Smithsburg town election, hiring more police and new library on tap

January 04, 2006|by TIFFANY ARNOLD

The Town of Smithsburg's 2006 forecast includes a multimillion dollar library, spring elections and two new police officers.

The Smithsburg Town Council held its first regular meeting of the year Tuesday evening.

The past year seems quiet in comparison to what's in store for Smithsburg this year, officials said.

Here's what's on tap for 2006:

  • The mayor and two council members are up for election this spring. Mayor Mildred "Mickey" Myers and councilman Ralph Regan said they planned to run for re-election this year.

    There's an empty seat up for grabs, as councilman William Mills will not run for another term. Mills has purchased a home in Pennsylvania.

    "I would have run again if I weren't moving," Mills said.

    Town manager Betsy Martin said no one had filed to run as of Tuesday.

    Myers, the only female mayor in the town's 165-year history, will be running for her third four-year term. Myers served on the town council from 1986-90 and as mayor from 1994-98.


Myers, a republican, lost her re-election bid in 1998 to Tommy Bowers.

After failed campaigns for Washington County Board of Education and Smithsburg Town Council, Myers was re-elected in 2002.

Myers said key issues this election will be controlling annexation and reworking the town's comprehensive plan.

Regan, who is running for another four-year term, won one of two open seats in 2002, beating write-in candidate Charlie Slick, a former Smithsburg councilman.

  • Smithsburg will hire two more police officers this year, for a total of four officers - including the chief.

    Christopher Nicholson of Hagerstown was officially hired Tuesday, but Chief Michael Potter said he won't hit the streets until August, after he's completed the Western Maryland Police Academy.

    Potter declined to give the name of the second candidate but said he was from Clear Spring and would officially start work Feb. 6.

    Both officers will officially be sworn in Feb. 7, Potter said.

    Potter said the town has had difficulty competing with other police agencies in the county, which pay more. Smithsburg officers' starting salaries are about $28,000, which is about $5,000 less than the county average, Potter said.

    Potter said he plans to include a salary increase in his budget request for next year.

    Budget requests for the 2006-07 budget year are due Feb. 1. The new budget begins July 1, Martin said.

  • Myers said the town's new $1.6 million library is on schedule to open in May.

    The town broke ground on the library in August 2005.

    The current library, which has about 2,000 cardholders, is about the size of a two-bedroom apartment and has a bathroom in the storage closet.

    The new library will be about 8,742 square feet.

    "You can almost put the current library in one room of the new library," Myers said.

    The town plans to lease the current building, which was a 1920s prison, to the Smithsburg Historical Society. The Historical Society plans to use the building as a museum, Myers said.

  • The Washington County Commissioners recently approved the town's request to name its Town Center as a "redevelopment area." Under a county ordinance, businesses don't have to pay excise taxes if they decide to redevelop a building in a place the town defines as a "redevelopment" area.

    The council agreed to name Smithsburg's Town Center as a redevelopment area during its November meeting. Council members hope the move will lure more businesses downtown.

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