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Candidates for Shepherdstown mayor outline platforms

Mathews focuses on citizen input; Auxer on balancing budget

Mathews focuses on citizen input; Auxer on balancing budget

May 29, 2008|By DAVE McMILLION

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.VA. -- A Shepherdstown election season that has seen a "little extra craziness" this year will end Tuesday when town voters will select a mayor, five council members and a recorder.

Mayor Lance Dom, who will run against John D. Meeker for recorder rather than running for mayor again, said there is always lively discussion about politics in town.

But issues are more heated this year, Dom said.

Among the issues this year was when council members in February supported a recommendation by Dom that the town's zoning officer, John Mathews, be dismissed after Dom said there had been problems with Mathews acting in a condescending and arrogant manner in town hall.

Dom said the situation caused employees at the town hall building on King Street to be angry and fearful.

A number of people spoke in Mathews' defense the night he was removed from his job, saying that Mathews was talented and knowledgeable of the town's building laws.

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Mathews is running for mayor, competing against council member Jim Auxer.

Terms for the offices are two years and the pay for mayor is $2,000 a year. Council members and the recorder earn $1,200.

Running for the five council seats are incumbents Wanda Grantham Smith, Howard Mills and Stuart Wallace. The other candidates are Mason Waleski, Thomas Martin, Lori Robertson and Chris Crawford.

Polls will be open Tuesday from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Entler Hotel at the corner of German and Princess Streets. Early voting at town hall has been under way and will continue today and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. On Saturday, the last day for early voting, the hours will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Mathews' platform

Mathews, 51, of 304 W. German St., Apt. 2, said he has not talked much in his campaign about his job termination.

"The council was basically misled," Mathews said of the situation.

Mathews said he wants citizens to have more input on town issues and that perhaps a blog, among other approaches, can be used to facilitate input from citizens.

Mathews said he realizes many candidates talk about more citizen input, "but I'm dead serious about it. It just seems like the town has fallen asleep."

Mathews said he supports a sewer plant upgrade, wants more emphasis on drinking water quality, continued work on a planned streetscape project and more parking, which can be tight with residents and Shepherd University students competing for spaces.

Mathews said he thinks the town could work with the university on possibly building a parking garage behind Shepherd's White Hall.

Mathews also wants to protect the town from suburban sprawl and wants to continue work on blasting regulations to protect the historic town.

"I think I can do a lot for this town."

Auxer's platform

Auxer, 61, of 108 E. New St., was mayor from 2000-04 and is filling out a council vacancy. Auxer is town magistrate and street commissioner.

Auxer said he has always had a bond with the town since attending Shepherd from 1965-69.

Auxer said it is important for the town to balance its budget without overly relying on Charles Town Races & Slots revenue, which may not always be available.

There are limited revenue sources for the town and Auxer said it is important to hold the line on spending, especially in light of rising costs for fuel, insurance and electricity.

It is also important to control spending to protect residents on fixed incomes, Auxer said.

Although Shepherdstown is a small town, Auxer said it has services like a bigger city when the town's police department, garbage disposal services and its water and sewer plant are considered.

"There's quite a large agenda for a town our size," said Auxer, who also supports protecting the town's historic district, the streetscape project and improvements to the water and sewer plants.

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