Rusty Rill, Sr., left, shows his granddaughter Alivia Wachtel around the voting booth with help from voting machine technician Matt Conolly, right, before voting in the Taneytown municipal election Monday, May 6, 2019.
Rusty Rill, Sr., left, shows his granddaughter Alivia Wachtel around the voting booth with help from voting machine technician Matt Conolly, right, before voting in the Taneytown municipal election Monday, May 6, 2019. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

Taneytown Councilman Bradley Wantz will have a new job and a new title starting Monday, May 13: mayor.

Wantz defeated incumbent Mayor James McCarron in a four-way race, with Wantz receiving 432 votes to McCarron’s 351 votes. Paul Chamberlain, who had previously served on the city council from 2005 to 2009, received 165 votes, while current councilman Donald Frazier received 76 votes.

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Taneytown mayor candidate profile: Bradley Wantz

Ahead of this spring’s municipal elections, the Carroll County Times has asked candidates to provide information on themselves and their priorities. Here are the responses from Taneytown City Councilman Bradley Wantz.

Wantz had been serving on the Taneytown council since 2015.

“I am absolutely thrilled that people supported the vision I put out and that they have chosen a new generation of Taneytown’s leadership,” Wantz said in an interview Monday evening. “I think it’s past due and I am excited to go past the status quo and move on to make Taneytown a better place.”

McCarron did not return calls for a comment by 9 p.m.

In the council race for the two seats being vacated by Wantz and Frazier, Daniel Haines and Darryll Hale came out the victors, with 767 and 571 ballots cast for each, respectively. Barry Guckes received 485 votes.

Clara Kalman, Taneytown city clerk, confirmed the vote totals.

More than 400 Taneytown residents had cast ballots in Monday’s municipal election by 12:45 p.m., and by the time the polls closed at 7 p.m., that total had risen to 1,036 ballots, according to Kalman. That’s out of 4,405 active registered voters.

“A nice turnout, 24%, it looks like,” said James Wieprecht, Taneytown’s acting city manager. “That’s pretty strong, at least from what we’ve seen in recent years.”

For comparison, there were 714 ballots cast in the 2015 election, and just 570 cast in 2013, according to Kalman.

“I was going into this hoping we would break 1,000 in a municipal election,” Wantz said. “It was almost 25% of voters in the city, and that’s so exciting that they care about and have a passion to see the city improve.”

Many of those casting ballots during the afternoon had cited an interest in a change of leadership.

Electioneers and candidates greet voters behind the Taneytown Police Station during the city's election Monday, May 6, 2019.
Electioneers and candidates greet voters behind the Taneytown Police Station during the city's election Monday, May 6, 2019. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

For Tarah Myers, who brought her daughters Aubry, 6, and Emilyn, 4, along with her to cast her ballot, getting some “young blood” in office was important.

“We need some change,” she said, candidates who will focus on the core things people want, “between the water bills, the parks, not having a lot of stuff necessarily for the youth of the communities.”

Myers said she would really like to see improvements to parks and fields.

“Memorial Park is decent, but I think people forget there’s the skate park, which has some fields, and they are just not — some of the benches are coming apart,” she said. “The fields aren’t kept up as nice, which is shame because we have so many people doing sports.”

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Councilman-elect Haines is the living embodiment of “young blood” — at 21 years old, he is, he believes, perhaps the youngest person to win election to the city council. Reached by phone Monday, he said receiving the public trust was “deeply humbling.”

“I have certainly had a fair share of criticism about it, and some of that criticism is valid,” Haines said of his youth in an interview Monday evening. “But the way that I see it is Taneytown is going to be my home for the foreseeable future and a lot of the outcomes of the decisions that our government makes are going to affect young people more than anyone else, so we should be part of those decisions.”

Improving and growing parks, and in particular baseball diamonds, was a key issue for Rusty Rill Sr. as well, as he cast his ballot around 1 p.m. Monday.

Tarah Myers and her daughters Aubri, 6, and Emilyn, 4, right, say hello to election judge Bill Kennedy while getting checked in to vote in the Taneytown city election Monday, May 6, 2019.
Tarah Myers and her daughters Aubri, 6, and Emilyn, 4, right, say hello to election judge Bill Kennedy while getting checked in to vote in the Taneytown city election Monday, May 6, 2019. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

“It would be nice to see some new ball fields and a rec center for the young people,” he said.

Rill has lived in Taneytown for almost 50 years and said that he believes it is his civic duty to come out and vote.

“I think that the local elections are much more important than the big presidential elections, because it feels like my vote counts more in a city election,” he said. “I make sure that I always vote on these.”

Chris Cheswick was another voter Monday afternoon who expressed desire for a change in leadership in town, citing what he felt was stagnant economic development.

“I’ve been here 10 years and I don’t see much happening, the development is virtually non-existent,” he said. “I think we need new leadership in this town and Bradley Wantz and Daniel Haines would be the perfect example for just that. I’m a big believer in term limits.”

That was how Hale read the political situation as well, he said in an interview Monday evening, a Taneytown ready to make some changes.

“There was a lot of energy in this election,” he said. “You had a mayor who has done a good job for a number of years, but you had other people who wanted to see a new approach to city government.”

Hale said he is looking forward to getting to work on the city business, finding a permanent city manager, and new police chief, and one of those items for the youth that voters cited as well — a rec center.

“I want a community center in Taneytown — and soon,” Hale said. “I am going to make this happen first term and get this rolling.”

The new mayor and councilmen will get their opportunity to go to work soon — the city council meeting scheduled for May 13 will be a hybrid meeting, according to Wieprecht, beginning with one set of elected officials, and ending with another.

“This coming Monday, the currently sitting council will conduct most of the evening’s business up to the point of new business, which is in the bottom third of the agenda,” he said. “At that new business point the new electees will be sworn in and will take their seats and conduct the new business portion of the meeting.”

Tarah Myers and her daughters Aubri, 6, and Emilyn, 4, right, check in with election judge Bill Kennedy at the polls for the Taneytown city election Monday, May 6, 2019.
Tarah Myers and her daughters Aubri, 6, and Emilyn, 4, right, check in with election judge Bill Kennedy at the polls for the Taneytown city election Monday, May 6, 2019. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)
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