Shepherdstown mayor faces opposition in re-election bid

May 27, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Shepherdstown Mayor Jim Auxer and a retired health-care professional will square off in the race for mayor in Shepherdstown's election next Tuesday.

Auxer said he is running because he wants to follow through on a number of issues facing the town, such as annexation pressure. His competitor, Peter Wilson, said issues relating to police protection, parking and general workings of town government need to be re-examined.

The town's recorder position and five council seats also will be on the ballot.

Council member Cynthia Cook is running unopposed for recorder. The current recorder, Judith Kernek, is not running.

Six people are running for council: incumbents Howard Mills and Mark W. Smith and newcomers Hank Willard, Jim Ford, Wanda Grantham Smith and Karen Valentine. Council members James Cooper and Ray Eshelman are not seeking re-election.


Although the election is Tuesday, town residents can vote early until Saturday, town clerk Amy L. Boyd said.

Today and Friday, town residents can vote from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Town Hall on King Street, Boyd said. Early voting will be offered on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon, Boyd said.

On Tuesday, all voting is conducted at town hall between 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Jim Auxer

Auxer, 57, of 108 E. New St., said he is seeking re-election because he is interested in continuing work on a number of projects and issues, including pressure to expand the town.

Auxer said there have been requests to annex property to the town from people interested in developing the areas. By annexing the areas into the town, the areas could benefit from city services such as snow removal and police protection, said Auxer, who is seeking his third, two-year term.

Before the town moves ahead with any annexations, Auxer said he wants to get some professional input on the issue.

Among the issues to be considered are establishing a growth boundary for the town and developing an annexation policy, Auxer said.

Other issues Auxer said he wants to follow through on include renovating and possibly expanding the city's wastewater treatment plant, which has aging equipment.

Auxer works for Prime Care Medical, which offers mental health services to inmates in jails in West Virginia and Maryland.

Peter Wilson

Wilson, 60, of 204 S. King St., said the operation of the Shepherdstown Police Department is among the issues that need to be addressed. Wilson said many people in town believe the police department does not respect them and some business owners feel the police department does not understand them.

Although many of the feelings may be based on erroneous assumptions, "the perception is a problem enough," Wilson said.

One way to address the issue is for the council and mayor to present the police department with a clear mission, Wilson said. Wilson said town government often doesn't try to gauge public interest in issues and when town officials take action on an issue, they often do not give any grounds for how they arrived at the decision, said Wilson, who also said he wants to have more town forums.

Wilson said parking needs and traffic flow patterns need to be re-examined, especially in light of increasing numbers of people visiting the town.

Wilson moved to Shepherdstown about five years ago after retiring as vice president for policy development at the American Hospital Association, based in Washington, D.C.

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