Carroll County Times Opinion

Tomlinson: Numerous good candidates to choose from in upcoming municipal elections | COMMENTARY

After 90 days, Maryland’s 2021 General Assembly Session officially wraps up today in Annapolis, meaning that legislators can return to their hometowns. Just as the political theater in Annapolis is ending, the curtain is going up in Carroll’s eight municipalities with town elections set for next month.

Throughout May, residents of Hampstead, Manchester, Mount Airy, New Windsor, Sykesville, Taneytown, Union Bridge, and Westminster will elect council members, and in half of these towns, they will select the mayor. If you live in the cities of Taneytown or Westminster or one of these towns, then these elected officials make decisions that affect your water and sewer, local taxes, roads, zoning, trash, and public safety.


The filing deadline for candidates has passed in all of these towns except for Hampstead, New Windsor, and Union Bridge – where the deadline is close of business today. Elections take place next month on the following dates: May 3, Mount Airy and Taneytown; May 4, Sykesville; May 11, Hampstead, New Windsor, Union Bridge and Westminster; and May 18, Manchester. There are some fantastic candidates featured in the playbill.

In Westminster, the incumbent mayor is not returning and two folks are seeking to star in the role of mayor. Candidate Dennis Dillon has the experience and vision needed to lead Westminster. He is a vice president of a publicly-traded company with 2,500 employees and a market capitalization of over $90 million, has a MBA in Business Development, and is a longtime youth sports coach.


As mayor, Dillon plans to improve the business climate and help small businesses as we come out of the COVID-19 pandemic, to fight crime by supporting the brave men and women who serve and protect us while fostering better relationships between the community and law enforcement, and to strengthen the relationship between McDaniel and the city government and its residents .

In Hampstead, voters will be able to elect three council members. I first met candidate Diane Barrett when North Carroll High School was put on the chopping block by the Board of Education. I was impressed with Barrett’s dedication and drive as we fought to save the school from being closed. Although we did not prevail, she continued to play her part in town politics. She went on to serve as a member of Hampstead’s Board of Zoning Appeals and she currently serves on the Planning and Zoning Commission. She will display the same passion and devotion once elected to the Town Council.

Voters in Taneytown will also have an opportunity to elect three council members. Incumbents Joe Vigliotti and Judith Fuller have both earned well-deserved encore performances. Under their leadership Taneytown has been ranked one of the top-10 safest cities in Maryland. As council members, they have lowered water and sewer rates, paid down debt, and paid for capital projects without incurring more debt, and have accomplished all of it without raising taxes.

If re-elected, Vigliotti plans to continue to support the city’s police department, to keep spending under control to prevent tax increases, and to enact family-friendly and business-friendly policies and zoning laws. If voters are smart enough to give Judith four more years on the council, she wants to make Taneytown a destination city during the holidays and to improve the city parks by adding popular features such as splash pads.

There is a reason Sykesville was named Budget Travel’s Coolest Small Town in America five year ago. Mayor Ian Shaw, Council President Al Grasley, and former council member and president Frank Robert played pivotal roles over the last decade revitalizing Sykesville into the must-see smash hit it is today.

As mayor, Shaw oversaw the completion of the South Branch Skate Park and playground and pavilion, and the sale of the Warfield Complex. As a council member and present council president, Grasley made sure that Sykesville’s tax rate was cut and that the town’s debt was paid down to zero. Robert served on the council from 2007-15 and as president of the council from 2009-15. During his tenure, Frank hired the town’s first Main Street manager, established the Sykesville Military Memorial, and started both the “Concerts in the Parks” and the “Sykesville Cinema” summer series. These three gentlemen have the experience needed to make sure Sykesville continues to prosper and I hope voters pick them to continue in their roles.

If you live in one of these eight municipalities, please make sure you get out and vote on Election Day. If you decide to elect any of the men and woman I have spotlighted to serve for the next four years, our hometowns will be better off because of it.

Christopher Tomlinson, third vice chairman of the Maryland Republican Party, writes from Melrose. Find him on Facebook at ColumnistChrisTomlinson or email him at

For the record

A previous version of this column incorrectly listed Diane Barrett's previous role and date for the Taneytown election. Barrett was on the Hampstead Board of Zoning Appeals and the Taneytown election is scheduled for May 3.