Sykesville residents made their way through the heat to the polls Tuesday for a four-way Town Council election with the three seats going to Anna Carter, Jeremiah Schofield and Mark Dyer.
Carter, an incumbent, finished with 164 votes, Schofield with 134 and Dyer with 118, narrowly edging Jane Mergler, who finished with 111, to end a campaign that did not become as contentious as some of the other municipal races in Carroll.
Schofield said Tuesday night he was still grasping the reality of being a winning candidate.
“I’m very grateful to the voters that voted for me,” said Schofield. “I’m looking forward to serving the community. I’m very pleased but I’m also humbled. It’s still sinking in but what I hope is that I will be able to serve them well.”
Dyer said he wished everyone could have won and was honored to be elected.
“We’re sad that not everyone could win but we’re going to try to make the most of it to do what’s best for the town,” said Dyer. “I have to admit I was surprised that I won since Jane ran a very good campaign and I thought I would come in last, but I didn’t and I’m honored.”
Neither Carter nor Mergler could be reached after results were made official.
Turnout was somewhat better than the last Sykesville election that did not include a mayoral race as 164 voters cast their ballots in 2015. Shortly before the 8 p.m. closing of the polls, the town passed the 200 mark. Sykesville has 3,037 total eligible voters.
Candidates waved and talked to voters who approached them sitting underneath their big umbrellas trying to beat the heat and block out the sun.
Voter Christopher Scheller, who doesn’t “really do politics,” voted for Mark Dyer, Jeremiah Scofield and Anna Carter and hopes to see change in event control.
“Just keeping active with the festivals really,” said Scheller. “Try to figure out how to get it more controlled like the beer festival.”
The main things Schofield said he wants to address are holding onto his other positions and working on sidewalk repairs.
“If I am elected then one of the first things that’d I’d like to do, I’d like to actually request that I stay on as the liaison for the planning commission,” he said Tuesday afternoon. “There’s some important work that we’re doing right now. I’d also like to stay as the liaison for the steering committee for the connectivity group as well because there’s important work with putting together a study for connectivity of the residential area of town to the Main Street of town.
“There are key routes right now that do not have sidewalks for when kids walk to school and I would like to see that there are safe walkways for kids. There’s a lot of kids that walk to Sykesville Middle and I’d to see some additional sidewalks installed in order to do that.”
Carter also wants to address the sidewalk issue, but her focus is hiring a new town manager.
“I want to be a part of that process,” she said. “I want to make sure that we have a good fit for a town manager that sees how the future of Sykesville is going and making sure that that our vision is carried out.”
Hiring a town manager is also important to Dyer.
“[The town manager] are the day-to-day person. The council and the mayor set direction but the day-to-day person has to be the one to interface with the employees,” said Dyer. “You don’t want a council micromanaging a staff – that’s bad. The next thing I would say, is something I’ve been pushing and that is battery and e-waste recycling. I think our town provides a lot of good services and I think it’s well managed, but I do think that’s something we could, hopefully, find a way of helping.”
Like Dyer, his wife Nancy also wants to keep small town feel which is why she voted for him and two other candidates that she did not wish to disclose.
“I don’t want to see a whole lot of growth because I’ve seen other neighborhoods like Urbana that turned from a nice community to way too crowded. So, for me, that was one of the biggest issues.”
Voters Marc and Melissa Delbusso, who have been residents since 2001, cast their vote only for Jane Mergler saying she would offer balance to Sykesville and help bring in change.
“She is definitely a little bit, in my opinion, a little bit more fundamentally sound on what’s going on in the town as far as spending,” said Marc. “There’s been a lot of changes and we see a lot of building and maybe a decrease in infrastructure.”
“We have a son that went to Sykesville Middle and we were having issues with the whole crosswalk issue up there, the state and the condition of the road – just the safety of people not honoring stopping when pedestrians are crossing,” said Melissa. “I brought that down here to the town and didn’t really get much results. They said, basically, it’s a state highway, you got to deal with them. Jane took the time, came down here – before she was ever even planning on running – and really tried advocating for the kids in the neighborhood.”
One thing both liked about Mergler was her plan to make Sykesville greener. But Dyer edged Mergler for the final spot.
“My chances, I got to admit, I don’t think are that great but I’m optimistic,” said Dyer a few hours before the polls closed. “All four of us are dedicated to making the town a better place. This isn’t a situation where if I lose it’s the end of the world. I would like to win but if I don’t, it’s not the end of the world because the board will consist of good people in the new board as it is and the existing board. I am optimistic about the town whether I win or lose.”
The new members of the town council will be sworn in May 20.