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Sykesville election: 4 candidates seeking 3 four-year terms; 1 unopposed for two-year term

Four candidates are running for three seats serving four-year terms on the council and one person is running unopposed for a two-year seat in Sykesville's town election.

Registered voters may cast ballots from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 5, at the Sykesville Town House, 7547 Main St.

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The Times asked candidates to explain their three most important issues in the election, each in 75 words or fewer. The responses are presented unedited.

Candidates for four-year terms

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Julia Betz

Sale of Warfield: We need to ensure that the potential sale of the Warfield Complex progresses and stays on track. This mixed-use development will include commercial/office, residential, and retail space and is key to economic growth.

Main Street: Continue working with our director of economic development on the successful Main Street Four-Point Approach. We need to ensure that Main Street continues to thrive and that the excitement is maintained. I want to aggressively promote town businesses and activities to shoppers, visitors, investors, and potential business and property owners. A big project to be dealt with is the streetscape of our downtown area which is currently in the design phase.

Budget: With my accounting background, I plan to continue to analyze the Town's expenses to identify potential savings opportunities. I also want to identify any cost-saving measures whenever possible through greater efficiencies or changing the ways we do things. With responsible planning, we can ensure that a tax increase will not be necessary. A big issue that needs to be addressed is sidewalk maintenance and how that will be funded.

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Anna Carter

Sykesville Infrastructure: The Town of Sykesville relies on grants and funding from Federal and State agencies to fund many of the town's expenses. Anticipating these short comings now will allow the town to put aside funding for the future to allow us to continue with our current services without the increased burden on our residents.

Warfield: The sale of Warfield will provide increased town revenue, but will also increase the Town's services and will need to be addressed prior to the development. This will allow the Town the time to plan how to accommodate the new development in our schedule of services. The Town will also need to make sure the development stays true to the Town's past and present.

Employee Compensation: making sure our employees are paid a competitive salary. The loss of good employees is not only a productivity loss, but also an economic loss. Hiring new staff is costly and time consuming.

Mary Ann Castle

Speeding through Main Street: I believe that police presence would be beneficial to deal with these issues of the town. It is less costly and more efficient then speed camera which is inaccurate most of the time and will cost the town more money.

Diversity: A lot of minorities in the community do not participate in different activities that the town hosts. I think by reaching out to each neighborhood by putting up banners in areas that are more noticeable, will create a more welcome feeling for the other nationalities of the town.

Editor's note: Candidate did not list a third issue.

Christopher True

Town residents have come to expect a high level of service from our Public Works Department and our Police Department. As we develop Warfield, we need to make sure that these services are not impacted. Those services include police protection, trash and recycling pickup, snow removal and park maintenance. I will make sure that new revenues collected from Warfield are used to maintain our current levels of service for all residents.

Sykesville has done a great job staying on top of road paving, but we also need to focus on our sidewalks, walking trails, parks and playgrounds. As these items age, they need to be fixed or replaced, which cost a lot of money. While grant funding will cover some of these costs, I'm afraid it won't cover all of the costs. I will work with the Council to develop a long term plan.

The Town is faced with 8 more years of large debt payments for loans taken out in 2005 and 2008. Next year 6% of our operating expenses ($128,232) will go to paying off this debt. The town is now in the position to pay for our paving projects without having to borrow money. I will work to make sure we refrain from borrowing money in the future to fund recurring capital projects.

Candidate for two-year term (unopposed)

William Bleam III

Main Street: The development of an economically viable Main Street is vital for the development of the Town of Sykesville. Making Main Street Sykesville a destination for people from the surrounding area will help to bring revenue to the shops in town, while the increased exposure will help the town residents.

Warfield Complex: We need to bring more small business to Sykesville, while connecting the residents of the town to those new small businesses at the Warfield Complex. It would also be beneficial to be able to maintain some connection with the businesses on Main Street. We also need to be very aware of the additional costs in terms of services that will be required when the Warfield Complex opens.

Main Street Streetscape: The Streetscape project will be a huge undertaking, and a vital one. We need to make sure that we do all that we can to preserve the character of our Main Street without having to sacrifice too much parking. Parking has been an issue for quite some time and the idea of losing parking spaces, without an alternative parking option, is concerning.

Compiled by Wiley Hayes

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