Swearing-in tonight for Hampstead mayor, two council members

Nevin, Holland and Hentz all re-elected Tuesday to further four-year terms

May 13, 1999|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

Hampstead's incumbent mayor and two incumbent councilmen, who won re-election by narrow margins, will be sworn in for further four-year terms at tonight's Town Council meeting.

For Mayor Christopher M. Nevin and Councilmen Stephen A. Holland and Lawrence H. Hentz, victory in Tuesday's municipal election means the opportunity to "continue pushing forward with ongoing projects," Nevin said.

The mayor was alluding to their goals of completing the new police station, improving the water system, revitalizing the Main Street business district downtown, making progress on the development of the town bypass, and continuing a balanced approach to growth.

Nevin defeated challenger Wayne H. Thomas 250-202. In the races for the two open council seats, Holland collected 241 votes and Hentz edged Denise M. Justus, chairwoman of the town's Board of Zoning Appeals, 203-202. Keith Heindel won 123 votes, and Steven Balaz garnered 111 votes.

Election results were delayed nearly four hours after the polls closed at 7 p.m., while the town's election supervisors recounted all 452 ballots cast to verify Hentz's one-vote victory.

Thomas' mayoral defeat means he will continue to serve on the Town Council until 2001. "I'm obviously disappointed," Thomas said.

"I campaigned very hard, but I am not surprised [by the outcome]. I was not just running against the mayor, but the mayor, three councilmen and the police chief," Thomas said, referring to the support that Councilman Haven N. Shoemaker and Police Chief Kenneth Meekins gave to Nevin, Holland and Hentz.

Thomas said he will pursue his favorite projects: downtown revitalization and the restoration of the Hampstead train station. He said he did not foresee difficulty in continuing to work with Nevin and the other council members.

Thomas has opposed closed-meeting discussions on industrial development and said he would continue to do so.

Hentz offered no reaction to his one-vote victory, other than to say, "I'm glad I won."

None of the candidates offered an explanation for the low turnout, less than 19 percent of the town's 2,488 registered voters.

Of the 452 ballots cast, 439 were recorded at the polls. Four were voided because each selected three council candidates instead of two, election officials said.

Nine absentee ballots were received and counted.

Justus might request verification of the absentee ballots to make sure they were from registered voters, but she said she would not otherwise contest the results.

After the Town Council conducts routine business tonight, the meeting will end momentarily for the official close of the old term and then reopen to record the election results and conduct new business. The new business will include issuing the oath of office to Nevin, Holland and Hentz, election of a council vice president and the mayor's appointment of oversight responsibilities to town officials.

Pub Date: 5/13/99

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