Patrick McGrady is seeking a second four-year term as mayor of Aberdeen in Tuesday’s election, and is facing a challenge from City Councilman Melvin Taylor, who would be the first African-American elected as mayor since the city charter was revised and Aberdeen adopted a council-manager form of government in 1992 if he wins.
McGrady said he wants to build on the success of his first term and is looking toward resolving challenges facing the city in the next one.
In a letter to voters, McGrady noted that “Aberdeen is bustling and bubbling with more activity than I can ever recall — and I want to keep fighting for you.”
“Aberdeen folks agree with me that everything is going great right now in terms of direction and activity and development, and it feels like things are moving in a positive direction,” McGrady said Tuesday.
McGrady, 33, is married with three children and works in real estate property management. He was elected to his first term as mayor in 2015.
“Lots of people want to see me continue in that role, and I’m willing to serve another four years to keep the momentum going,” he said.
Taylor grew up in Aberdeen and started elementary school when schools were being desegregated in Harford County in the mid-1960s. More than 50 years later, some voters tell Taylor that they want to see greater diversity among Aberdeen’s elected officials — Taylor is the only black member of the four-person City Council.
Aberdeen would be the only one, out of Harford County’s three municipalities, to have an African-American as its elected leader if Taylor wins on Tuesday.
“It’s a win for Aberdeen,” Taylor, 62, said Tuesday. “It’s a win for Bel Air — it’s a win for the whole county.”
He said his votes on the council have always been a “positive vote for the citizens of Aberdeen, for those that really don’t have anyone there to speak up for them.”
“I want you to know and believe that your vote counts and your community matters,” Taylor wrote in his letter to voters. “You need and must have a city government that works for you, with you and stands beside you. Not just in good times; yet, at all times.”
Taylor and his wife of 31 years, Carol, have five children and six grandchildren. He is the pastor for Word of Faith International Outreach in Aberdeen, and he operates a delivery service, transporting mail, freight and packages for companies such as Amazon. He noted that his mayoral campaign has not been endorsed by any major organizations.
“I have a lot of support, but I’m getting it from the people, from the business owners that are putting my signs in their windows,” Taylor said. “People are excited about this election.”
McGrady is running on a number of successes that have happened in Aberdeen over the past four years, such as multiple new businesses setting up shop in the city, construction of a disabled-access ramp at the downtown post office on West Bel Air Avenue, ending the unpopular trash sticker program and shifting to trash containers supplied by the city, reducing the property tax rate, extending Middelton Road from Route 22 to Beards Hill Road, as well as improvements in public safety such as equipping all police officers with body cameras and funding school resource officers for the city’s middle and high school and elementary schools.
The city has also, during McGrady’s tenure, established Keep Aberdeen Beautiful community clean-up events, which happen on a quarterly basis, and started the Aberdeen Farmers’ Market in Festival Park. Upcoming initiatives include obtaining Harford County funding to build a community center on a 13-acre parcel on West Bel Air Avenue that the city recently purchased, plus completing an agreement with Havre de Grace so that city can supply excess drinking water to Aberdeen, and preparing for the opening of a University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake free-standing medical center and psychiatric hospital in the Merritt Properties office building off of Route 22, according to McGrady’s letter.
Taylor praised the successes that have happened over the past four years — he and his colleagues on the council have worked with the mayor, city manager and city staff to make them happen.
He supported the police body camera program, as “this protects both the police officers and the citizens.”
People have expressed concerns to him about keeping city streets clean and homelessness in Aberdeen, but they also note recent successes.
“Certainly, they are enjoying taxes not being raised,” Taylor said.
The mayoral race is the only contested race in Aberdeen’s city election this year.
Four people are running unopposed for four seats on the City Council — incumbents Sandra Landbeck and Tim Lindecamp and newcomers Adam Hiob and Jason Kolligs. Incumbent Steven Goodin, who was appointed by the mayor after the race for the fourth council seat ended in a tie in the 2015 election, is stepping down, and Taylor is running for mayor.
The election will be Tuesday, Nov. 5, and the city has 10,879 eligible voters. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the Aberdeen Activity Center at 7 Franklin St., according to the city website.