on an already fiscally stressed community. The town has made large investments in the area of technology and emergency services to resolve our emergency response concerns and move in a long anticipated independent direction for internet services away from the county. This support must be continued. Additional revenue support will be hard to find and no new support will be coming from the county or the state. The town has always credited itself with having a large reserve fund that the credit rating agencies have looked at favorably and granted the town a triple-A credit rating and there needs to be serious conversations with the town’s financial advisors about how to best use those funds to avoid the financial cliff that we are standing on today.
Ara Bagdasarian: A resourceful mindset. How can we make the most out of the diminished resources and minimize the impact to residents and businesses? There will be difficult decisions to make; however, establishing priorities and being responsible and resourceful will help guide budget allocation decisions. I have extensive experience with budget stewardship as CEO of private companies, board president of nonprofits including The Arc of Loudoun, Loudoun Symphony Orchestra, BENEFIT, the Board of Loudoun Literacy Council, and Vestry at St James’ Church.
Zach Cummings: There is no greater document that outlines a government’s values than a budget. As a member of the Leesburg Town Council, I will work together with our fellow members to craft a budget that continues to make Leesburg great. We will need to look at ways to pull back spending to balance the budget. I do not believe that raising taxes in the middle of a pandemic, which has caused unemployment to jump, businesses to close, and families to cut back their own spending, is the right thing to do.
Kari Nacy: With a budget deficit on the horizon my mindset during budget time will be how can we make up deficits without harming our residents and our businesses? Raising taxes is not the answer. The last thing I would want to do is cause further harm by raising taxes or having to do a reduction in force of employees. Instead, we need to look at projects that can be put on hold to free up funds to cover shortfalls. And before budget deliberations, finding other revenue sources to help make up deficits through business and economic development. There are many areas we can look at tightening the budget belt and every council member should make it a priority not to pass that burden on to our citizens and businesses.
Bill Replogle: First of all, taxes should not go up despite a shortfall. The pandemic has put an economic burden on most of us, and we don’t need to add to that problem. If we’re successful at revitalizing the downtown economy, we’ll see tax revenue increase. And if we’re smart about our growth, we can realize gains there that will offset budget shortfalls. There are some deals in the works that should help out there. When we have surpluses, we need to put money aside for future infrastructure improvements, land acquisition and weather emergencies. But this is no time to raise taxes.
As we begin a revision of the Town Plan, what are the top changes you want to see in our community development policies?
Kelly Burk: Leesburg is reaching its developable land capacity. Going forward, we will shift focus to what redevelopment will look like. One thing the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us is the need for open space. I want to see redevelopment opportunities that emphasize the creation of open space, incorporate walkable connectedness, and a recognition that our downtown is vital to our vibrancy. We need to make sure development matches our vision of the walkable, sustainable town that values the environment, recognizes our changing transportation needs, and the new world of work.
Ron Campbell: Our residential community policies need one common goal—affordability. The affordability issue is big throughout all of Leesburg and it should be a long term vision statement embedded in the town’s comprehensive plan, that as we grow there is a balance of housing options. The other issues affecting community development are parking, bus transportation, retail services and open space. Leesburg is over 95% built out and the future redevelopment plans for residential space must focus on affordable creative designs. Currently less than 13% of town staff live in Leesburg, mostly due to the affordability issue. The long term future development ideas must be captured in livability and affordability.
Ara Bagdasarian: I am looking forward to creating new opportunities for civic engagement to harness the brainpower of our community. We need to make participating in democracy more accessible through technology, boards and commissions, and increasing communications. I would like to see greater community involvement to address specific issues as an extension of our Commissions. When I was chair of the Economic Development Commission (EDC), we would create task forces that included businesses and residents who worked together to offer solutions to Town Council. For example, the EDC launched a First Floor Retail Task Force to address a downtown district that closed at 5 p.m., had little foot traffic, and had retail space being replaced by office uses. We organized forums and invited property owners and business owners to participate. Through a shared vision for a thriving destination for arts, entertainment, and dining, we were able to propose a number of recommendations to improve the downtown. The Downtown Improvement Association was created, Arts & Cultural District policy was proposed and adopted, and restaurants and retail began replacing first floor offices. Through collective impact with public and private stakeholders we were able to improve our downtown district. Now, we need to take a similar approach with Westpark, affordable housing, and other opportunities to be addressed.
Zach Cummings: As a member of Leesburg Town Council, I will work to approve smart growth. Smart growth is revenue-generating growth that fits the makeup of our neighborhoods and the overall Town Plan. As a town, we must prioritize re-development because we are at capacity on land that can be developed. I look to the new Ketterman’s Jewelers building on Catoctin Circle as a shining example of smart growth. The building already had water and sewer lines running to it, and existing roads. When the Kettermans purchased the building, the town did not need to spend money expanding utilities. Additionally, the building went from a single tax-generating entity to at least three tax-generating entities. This is the type of development, or re-development, that I will support as a member of Leesburg Town Council.
