The town of Bel Air faces crucial decisions on development and finances that require the full attention and energy of its elected leaders: the plan for the Hoza parkland, the fate of the Bel Air library, the tipping fee tiff with Harford County, taxes, managing parking facilities, commercial development along its borders, Bond Street revival.
Tuesday's election will fill three of the five town commissioner seats, which will define a majority on the board for the next four years.
We urge that all registered voters turn out to make this Board of Commissioners as broadly representative as possible. Only 13 percent of eligible voters cast ballots in the last election, which should stand as a municipal embarrassment to be erased in 1993.
The seven candidates vying for these positions are, as a group, exceptionally qualified to offer the town vital and serious leadership. This field is committed, thoughtful, involved in civic affairs and well informed on the matters that affect the community. Bel Air can be grateful for this impressive display of interest in public office.
There appears to be little disagreement among the aspirants over the major issues, though their individual analyses vary. They all agree on reinforcing the town's importance as the Harford County seat amid suburban pressures.
Mark Decker is the only elected incumbent and now serves as chairman of the board. His commissioner experience, his grasp of municipal concerns, and his demonstrated dedication to the community are the reasons we endorse him for re-election.
Stephen Burdette, an architect with an appreciation of Bel Air's historic character, would bring a valuable perspective to the board, which must deal with crucial development questions and the evolving Master Plan. His understanding of planning would improve town governance.
Joe Brooks, a retired civilian administrator at Aberdeen Proving Ground and coordinator of the Harford Leadership Academy, shows the kind of leadership capabilities and common sense approach to community affairs that is always a valuable asset in public office.
Other candidates are not to be overlooked. They are school teacher/businessman Robert Handy, lawyer David Carey, real estate broker Russell Poole (serving an appointed commissioner term for three months) and advertising agency owner Michael Blum. Still, we favor Messrs. Decker, Burdette and Brooks for Bel Air town commissioner.