Voters in Leesburg elected two new city commissioners – Jimmy Burry and Jay Connell – on Tuesday night and also approved an ordinance that will change the face of government in the city.
Burry defeated Alan Reisman to take Seat 1, District 1. Burry, who owns Burry’s Pharmacy, tallied 1,757 votes, or 56.84 percent. Reisman, a project manager for Firehawk Helicopters, received 1,334 votes, or 43.16 percent. Burry will replace longtime Commissioner Jay Hurley, who was forced to vacate the seat because of term limits.
Connell, a building/fire inspector, easily defeated two small business owners, Jazmin Felix and Fred Griffin Jr., to take Seat 3, District 3. Connell garnered 2,495 votes, or 52.57 percent. Felix received 1,129 votes (23.79 percent) and Griffin had 1,122 votes (23.64 percent). Connell replaces Mayor Elise Dennison, who also was forced to vacate her seat because of term limits.
Leesburg voters also approved an ordinance that was first brought up by Dennison earlier this year in response to upcoming massive growth of The Villages and other developments in the city limits. The measure – Leesburg Ordinance 20-25 – passed with 6,957 yes votes (67.73 percent) to 3,314 no votes (32.27 percent). The passage of the ordinance means the city’s charter will be amended to replace the current system of three-single member districts and two at-large seats to five single-member districts and no at-large commissioners.
Commissioners called for the referendum question to be placed on the November ballot during a meeting in March. At the time, they agreed it would prevent any one group, neighborhood or developer from obtaining a three-person majority on the commission by getting both at-large candidates elected from their areas or communities.