Kari Nacy: First and foremost, while Leesburg has grown significantly, we’ve been able to preserve our small-town charm. We need to make absolutely sure our new Town Plan supports and continues that. It’s the reason people love Leesburg and should be our priority. We also have some outdated processes and zoning ordinances that should really be a large focus of this new Town Plan. Additionally, re-development and what we want our town to look like over the course of the next five, 10, 15 years should be clearly laid out in this new plan so that Planning Commissions and councils can understand and execute the vision. More collaboration between council and planning is imperative.
Bill Replogle: Everything should contribute to and enhance our quality of life here in Leesburg. We need to maintain our small town historic charm while pursuing smart growth policies. Future development should generate revenue for the town in excess of associated expenses. All development should be aesthetically pleasing and support a healthy community and economy. We need to be vigilant about our environment, preserve our greenspace, and create a more connected and walkable community. We need to encourage green building and the use of clean renewable energy, and attract a diverse family of businesses that are committed to giving back to the community.
What are the best opportunities for business growth in town? What action or policies in support and /or attract businesses?
Kelly Burk: Leesburg is still an attractive place to do business. Even during the pandemic Leesburg has had new businesses open their doors or expand existing businesses. With Leesburg having a HUBZone, Leesburg is an even more desirable place to do businesses. Leesburg Airport continues to make our town an attractive place to locate a business. The town needs to continue to have a strong customer service model that welcomes new entrepreneurs, works to keep businesses here, and helps to reach out to new businesses. Leesburg is a beautiful place with highly educated residents and hardworking employees, and a culture that continues to attract a variety of businesses. The town needs to continue to work with the county and the state economic departments to invite businesses to consider Leesburg as a place they would want to live and work.
Ron Campbell: In 2017, I asked the Town Council to approve a motion to create an economic development ad hoc group to study the economic development section of the town comprehensive plan and to interview the business community to better understand concerns and opportunities. The ad hoc group returned 52 recommendations which the council pared down to six. The big issue that the ad hoc committee presented was that some of the town policies and procedures actually disincentivized business investment in our community and we needed to re-write and update our codes to better encourage and support new business and residential development. The council at the time was resistant in putting these recommendations into action. If we are to move forward, we need to revisit these recommendations, review the types of jobs that are possible to develop within the town corporate limits and grow our capacity to offer tax incentives that can spur new business investment. My long term financial direction is about creating new revenue sources that are not based on annexation and boundary line adjustments to gain new taxable property. We must look at developing public private partnerships that require mutual investments and look at new ways to increase stakeholder involvement in the plans for town development. Growth and recovery can happen at the same time.
Ara Bagdasarian: I believe that our economy will, in many ways, look different after COVID; especially as more residents will be working from home or remain local at co-work spaces in Leesburg rather than commuting to and from work each day. Behavioral changes in work and beyond are accelerating and are becoming the new normal. Therefore, experiential businesses, those that offer something bespoke and tangible, will be key on the retail side. Businesses such as restaurants, music, arts, and entertainment establishments will be even more relevant. For example, downtown Leesburg is becoming a destination for dining, arts, craft beer and wine, and live music. As a destination, inspiring or attracting businesses that complement this experience mix provides growth opportunities that meet the needs of the market. We need to further develop and expand our infrastructure for entrepreneurship to help new business establish and grow in the town. Increase awareness for the programs and resources to help turn great ideas into new ventures. Build on resources such as the George Mason Enterprise Center, Small Business Development Center, 1 Million Cups, Loudoun Tech Startups, Lemonhead Council, SCORE, Young Entrepreneurs Academy, and other programs designed to support entrepreneurs and small businesses succeed. On the professional services side, we need to embrace the technology community and exploit our proximity to the nexus of the Internet.
Zach Cummings: As a member of Town Council, my top priority will be to ensure our small businesses thrive during the current health crisis. Financially our town is tied to our small businesses through revenues from BPOL, food, and sales taxes. In order to assist our small business owners, our Town Council must work to lessen the barriers for businesses to open here in Leesburg. In addition, the Town Council must arm our economic development team with all the resources they need to work with our small business owners to weather the current storm, market the Town of Leesburg as open for business, and engage federal and state entities to bring in additional revenue to help our small businesses. If we can bring in additional revenue, we can keep our residents’ property taxes low. Our small businesses are the economic engines of our town, we must stand up and fight for them.
