Incumbent, 2 others seek seats on Mount Airy Town Council

April 22, 1994|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Sun Staff Writer

When Mount Airy residents go to the polls on May 2 to vote for two Town Council members, they'll have a choice between a 28-year council veteran, a sales manager for a car dealership who serves on the town's cable TV commission and a businessman who owns a Main Street computer store.

Council President Delaine Hobbs is seeking an eighth term on the council. Sales manager Robert Mead, who ran unsuccessfully for the council in 1990, is trying again. Businessman Michael T. Boyer is seeking an elected town office for the first time.

The revitalization of the Main Street area and the question of whether Mount Airy needs a town manager are major issues facing the town, the candidates said.

Mr. Hobbs, 59, said he seeks another term on the council because "there's a few things I haven't finished yet."

As supervisor of the town's water and sewer committee, Mr. Hobbs said he wants to oversee completion of pumping station No. 8 and be involved in the update of the town's water treatment plant.

Mr. Hobbs, who owns People's Lumber on Main Street, also said Mount Airy's downtown must change to survive.

"You've got to change the atmosphere and put in the type of businesses that draw people to it," he said.

Several studies have recommended improvements to the downtown area, but Mr. Hobbs said Main Street business owners have been reluctant to spend money to make them. He said he'd like to see another study on downtown revitalization.

He also is concerned about providing more senior housing and day care.

"I still feel I have some things to give to the town," Mr. Hobbs said.

Mr. Mead, 58, sales manager at Joe Grimm Ford in Eldersburg, ran for the council in 1990 and lost by 21 votes. He said his management experience and involvement in town activities have prepared him for a seat on the council.

"I think that the town right now could probably use the infusion of a little new blood on the council," Mr. Mead said.

As a member of Mount Airy's cable TV commission, Mr. Mead said he was instrumental in securing a franchise agreement with Frederick Cablevision two years ago. He said the arrangement gave Mount Airy residents a choice between the Frederick cable company and Prestige Cable of Westminster.

Mr. Mead said one of the downtown's biggest problems is the lack of parking. He supports Mayor Gerald Johnson's decision to form a committee of business and property owners to consider changes to downtown Mount Airy.

Many of the old buildings on Main Street don't meet

handicapped accessibility laws, and bringing them up to code would be cost-prohibitive, Mr. Mead said. Granting waivers to potential owners should be considered, he said.

Mr. Mead served on the Friendly Acres Homeowners Association board for nine years and was president from 1987 to 1990. He is a member of the Mount Airy and Carroll County cable TV commissions.

Mr. Boyer, 54, who owns Micro star Computers, said he decided to run for a Town Council seat because he's troubled by some recent council decisions.

"I thought there was a change that was necessary, and I was interested in using my experience to help make that change," he said.

He said the council's October decision to put no parking signs DTC on Lookout Avenue wasn't thoroughly considered, and he noted that the council was forced to reverse itself after residents complained.

He also criticized an incident last fall in which the council inadvertently awarded a carpeting contract to the second-lowest bidder instead of the low bidder because of a record-keeping mix-up.

Mr. Boyer, whose wife Linda was mayor of Mount Airy from 1986 to 1990, has owned Microstar computers since 1989. He said he also is a electrical engineer and electrician.

The revitalization of downtown is high on his list of priorities.

"It's one of the oldest areas in town, and we have to do something to save it if possible, but we can't spend town funds to renovate it," he said.

"It's up to the business owners and the property owners, but the town can help to get state grants and low-cost loans."

Mr. Boyer has been in the news recently due to financial disputes with his former landlord and the state Department of Natural Resources.

Twin Arch Associates Limited Partnership sued Mr. Boyer last month for nonpayment of more than $11,000 in rent. Microstar Computers was formerly located in the Twin Arch Shopping Center in Mount Airy.

"It's owed," Mr. Boyer said of the back rent. "In the next four weeks, it should be all taken care of."

Mr. Boyer said a 7-year-old dispute with the state Department of Natural Resources over a Marriottsville home is unresolved.

He said he put an $8,000 deposit on the property at 1901 Arrington Road in 1987 at an auction, but said the state repeatedly delayed closing on the property until last year. But at that time, Mr. Boyer, said he wasn't ready to close the deal.

State officials said Mr. Boyer was in default and sold the property.

Mr. Boyer, who had rented it to a tenant, claims that the state owes him $15,000 to $20,000 for improvements he made to the property.

Barbara MacLeod, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Natural Resources, had no comment on the matter.

All three council candidates agree that Mount Airy doesn't need a town manager. Currently, the town's five council members are charged with the supervision of town services. The candidates say they support exploring the issue.

Councilman Oliver Davis said he decided not to run for another term because of demands on his time. He said Mount Airy needs a town manager to oversee the day to day operations.

The Mount Airy town election will be May 2 at the Firemen's Activity Building on Twin Arch Road. The polls will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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