4 candidates run for mayor

April 30, 1995|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Sun Staff Writer

Whoever wins in tomorrow's municipal election in Taneytown won't have much time to get used to the job.

In less than a week, the new mayor and two new councilmen will be called on to begin looking for the city's fourth manager in three years, to approve a budget of more than $2 million and to grapple with the city's aging -- and leaking -- sewage treatment plant.

"They'll certainly have a lot to do," said Mayor Henry I. Reindollar, who has been in office for four terms but is not seeking a fifth.

Mr. Reindollar's absence has attracted a field of four candidates for the part-time, $1,200-a-year post: George W. Dodson Sr., Kevin D. Williams and Councilmen W. Robert Flickinger and Henry C. Heine Jr.

Three political neophytes -- John M. Contestabile, Clarence E. Ruby and Brian M. Etzler -- are seeking two open City Council seats.

Mr. Heine's seat won't be open for two years unless he is elected mayor.

The polls at City Hall will be open for the city's 1,532 voters from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. But if the past two elections are any indication, a small fraction will cast ballots. City officials said the turnout for the last two elections was less than 30 percent.

The new elected officials will take office May 8, at which time they will be handed an outline of the city's fiscal 1996 budget.

They also will deal with the city's explosive residential growth. The population is expected to grow from 4,200 this year to 5,200 at the beginning of next year, an increase of almost 25 percent.

And they will have to begin looking for a city manager to replace John L. Kendall, who left last month for a Frederick County post after less than a year on the job.

All of the candidates contacted last week said they want controlled, steady growth, an improved economic development plan and less turnover in city managers.

None advocated a change in the property tax rate of 78 cents per $100 of assessed value.

"When we govern, we need to be mindful of the older residents who, after all, founded this town and have lived here," said Mr. Etzler. "But we have to respect the needs of the newer residents. Change is inevitable, and we have to find avenues for compromise."

Mr. Etzler, 40, has lived in or near the city his whole life. He has been a Taneytown Bank and Trust Co. employee for more than 20 years and is now vice president in charge of trust operations. He and his wife, Dotti, have two sons.

Mr. Contestabile is a relative newcomer to town, but he said he has been involved in community affairs.

"I've been attending council meetings for the past two years, I have an opinion on things, and I figured, 'I should have a vote,' " the 38-year-old Maryland Department of Transportation manager said. "I'm one of the newer residents in town, and I figured that the newer residents should have some form of representation on the council."

Mr. Contestabile and his wife and three children have lived in Taneytown about five years. He said his background in civil engineering and business should help him shape growth and development policies.

Mr. Flickinger said he agrees that growth and change are inevitable. The retired Random House Inc. maintenance mechanic said Taneytown needs to repair and upgrade its ailing sewage treatment system and needs to maintain steady, "slow-paced" growth.

But the 62-year-old grandfather, a five-term councilman who was mayor for 18 months in the 1970s, also wants more industrial development and a "spruced-up" downtown.

"I've been in this area all of my life, and I expect to spend the rest of my days here," Mr. Flickinger said. "Win or lose, I will keep working with the community."

Mr. Dodson, 43, who ran for a council seat in 1991, also is a lifelong resident. He said he who wants a simple government that stays out of residents' lives. He was moved to enter the mayoral race when the City Council enacted an ordinance limiting the height of fences around private property to six feet, he said.

"Why have a privacy fence that is only six feet tall?" he said. "What happens when you have someone whose taller than six feet? What kind of privacy is that?"

The Random House employee said it would be important to find more ways for children to entertain themselves.

"I'm basically a conservative who thinks we can't allow government to invade people's lives," he said.

Mr. Heine, a state employee who ran for mayor two years ago, is a City Council veteran who has been active in town planning matters for years. He advocates controlled growth and more rapid economic development. He was not available for comment last week.

Mr. Williams, a political newcomer, also could not be reached for comment on his bid for mayor.

Mr. Ruby, who does not have a listed telephone number, could not be contacted to talk about his City Council ambitions.

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