- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Five incumbents are hoping they will once again be chosen to serve as one of six Chesapeake Beach Town Council members in this year’s election.
Incumbents Robert E. Carpenter, Pat Mahoney, Stewart Cumbo, Valerie Beaudin and Julie Spano are running for re-election Nov. 6.
Carpenter said his first four years serving as a member of the town council have been exciting, frustrating and eventful, but there are still things that need to be done, of which he believes he can be an effective part.
Carpenter said the town is facing a number of significant issues, including determining appropriate water and sewer rates, the enhanced nutrient removal upgrade of the wastewater treatment plant, moving forward with construction of a skateboard park and repairing the water park.
“We have an aging water park and we’re going to need some repairs, and I think we’re going to need to prioritize,” Carpenter said. He said creating a priority list of what needs to be done is the “main area” the town needs to “get a handle on” as the town prepares to take on significant expenditures and projects.
Carpenter said he hopes the town continues to move forward with plans for construction of a skateboard park because he “would love to see that finished and opened in my next term, should I be re-elected.”
“I don’t take the position lightly at all,” he said. “I spend a great deal of time preparing and being prepared for the issues, and I would respectfully ask for the opportunity to serve another term.”
Running for what would be his fifth term as town council member, Mahoney said he enjoys serving the town citizens and his priority focus for the next four years, if re-elected, would be fiscal responsibility and small business growth.
Mahoney said he is concerned about suggestions for “an unbalanced growth for our future,” including high rise growth on the Chesapeake Bay and annexation, rather than small business growth to keep the “small town charm.”
The water park is now at the point where it not only serves town residents but also out-of-town visitors, and Mahoney said steps need to be taken to repair the water park.
Mahoney said if re-elected, he would work to accomplish a balanced budget for the town and a zoning ordinance to help preserve “our small town feel.” He said he also would work to create a fair utility rate budget.
“We need a water and sewage rate that is fair for everybody, not one where the largest commercial user in town pays 25 percent of what the average citizen does for his water,” Mahoney said.
As a council member who was instrumental in the town receiving the Maryland Municipal League’s banner city award, improving Kellams Field, building a nature trail and beautifying the town, Cumbo said he is running for re-election to stay active in town politics and positively represent the town.
“I feel I have a good rapport with state legislators and I participate in local community, state and national politics,” he said, adding that serving on the National League of Cities committee has allowed him to effectively provide a voice for the town.
Cumbo said he also has been involved in installing generators at the wastewater treatment plant, using the supervisory control and data acquisition program to monitor control and alarms at the wastewater treatment plant, building new water towers and strengthening the resident deputy program.
If re-elected, Cumbo said he would continue to strive for preservation of “our small town atmosphere” and advocate for the town’s public safety.
Cumbo said his goals for the next four years are to avoid tax and utility rate increases by ensuring fiscal responsibility and stability. He said he also wants to add services and amenities to the community, promote excellence in education and extend the boardwalk from Chesapeake Village to Beach Elementary School.
Beaudin said since there is “a bit of a learning curve” with being a council member, she thinks she has the experience necessary to provide a level of leadership and knowledge about issues the town is facing and is running for re-election to continue her volunteer service with the town. Beaudin said sometimes there are “uncomfortable choices that need to be made” that she does not mind making to get things done properly.
An important area Beaudin said she is concerned with is high density development within the town. She said she does “not favor annexation, for example, behind Chesapeake Village,” and believes a direct result of “too much growth too quickly” is overcrowding at Beach Elementary School. Beaudin said the county, the town and its residents should work together to find an equitable solution to prevent more overcrowding at the school.
“What I’m hoping for is that we stay the Town of Chesapeake Beach and don’t turn into the City of Chesapeake Beach,” she said.
The town needs to come up with a fair water and sewer rate, Beaudin said, because currently, “the lightest users are subsidizing the heaviest users.” She said she has drafted her own rate system and hopes the utility rate commission reviews and considers her option.
“That’s the sort of experience where you understand the problem and try to move it forward,” she said.
Spano said one of the main reasons she is running for what would be her second term as a council member is because she is concerned about the education and welfare of the children in the community. The town and county governments need to work in conjunction to figure out a way the elementary school can accept the increased student population, Spano said.
“You can’t just build and worry about the kids later,” she said. “That’s a priority for [me].”
Spano said she does not support town gambling and expansion or the annexation of property because it leads to increased building within the town, which would impact the town’s schools and roads. She said she “absolutely want[s] to make sure [annexation] does not happen.”
The current water and sewer rate structure “puts the burden on the backs of the residential citizens” because the commercial rates are reduced, Spano said. She said if re-elected, she will work to make sure the rates are “equitable between commercial and residential users.”
Spano also said she wants to “keep the small town charm” of Chesapeake Beach.
“I don’t want to have this turn into a small city,” she said of the town. “I want it to remain the quaint little town that it is. I don’t want a gambling driven economy.”
Jeff Krahling, David Hendry, Jeffrey LaBar, Eric Reinhardt, Gail C. Harris, Frank W. Purdy and Wes Donovan are also running for one of the six council seats. The first six people to receive the highest number of votes will be elected as council members.
There will not be a primary election. Town elections will be from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 6 at the Northeast Community Center, 4075 G. Stinnett Blvd. To vote, a person must be a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years old, a town resident and registered to vote in the town.