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Taneytown election: City Council candidates make their case for votes

The Taneytown election is set for Monday, May 3, taking place at the Taneytown police station, 120 E. Baltimore Street, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Three four-year City Council seats are at stake. Barbara Cook and incumbents Diane Foster, Judith Fuller and Joe Vigliotti are the candidates. Their unedited replies to questions emailed to candidates in all municipal elections are printed below.

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Barbara Cook

Barbara Cook
Barbara Cook

Biographical information: I feel that I am qualified for being on the Council because of my work in a large Suburban church in Howard County. I was a member for over 25 years and held the following offices during that time: Chairperson of the Board, Trustee, Conference Delegate to the Balto.-Wash. Conference, Women’s Group Co-Chair, Choir member (over 22 yrs ), Pastor-parish Relations, Chair.

Why do you want to serve in this role? I will already be into the job. I have two things going and in the works. If I am not elected, most likely it will be rejected by the Council. I have a 40-50 year plan that I would like to see implemented right away and then go for the long term. I believe and know that I can get this going, as I have done it before. I have written a book as proof. With pictures.

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What is something you want to begin working to accomplish your first week on the job? As for the first week, I will share that plan with the Council and ONLY them. They may need a bit of time to mull over the implications.

How has your municipality in particular been affected by COVID-19 and what you like to see done to help in recovery? COVID will be COVID and we just need to keep on keeping on. This too will end.

What is the best thing about your municipality and what is something you’d like to see change? I see Taneytown as sleeping at this time. I feel that I can wake it up and also keep the History that it now has. For Taneytown, as I see it, “the best is yet to come.”

What skills do you have to offer constituents that other candidates might not? I have held several offices in a large church in the suburban D.C. area when it was in change from agriculture to Suburban. There were two factions that did not see eye to eye. I held the office of Chairlady of the Board. Most of the time I worked as a facilitator to keep Peace.

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Diane Foster

Diane Foster
Diane Foster (Submitted photo)

Biographical information: I’m a Baltimore native. My husband and I moved to Taneytown in November 2006. I retired from the Social Security Administration (SSA) in 2007 where I worked on policy-making staffs and later moved to the Office of Public Affairs and Communications. In this position I served as SSA’s liaison to the Baltimore City Mayor’s Office. Additionally I served on various interagency workgroups and partnership councils with the Governor’s office and the White House. I was first elected to the Taneytown City Council in 2009. I have served as Mayor Tem for the last 3 years.

Why do you want to serve in this role? I have always enjoyed public service. I consider serving on the Taneytown City Council a public service. I enjoy living in Taneytown and want to do all that I can to effectuate its being a wonderful place to live, work, and raise a family.

What is something you want to begin working to accomplish your first week on the job? If re-elected my first week on the job will be the continuation of the work that is near and dear to my heart — economic development. I am presently liaison to the Economic Development Department. I am anxious to get our economy back up and running by ensuring that our struggling businesses get all of the government assistance available to them. As businesses are able to resume, I want to entice new “niche” businesses to Taneytown.

How has your municipality in particular been affected by COVID-19 and what you like to see done to help in recovery Taneytown, like many other municipalities has suffered economically. With that social interaction such as family events in our parks, Lions Club events, Firemen’s Carnivals, bowling, etc., has suffered. Recovery will happen with cooperation from everyone adhering to the advise of the Carroll County Health Officer and the Centers for Disease Control. Plan for and get your vaccination. We are all in this together and together will all recover from it.

What is the best thing about your municipality and what is something you’d like to see change? The best thing about Taneytown is its people. We truly are a small town with a big heart! I’d like to see Taneytown evolve into a “Destination Spot”

What skills do you have to offer constituents that other candidates might not? I have communications and leadership skills gained from my career with the federal government. I have involved myself around the county and the municipalities by serving on the County Economic Development Commission; Carroll Community College Board of Trustees; Human Services Program Board of Directors; and the MML Board of Directors.

Judith Fuller

Judith Fuller
Judith Fuller

Biographical information: I am originally from Silver Spring, MD but I have lived in several states, including Texas. I have lived in Taneytown for over 18 years with my 3 children and now with my husband of 5 years. I am self-employed and currently serve on the City Council and Planning Commission as liaison.

Why do you want to serve in this role? I have a drive to problem solve and to serve my community. I was a firefighter for 8 years and wanted to continue to give back.

What is something you want to begin working to accomplish your first week on the job? As a current member, I would like to continue working on finding ways to make our city more prepared for the future both financially and substantively.

How has your municipality in particular been affected by COVID-19 and what you like to see done to help in recovery Covid has obviously hurt all small businesses, but we have and will continue to work towards finding financial assistance as well as looking ahead to assist in keeping them open and helping other businesses to open and prosper.

What is the best thing about your municipality and what is something you’d like to see change? Although Taneytown has over 6500 people, we are still able to maintain a small town feel. I’d like to keep that factor regardless of our population. As far as change, I wish we could find ways to make our citizens more engaged and involved. I think that would go a long way to offer more resources and opportunities for all.

What skills do you have to offer constituents that other candidates might not? I have a drive to learn, research and experiment to find effective and efficient solutions for issues. Status quo is not enough.

Joe Vigliotti

Joe Vigliotti
Joe Vigliotti (XX)

Biographical information: I’m originally from Long Island, New York. I’ve lived in Taneytown since 1996. I am a writer and graphic designer. And I’ve served on the City Council of Taneytown since 2013.

Why do you want to serve in this role? Because I love this community, love serving, and love making a difference. We’ve managed to pay down a third of our debt, cut water and sewer rates, have not raised taxes, we’ve backed our police who have helped keep us in the top 10 safest cities in the state, and we’ve enacted family-friendly and business-friendly policies and zoning. I want to continue to help deliver these kinds of successes.

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What is something you want to begin working to accomplish your first week on the job? I’ll be pursuing adding at least one additional officer to the Taneytown Police Department, and more depending on census results.

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How has your municipality in particular been affected by COVID-19 and what you like to see done to help in recovery? Everyone has been affected by the pandemic in some way. In Taneytown, we managed to continue offering citizens a range of services and support. Our employees, from the city offices and departments to utilities crews to the police, never ceased their work, and they deserve tremendous credit for their commitment to the community. Likewise, the Mayor and Council determined that we would continue to meet to ensure the continuity of local government and that necessary decisions could be made. We are grateful to Carroll County’s commissioners for a grant we received which helped us to continue on with our meetings; and any funding which municipalities can use for the benefit of their residents in any capacity is important.

What is the best thing about your municipality and what is something you’d like to see change? The best thing about Taneytown is that you feel at home no matter where you are, that the best of who we are as Americans matters here on a daily basis. It’s something better experienced than explained. Meanwhile, we are working to further develop and improve our parks – and this is essential for a family-friendly community. For example, in May, we’re set to begin some major work on pathways and basketball courts at Robert’s Mill Park, and we have other parks, such as Bollinger, awaiting further development.

What skills do you have to offer constituents that other candidates might not? I have nothing unkind to say about any of my fellow candidates, but can say that each of us have strengths, areas of interest, and areas of expertise. Personally, my time as council liaison to the police, my time on council itself, my involvement in the community, my education and work background, and knowing enough to know I don’t know everything and being unafraid to ask questions, are some of the things which I draw from when making decisions and which make me effective as a councilman.

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