ROANOKE (WSLS) - As 2015 winds down people in Roanoke prepare to see a change in leadership in 2016. Voters will elect a new mayor and several city council members. Those voted into office will have to work together to address key issues. In 2015, hundreds of jobs left the Roanoke Valley and the area saw a spike in violent crimes.
2015 has been a year of ups and downs for the business community. Roanoke saw hundreds of jobs taken out of the city when companies like Norfolk Southern decided to relocate. Bringing jobs back to the city in 2016 is something residents want elected officials to focus on. Owners of R.T. Smith's Deli in Roanoke said they have seen business come in go since they first took over the store in May of this year. They said they'd also like to see local leaders work more closely with businesses.
"I'm hoping for a good amount of rapport with the local business community and a little more flexibility," said Keith Clinton .
Crime is another concern. Police said 11 people were killed as of Dec. 28th of 2015 which is higher than the 3 murder victims in 2014. Here's a look at the number of homicide victims from previous years.
2013 - 9
2012 - 9
Looking ahead to 2016, Roanokers will head to the polls to elect several new local leaders. Potential voters said they hope to see changes in leadership lead to an improved economy, fewer crimes and more positive changes in the new year.
"I think voters are looking for something completely different than what we've had" said Clinton. "I think that will be the key phrase "something different". If you can't tell me how you are going to do something different you are not going to be getting my vote".
Voters will head to the polls on Feb. 13th for the Roanoke Democratic Firehouse Primary. The general election will be in May.