Kari Nacy: Leesburg has a unique designation as a HUBZone for the federal government that we have a wonderful opportunity to help foster and grow. If we can support more non-commercial types of businesses to come to town in addition to our wonderful commercial businesses, we can really see some wonderful benefits from that economic growth. Leesburg also needs to review our processes and policies on opening and doing business in town. We have some red tape and bureaucracy that can be reduced in order to make it more attractive for opening businesses here in town.
Bill Replogle: First of all, we need to listen to our local businesses as we formulate a game plan to attract others. Let’s form a task force and re-energize the downtown business association. There are exciting opportunities in the works that will continue to fuel our growth. We need smart growth policies in place that find the sweet spot of being good for our town and good for attracting the kind of businesses we’d like to see here. We need to minimize red tape without being shortsighted. I’ve worked with Loudoun County Economic Development, Greater Washington Initiative and the Board of Trade attracting companies to the region. And I’ve also worked on tourism initiatives with Loudoun, Fairfax, Arlington and Prince William counties, and transportation issues with Metro Washington Airports Authority, Metro and VRE. And I’ve worked with local tourism authorities, restaurants and wineries attracting visitors. I think there’s an opportunity to do a better job of branding Leesburg as a destination for residents, visitors, and innovative enterprises.
How can the Town Council improve its relationship with the Board of Supervisors?
Kelly Burk: The relationship between the county and the town will always have its challenges since both elected bodies change every few years. With our own roles, responsibilities, and priorities, conflict will arise. Members of the Loudoun Board recognize the importance of the towns and I am confident we are on a positive path forward. The Coalition of Loudoun Towns (COLT) has been working to improve the relationship and communication between the towns and the county. COLT is represented by the 7 town mayors. COLT participates in a weekly conference call with Chair Randall and Supervisor Kershner. We have spoken to the Loudoun Board of Supervisors at meetings and public hearings about various partnerships. We must offer solutions to help improve the affordable housing inventory, the comprehensive plan, and the Joint Land Management Area. These actions improve communications and interactions between the towns and Board of Supervisors. Leesburg Town Council has asked the Board of Supervisors to create a committee between the Town of Leesburg and the Board of Supervisors. This committee would have members from the town and the county, and the role would be to be open to discussions about issues involving both localities. With the ability to discuss concerns and ideas, members could create a relationship where each body can help the other to understand decisions. Communication must go both ways for trust and understanding to be productive and make a difference and this committee is a step in the right direction to make that possible.
Ron Campbell: The Town Council has been struggling with its relationship with Loudoun County for too many years and the full benefits of a town-county relationship have not been afforded to the residents of Leesburg. It is my desire to build a partnership that reflects the value of our town to Loudoun County and to end the division that currently exists. As I see it, there are three key factors that have affected our ability to have a better working relationship: (1) historic and current partisanship, (2) no communication structure, and (3) no binding legal or legislative agreements to identify the purpose of the partnership and areas of financial support. Each year the Town Council develops a budget funding request list and submits it to the county for consideration. There is no conversation and finally there is a response that almost always denies all the items on the list. I am running for mayor because our town deserves better treatment and our residents deserve better value for the taxes they pay. My leadership will address these challenges and strengthen our relationship with Loudoun County.
Ara Bagdasarian: Increasing communication and establishing a shared vision for the town and county that is aligned with common goals. We did this with town and county Economic Development in the late 2000’s, so I know it can be done.
Zach Cummings: Leesburg Town Council can improve its relationship with the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors with a two-step approach. First, the Town Council must end the gridlock and partisan infighting that at times casts doubts on the town’s ability to act in a professional manner. As a member of Town Council, I will work to get us working together. I’ve made relationships on both sides of the political aisle, and in many different facets of the community. Secondly, the Town Council must engage more on the day-to-day negotiations with the BOS and county staff. I would support a small ad hoc committee that includes Town Council members and town staff working to improve relations between the county and town, as well as negotiating important items like the boundary line adjustments and the Joint Land Management Area.
Kari Nacy: Not to sound repetitive from the Candidate Forum but relationship management is key. This doesn’t mean being friends with someone on social media or in the same political affiliation. It means real and true connections, meetings, and consistent collaboration with the entire board. I would propose a monthly meeting between the council and the board to ensure that we have a good working relationship and mutual respect for the decisions being made regarding Leesburg. Leesburg is the largest town in the county and the state of Virginia so we should absolutely have a good working relationship with the Board of Supervisors.
Bill Replogle: We should have a point-person assigned to the Board of Supervisors to spearhead communications between the Town Council and the board. I also think that by being a more unified council, we can speak with one voice and develop a better relationship with the county.