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Smithsburg council candidates focus on downtown, growth

May 05, 2008|By HEATHER KEELS

SMITHSBURG -- Four Smithsburg residents are running for three seats on the Smithsburg Town Council in the May 13 election. Below are profiles of each candidate and their priorities for the town.

Councilwoman Shirley D. Aurand has been a Smithsburg resident since 1973 and lives on East Water Street. She joined the council in 2003 to fill out a term and was elected to a four-year term in 2004.

Aurand, 73, said her priority as a councilwoman is to keep growth to a minimum in order to preserve the town's character, and to avoid overburdening the schools, police, roads and utilities.

In October, Aurand voted against annexing a 63-acre site southeast of Smithsburg where a developer planned to build 90 homes.

She said she would also like to see more businesses open in the town and more participation from residents at meetings.

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Aurand is retired from a career at the Smithsburg Post Office, where she worked from 1973 until 1997. She is president of the local chapter of National Active and Retired Federal Employees. She also is vice president of the local council of Seniors and Law Enforcement Together (SALT) and past president of the local chapter of the AARP.

She serves on the Smithsburg Parks and Improvement Committee and leads the Smithsburg Hometown Christmas event.

Councilman Jerome Martin has been a Smithsburg resident since 1984 and lives on West Water Street. He said he is running for re-election to a third term on the council to see a curbside recycling initiative through and pursue several other ideas for improving the town.

Martin, 60, said he would like to look into revitalizing the downtown area, which he said is underutilized.

"I think the goal would be ... to try to make the downtown a viable entity where people would shop and increase the tax base instead of looking to continue annexing properties in," Martin said.

Another of his priorities would be to establish a process by which budget items exceeding $10,000 would be automatically rebid every few years for cost-efficiency.

Martin was first elected to the Smithsburg Town Council in 2000. He played a pivotal role in getting the town's library moved to Veterans Park during his first term and helped get a recycling bin put behind the town's fire hall in 2006.

Martin owns the Smithsburg-based Mar-Cal Construction Co. and is a member of Habitat for Humanity. He is a former president of the Washington County Home Builders Association.

Debbie Mooney has been a Smithsburg resident for nine years and lives on Clopper Avenue. She said she is running for the council because she wants to preserve Smithsburg's small-town feel in the face of growth.

"I love this town and I want to help it grow in the right direction," she said.

Mooney, 52, ran unsuccessfully for a Town Council seat in 2004.

She said her priority as a councilwoman would be to serve the people in whatever ways they need. She also hopes to encourage greater citizen participation in council meetings and other town issues.

Mooney is a nursing supervisor at a long-term-care facility and serves as youth director for the United Methodist Church Youth Fellowship.

Mooney serves on the Citizens Police Advisory Committee of Smithsburg and has been active in planning town events such as Smithsburg Pride Days, Old Tyme Christmas and the memorial service for Smithsburg Police Officer Christopher Nicholson.

She is married to a United Methodist pastor and has two grown sons in the military.

Donnie Souders Jr. moved to Smithsburg two years ago from Hagerstown and lives on Douglas Court West. He said he sees this election as important because the town is in a period of transition.

"You hear about old Smithsburg and new Smithsburg," he said. "I want to create one Smithsburg and plan out for the future beyond the next four years."

He said his priorities would include economic development, revitalizing the downtown area and improving infrastructure.

Souders, 34, is a sales manager for tobacco company Sweedish Match North America and serves as treasurer of Washington County's Democratic Central Committee. He ran unsuccessfully for the Hagerstown City Council in 2005.

"I have a passion for government and politics, and helping people," Souders said, adding that his contacts with state and county officials would be an asset to the town.

Souders also serves as co-president of the Jaycees of Hagerstown, a youth leadership organization, and has served on the Smithsburg Parks and Improvement committees.

If you go



What: Smithsburg Town Council election

When: May 13

Where: Town Hall

Polls open: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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