Havre de Grace's 2013 election brought back plenty of familiar faces Tuesday night, and Steve Gamatoria's waterfront property was approved by a more than 2-to-1 margin for purchase by the city.
Mayor Wayne Dougherty easily beat challenger Jim Miller for re-election, with 994 votes to Miller's 566.
Incumbents Randy Craig and John Correri secured their council seats with 1,054 votes and 907 votes, respectively.
Fred Cullum, a former councilman who was voted out last year, also won this time with 861 votes.
The voter turnout, meanwhile, was very low. Only 1,584 ballots were cast, out of 9,008 registered voters in the city this year.
The referendum question on Gamatoria's property, near the Concord Point Lighthouse which the city wants to use for open space, was easily approved, 1,098 votes to 458.
Gamatoria, who watched as the results were announced, said he was surprised it won so handily.
"I didn't think it would pass by that big of a margin," he said, noting he thinks people saw the "intrinsic value" of turning that property into public waterfront.
About losing to the incumbent mayor, Jim Miller said at least he tried.
"I guess the people were happy with what's been going on," he said. "I think I ran a decent campaign. We didn't do any dirty campaigning. I think we tried to do what was right."
Dougherty, meanwhile, was hugging everybody and glad to be back on top.
He said all the candidates, including Barnes and Greene, got good results.
"I have done this many times, but I always have those butterflies at the end of the meeting [before the results come]," he noted. "I felt good but not overly confident. What this tells me is that people like what they see, they like what's going on."
Craig had similar thoughts.
"I think people are generally pleased with the direction the city's moving in," he said, adding he was glad to see "some talented, enthusiastic" candidates compete in a good race.
"I think that says a lot about the community spirit in Havre de Grace," he said.
Cullum is glad to be returning to the dais after a year off.
"I am thrilled to be back," he said with a smile. "The time off gave me a chance to reflect on things a little and go back to work."
Many of those who voted Tuesday evening said they wanted the city to buy the Gamatoria property.
"I want the city to preserve it. I grew up here in this town and all the public waterfront is disappearing," Andy McIntyre, of Stokes Street, said, explaining he has lived in Havre de Grace since 1974.
He said he still sails and goes fishing, and he thinks an expanded waterfront would encourage that.
"It's just nice to have that open space for people," he said. "A lot of the view of the river has been restricted."
Another referendum supporter was Harford County Executive and Havre de Grace resident David Craig, who voted shortly after 7 p.m.
"I am 100 percent in favor of buying as much waterfront property as possible," Craig, a former Havre de Grace mayor, explained after casting his ballot. He declined to say who he supported for mayor.
Ron Lenzner, of Native Dancer Circle in Bulle Rock, has lived in the city for eight years and also voted for the waterfront.
"I think that was important. That's a long-term investment," Lenzner said.
Bernie and Michele Wimmers moved to Majestic Prince Circle in Bulle Rock within the past year. They were also big supporters of the Gamatoria property.
"I felt strongly about buying it," Bernie Wimmers said. "It's such a pretty waterfront, I would hate to see a condo go there or Burger King there."
Murray and Margaret Lawder disagreed. They thought the asking price for the property was too much.
"I want him to sell it to someone else," Murray Lawder said.
On the mayoral front, opinions seemed split but voters were not strongly against either one.
"I voted for Jim Miller, just for a change. I don't like to see too many politicians stay in office too long," McIntyre said, but noted he liked both Miller and Dougherty.
"Both were good," he said. "I think [Dougherty] has done good."
Lenzner did not vote for Dougherty, for the same reason.
"It just seems like it's good to have a change," he said. "I am not happy with the current policies."
The Lawders, who are part of the Lawder family that has lived in Havre de Grace for four generations, stuck with Dougherty.
"I think he's done a good job so far for the city," Murray Lawder said.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun