McCarron and Hale vie for mayor

4 candidates seek 2 seats on Town Council

water shortage among issues

Election 2007: Taneytown

April 15, 2007|By Laura McCandlish | Laura McCandlish,Sun Reporter

Taneytown Mayor W. Robert Flickinger is preparing to step down next month after 32 years with the town government.

But other town government veterans are jumping into the race for mayor and the two Town Council seats that are to be filled in the May 7 municipal election.

Mayor Pro Tem Darryl G. Hale and Councilman James L. McCarron Jr. are vying for mayor. After a four-year hiatus, former Mayor Henry C. Heine Jr. is running for council.

"We've got a lot of work to be done," Flickinger, 74, said. "But I think I've given my city enough and hope to still continue working for them."

Oliver L. Glass, an incumbent councilman who was appointed to fill a vacant seat about eight months ago, is facing three challengers for the two council seats available in this election. The two with the most votes are elected.

Glass, 61, is a retired car salesman who owns several downtown Taneytown buildings.

Also in the council race are newcomers Carl E. Ebaugh, a retired car salesman and a former Carroll County Republican Central Committee member, and Gene A. Burdette, the co-director of a touring hip-hop dance production who moved from Annapolis to Taneytown three years ago.

Like much of Carroll County, Taneytown faces water shortages that threaten to hamper development. The town of 5,500 residents has more vacant industrial land than any other Carroll municipality. Most of the candidates want to promote commercial development that would create jobs and add tax revenue.

Building a bypass around Taneytown could further that development, some candidates said.

Hale said a bypass would "take the heavy truck traffic" off Main Street. But McCarron was more cautious about using the word "bypass," which he said indicates a project of great size and expense. He said he prefers to call the desired project "an extension of Antrim Boulevard."

Updating the town's 1950s-era water infrastructure -- though it may cost millions of dollars -- and repairing leaky water mains are priorities for several candidates.

McCarron hopes that the state will increase the amount of water that Taneytown can draw from existing wells, since he said the town sits atop a large aquifer.

The candidates are divided on the ordinance that made English the official language of Taneytown. Immigrant advocates condemned the measure, which was approved in November and received national attention.

McCarron, who voted against the English-only ordinance, called it a non-issue and a political ploy. Hale, who is president of the Carroll County Council of Governments, supported the measure. Glass also voted for the ordinance.

As the father of two young daughters, Burdette, 33, said he hopes to represent the newer families in Taneytown, attract more businesses and require landlords to more thoroughly check the backgrounds of new tenants.

Ebaugh, 63, said he would rein in "mushrooming development" to retain Taneytown's Main Street character. He would also beef up the Police Department to further curb drug problems and related crime.

Heine, 60, said he misses his work on the Town Council, which he first joined in 1989.

He said he opposes pending property annexations that would further strain the town's water resources. Recycling treated wastewater is a project Heine had pressed with the state in the past and one that he said he would revive.

As a downtown landlord, Glass said that Main Street revitalization is a key issue. "Our downtown is coming back," he said, but there is still more work to be done.

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