For the 6,500 residents of Taneytown, Monday's election is an automatic reaffirmation of the current direction of their municipal government. Three seats on the five-member council are up for grabs, but only one person has decided to challenge the three incumbents running for re-election.
The three incumbents -- Thomas J. Denike, Henry C. Heine and James L. McCarron -- are standing on their records. Challenger Roger Keller concurs with the basic initiatives of the council but complains that the body hasn't related well enough to residents.
All of the candidates agree that managing Taneytown's growth, attending to the problems of an aging water and sewer system, providing recreational opportunities for youngsters and encouraging economic development are the tasks facing the council. They also agree the city's downtown needs sprucing up.
Unlike many other municipalities emerging from the recession, Taneytown is in excellent financial position. The town had a surplus of about $900,000 last year. The council and mayor have judiciously tapped this financial cushion to accomplish some needed improvement projects. The council demonstrated prudence in using the town's surplus by agreeing to provide residents with trash collection and a recycling program this year.
Mr. Denike, who was appointed to the council in 1991, is running for election for the first time. He has two top priorities: encouraging economic development and balancing the town budget.
Mr. Heine, an engineer for the state Mass Transit Administration, is running for a second term. He wants to develop a strategic plan to systematically replace aging city equipment and infrastructure.
Mr. McCarron, a two-term councilman, is a sales manager for Southern States Cooperative. His main goal is to ensure enough open space is allotted for recreational use in new residential developments.
Mr. Keller, meanwhile, has brought a great deal of enthusiasm to the race, but he has not outlined specific ways of getting the council to better relate to its constituents.
The Sun recommends the election of incumbents Thomas J. Denike, Henry C. Heine and James L. McCarron to the Taneytown Council.