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Two to face off in Shepherdstown mayoral race

March 27, 2006|by DAVE McMILLION

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - A local home builder who specializes in construction of custom homes in Jefferson County and a former mayor interested in issues such as a renovation of the town's sewer plant will face off in the race for mayor in Shepherdstown's town election June 6.

Town residents will choose between Lance Dom and Jim Auxer in the mayoral race and pick from a field of eight candidates to fill five seats on the town council.

Mayor Peter Wilson has decided not to run again for mayor and will instead run for a seat on the town council, town officials said.

Jim Ford, Howard Mills, Mark Smith and Wanda Grantham Smith are running for re-election to the council. Other candidates are Maura Balliett, John Meeker and Frank Salzano.

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Incumbent Cindy Cook will face Debora Harding in the race for recorder.

The elected positions are two-year terms. The mayor's salary is $2,000 a year, the recorder's salary is $1,500 a year and council members earn $1,200 a year, town officials said.

Polling will be conducted between 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the Entler Hotel on German Street.

Dom, 56, of 203 W. German St., said he decided to run for mayor after Wilson and others in town asked him to run. Dom said he has been on governing boards before and has been a member of the town's planning commission for close to a year.

Dom, who has lived in town since 1994, said he realizes he will be facing a steep learning curve if he is elected.

"It's a small town, but it's not a job to be taken lightly," Dom said.

Dom said he thinks some of the important issues revolve around parking, the busy four-way stop in town and improving the village's streetscape. While there are issues in town, Dom said he also thinks it is important that people not get too wrapped up in them or go too far in one direction.

As far as the government is concerned, it should remain as "transparent as possible" as issues are worked out, Dom said.

Auxer, 59, of 108 E. New St., was first elected mayor in 2000 and won re-election in 2002. He lost a re-election bid in 2002.

Auxer said he is running again because he plans to be a town resident for the rest of his life and feels a responsibility in helping the town deal with its "trials and tribulations."

Auxer said he believes the town needs to move ahead with a renovation of its sewer plant to meet new pollution standards and look at possibly expanding the water plant.

The town's streetscape also is important to Auxer and said he thinks the priority should be in addressing the condition of the town's sidewalks. It is important not only for safety but because of appearance, Auxer said.

While Auxer said there are needs in the town, it is also important to hold the line on spending as much as possible to protect people on fixed incomes from higher taxes.

Auxer, who works as a mental health representative in correctional facilities, said it is also important to have open government and take strides to allow input from residents.

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