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Current Smithsburg mayor, one council candidate have filed

March 21, 2006|by TIFFANY ARNOLD

SMITHSBURG

With less than two weeks left until the deadline, only two people have filed to run in Smithsburg's election, town officials said Monday.

The mayor's seat and two council seats are up for grabs in May. As of Monday afternoon, only the current mayor, Mildred "Mickey" Myers, and a newcomer running for council had officially filed for candidacy, said the town's clerk/treasurer/manager, Betsy Martin.

Councilman Ralph Regan has said he will run again but has not filed.

Councilman William Mills said he would not run this year because he's moving to Pennsylvania. Mills was appointed to the council in 2004 after another councilman resigned.

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The deadline to file is April 3. The election is May 9.

Dennis "Jack" Wenthe, 58, filed for office Friday, Martin said.

Wenthe, the current Smithsburg Lions Club president, is on the town's park commission and is a member of the Smithsburg Historical Society.

He said growth would be his main priority if he were elected to office.

"They want to stuff all these town houses and houses on our little pieces of land," Wenthe said. "Growth is good for the town, but at a moderate pace."

Wenthe, an Iowa native living in Whispering Hills, is a senior communications engineer for Electronics Data Systems.

At least two others had expressed a strong interest in running for council, Myers said. But Martin said Monday that none had filed with the town.

Myers said it was common for people to wait until the last minute to file.

"I don't know why," she said. "Especially because you need that time to be campaigning, especially if you're new."

There was at least one instance when a would-be incumbent council member missed the deadline to file for office, Myers said.

"We're a small town, but we follow the rules," she said. "We couldn't waive the rules because they missed the deadline."

Myers announced her candidacy March 7 during the town's council meeting.

The town's first female mayor, Myers is running unopposed for her third four-year term.

She served her first term from 1994-98, then lost to Tommy Bowers. Myers defeated Mike Rohrer to win a second term in 2002.

Growth will be the biggest issue in this election, town officials said.

Smithsburg is one of the fastest-growing areas in Washington County, according to recent U.S. Census data. The town's population, at 2,731 in 2004, has increased 21 percent since 2000.

Washington County's population grew about 5 percent during that time frame.

In order to keep up with growth, the town has hired a planner and two additional police officers. Town officials also are working on getting money for a second water tower to keep up with growing demand.

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