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Returning Havre de Grace council members sworn in; mayor thanks voters for ‘believing in this administration’

David Glenn’s colleagues on the Havre de Grace City Council named him council president for a fourth consecutive year Monday, meaning he will be leading the council later this year when the new Havre de Grace Middle/High School opens.

“It’s going to be a sheer honor to serve as council president for the ribbon cutting of that new school,” Glenn said after the council voted unanimously for him to continue in that position.

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Glenn, who has been a council member since 2012, has been a vocal advocate before county and state officials — one of many in the community — for building a new school to replace the Havre de Grace High School and Middle School. The new facility, which will serve students in sixth through 12th grade, is under construction and expected to be ready in time for the start of the 2020-21 school year.

“It’s been a long awaited dream come true, and I look forward to that day,” he said of the school opening.

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Glenn and his fellow council members, Casi Boyer and James Ringsaker, were re-elected June 23, and all three were sworn in during Monday’s council meeting. The meeting was opened to the public for the first time since mid-March, as gatherings were limited to 10 people at that time in accordance with state regulations to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Attendance at Monday’s meeting was limited to 38 people, so council members’ families were present for the swearing-in ceremonies, conducted by Mayor William T. Martin.

Patrick Sypolt, the city’s director of administration, read the official election results prior to the swearing in; 970 total ballots were cast, including 884 on Election Day plus 85 absentee and one provisional ballot counted during a June 30 canvass. The turnout was 8%, out of 11,359 registered voters in the city.

Glenn was the top vote-getter, with 774, followed by Boyer with 744 and Ringsaker with 618; the fourth candidate, challenger Richard Wehner Sr., earned 254 voters. A ballot question on extending the mayor’s term from two to three years passed, 605-356, according to Sypolt.

The three-year mayoral term will take effect after the next city election in 2021. City Council members all serve two-year terms.

“I’m very humbled at being re-elected to City Council, and I’m very thankful and I’m really looking forward to serving the city for another two years,” said Ringsaker, who was elected to his first term in 2018.

Boyer was appointed to the council in November 2017 and elected to her first full term in 2018.

“I want to thank the voters for expressing your confidence in me,” she said Monday. “It’s been a great honor to serve you, and I look [forward to] the great things happening to our wonderful city at the top of the Bay.”

Glenn said it was “truly a humbling experience for me” when he heard the election results, noting that, “I really look forward to continuing to serve the citizens of this great community.”

He also congratulated Boyer and Ringsaker for running “outstanding” campaigns, and he thanked Wehner for running. He expressed hope that Wehner will remain involved in local government by serving on city committees or commissions.

“He seemed like a really bright guy, and we can benefit from that,” Glenn said.

He also thanked his council colleagues for their “vote of confidence in me” as council president.

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“It’s easy to work with this council, and I’m really blessed to be working with the dedicated individuals I get to work with on a daily basis,” Glenn said.

The mayor also took time to thank voters for their support over the past few years, especially with their affirmative votes on referendums related to city initiatives such as purchasing county-owned waterfront property along Water Street, seeking bond funding to renovate the Havre de Grace Opera House and the municipal water treatment plant, as well as their most recent vote in a special election in February to obtain up to $15 million in bond funding to fix aging water and sewer infrastructure — city leaders plan to go to the bond market later this month.

“We have been very successful with these initiatives, but the real people to thank are the citizens because you believed in us, you stepped up and you said, ‘OK,‘ ” Martin said.

Some of the bond money will be used to build a transmission line from Havre de Grace to Aberdeen, through which Havre de Grace will send drinking water produced at its plant for Aberdeen to purchase and support that city’s future development. Officials from both cities met June 25 for a signing ceremony, marking the first time two municipalities in Harford County have entered into a water purchasing agreement.

“This is two governments, Aberdeen and Havre de Grace, working together in the best interests of [their] citizens,” Martin said.

The mayor thanked residents for “believing in this administration, believing in these council members,” and for voting June 23, considering the election had been postponed from early May because of safety concerns related to COVID-19.

“The city is heading in a really good direction,” he said. “We’re moving forward cautiously because of our COVID environment, but we’re doing well.”

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