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Sharpsburg elects mayor, council

November 20, 1996

By BRENDAN KIRBY

Staff Writer

SHARPSBURG - Voters defeated four-term Town Councilman Donald Kable and elected two other familiar faces amid light turnout Tuesday.

Vice Mayor George Kesler, of 208 S. Church St., waltzed to victory with 107 votes in his unchallenged bid for mayor. Hal Spielman, who ran unsuccessfully four years ago for mayor, finished in first place with 92 of the 129 votes cast in the council race. Ralph Hammond, who has served on the council since 1972, was re-elected with 70 votes.

Newcomer Earl "Gene" Benner Jr. finished third with 45 votes. Kable received 37 votes. About 30 percent of Sharpsburg voters went to the polls, down from 65 percent two years ago, said Anna Jamison, head of the elections board.

The mayor gets paid $300 annually, plus $2 for each meeting. Council members get $30 each year and $2 for each meeting. The Council will have to appoint a replacement for Kesler, who held the vice mayor's position.

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Kable, who missed about half of the council's monthly meetings due to work, declined to speculate whether his attendance contributed to his defeat.

"I have no idea," he said. "I lost - that's the plain fact."

Spielman, of 114 E. Main St., said he wants to make sure workers finish the renovation of Main Street quickly.

"The major issue this year is to try to get the construction over with as quickly as possible and get the town back to normal," he said.

The project, slated to be finished next June, was spurred by a need to alleviate water drainage problems. It also includes resurfacing the street.

Hammond, part owner of Pete's Tavern in town, said he wants the project to be finished soon and wants to keep Sharpsburg a sleepy town.

"Keep it a rural village rather than a thriving metropolis," he said. "The other man, Spielman, thinks the way I do. So we should have a pretty good slate."

Kesler said he would focus on administrative tasks that have been allowed to "let slide" the last four years. The trash company, for instance, has been operating without a contract, he said.

"Some things over the last four years were let slide," Kesler said. "They were not administered efficiently."

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