Elections results: Westminster, towns pick new councils
By Heather Cobun, Jon Kelvey and Carroll County Times
May 12, 2015 | 10:33 PM
Voters in Westminster, New Windsor, Union Bridge and Hampstead turned out throughout the day Tuesday to cast their ballots for new council members. Union Bridge and Hampstead also elected a mayor.
In Westminster, where six candidates vied for three council seats, council President Robert Wack and councilwoman Mona Becker won re-election to the council. Former councilman Gregory Pecoraro was elected to the third seat. They defeated Joe Burns Jr., Nathaniel M. Costley Sr. and Paul Whitson, who had served one term on the council.
"It's really exciting," Becker said of her first election. She was appointed to fill a vacancy in December. "I was nervous. I did a lot of campaigning."
Becker said she ran because she felt like she couldn't contribute to her full potential when she was an appointed replacement.
"Now there's four whole years of service to the city of Westminster in front of me," she said.
"It's very gratifying that the majority of citizens are pleased with the progress we're making and turned their back on the negative tactics that unfortunately seem to taint many of our elections these days," he said.
Whitson said he doubts he will run for office again but plans to remain involved in the community.
"They got the vote out," he said of Tuesday's winners. "They beat us fair and square."
Of Westminster's 10,042 registered voters, 788 turned out Tuesday, with 14 absentee ballots.
Zimmerman said taxes are also an important issue to him.
"You want it so that people can afford to live here," he said.
Jennifer Steinhurst, a resident for less than two years, said she learned about some of the water and sewer issues from Becker, whose husband works at McDaniel College. Mona Becker is an environmental science professor.
Steinhurst said she didn't realize how critical the water situation was in Westminster.
To learn about other candidates and issues, Steinhurst said, she asked questions of Becker and used "a little bit of Google."
Westminster resident and business owner Jason Nightingale said he believes some current council members have become complacent in their positions.
"We think that definitely some things need to be shaken up on the council," he said. Nightingale is a lifelong Westminster resident and owner of Tiki Tattoo.
Nightingale said that in the past, he became involved in city council politics because of a zoning ordinance that affected tattoo parlors in 2007.
This year, Nightingale said he and his wife, Shannon, are concerned about the status of the Wakefield Valley Golf Course, which the city acquired last summer. The couple expressed concern about the lack of information they are receiving from the city.
James Roark and David Unglesbee won election to the Hampstead Town Council, defeating Charles Drennen for the two seats currently held by Jason Cavey and Timothy Babylon, who did not seek re-election.
Mayor Christopher Nevin ran unopposed and will serve another four years.
Roark received 143 votes, while Unglesbee received 137 and Drennen 133.
Nevin received 206 votes.
Election Day got off to a slow start in Hampstead, with 120 voters having cast their ballots by 3:20 p.m., according to Lorena Vaccare, administrative assistant with the town.
"That's out of more than 4,000 registered voters," she said. The exact figure, Vaccare later confirmed, is 4,122.
Of those registered voters, 242 cast ballots, four of which were absentee ballots. There were no write-ins reported by Town Manager Tammi Ledley.
Nevin will be sworn in at the Carroll County Circuit Court on Wednesday morning, while Roark and Unglesbee will be sworn in at the Wednesday night meeting of the Hampstead Town Council, joining current council members Marlene Duff, Joe Renehan and Wayne Thomas, whose terms end in 2017.
Roak, Unglesbee and Nevin will serve until 2019.
Incumbents return to council in New Windsor
Incumbents Kevin Null, David Hoffman, and Kimberlee Schultz won re-election over challengers Kathryn Freed-Collier and Eric Slack for three open seats on the New Windsor Town Council.
Null garnered 85 votes, Schultz 83 and Huffman 77. Vote totals for Freed-Collier and Slack were not available Tuesday night because they had been "locked up" and were inaccessible until the following day, according to New Windsor Town Clerk Donna Alban.
It was a fairly slow Election Day, with New Windsor seeing 68, or about 7 percent, of its 914 registered voters cast ballots by 5 p.m., Alban said. Ultimately, 95 ballots were cast, four of which were absentee ballots. There were no write-ins.
Null, Hoffman and Schultz will be sworn in at the next regularly scheduled meeting, Alban said, although she could not provide the date of that meeting. The returning trio will serve with councilmen Ed Palsgrove and Edward Smith, whose terms expire in 2017.
Incumbents unopposed in Union Bridge elections
In Union Bridge, three incumbents — Mayor Perry Jones and councilmen Edgar Wentz and Donald Wilson — were re-elected, running unopposed for four-year terms, according to Union Bridge Election Judge George Keeney. A total of 33 ballots were cast.