The Havre de Grace mayor and three council members say they plan to seek re-election this spring.
The two-week filing period for the May 7 election begins at 8 a.m. on March 5 and runs through on March 19 at 5 p.m.
The four incumbents — Mayor William T. Martin and council members David Martin, Jason Robertson and Carolyn Zinner — said they will seek re-election.
William Martin will be running for his third term as mayor.
“We’ve accomplished many things, but we’ve got a long way to go,” Martin said. “Our successes will outnumber our challenges, but we have some serious bumps in the road we need to deal with, especially with our aging infrastructure and water and sewer fund.”
The water and sewer fund has been an issue in the city for years, and Martin said while it’s come a long way — the fund is solvent and the city’s debt service obligation is met this year — it’s time to prepare for the future.
That means dealing with the city’s aging infrastructure, he said, especially as Havre de Grace prepares to sell water to neighboring Aberdeen.
Pumps and other infrastructure will be upgraded, but using new equipment to push water through old infrastructure puts a lot of pressure on the system, he said.
“A lot of sewer lines haven’t been dealt with for generations,” Martin said. “It’s easier to kick the can down the road than to stop and try and fix it so future residents of Havre de Grace can be guaranteed safe drinking water.”
It definitely needs to be a topic of conversation, he said, not pushed off year after year.
Last year, Martin defeated former mayor Wayne Dougherty. If he doesn’t have an opponent this year, he’ll take it as a compliment, but thinks contested elections are good.
“As hard as elections are, I really think they make you a better public servant,” Martin said. “It’s made me a better mayor. I don’t take anything for granted, but should I be unopposed, I’d be honored to have two more years to serve.”
David Martin wants a third term as a councilman “because if you want to make changes, you have to do it from that side of the dais, you can’t do it being out in the public in general,” he said.
Among the things Martin wants to see to fruition is what he said is the state’s first municipal ethics ordinance, dealing with sexual harassment and misconduct in office for elected officials.
“It’s about making changes as we go forward,” Martin said. “Havre de Grace is a historic area but we need to be in the 21st century. We’re trying to balance those kinds of changes.”
He said the city also needs to look at its water and sewer system and make plans for infrastructure repair.
“How do we do that without raising rates or raising rates in a reasonable manner so they don’t have a negative impact,” Martin said.
The city is working hard to make Havre de Grace, what Martin called a “Hallmark town,” a tourist destination. He wants the city to retain its charm, but still move forward.
He points to a plan to operate an electric trolley in Havre de Grace to get people through downtown, to the marinas and parks.
“We can do it with gas or diesel, but that’s not green, that’s not the way we need to go forward,” he said.
“This first term has been a huge learning curve, and I feel that I've gained a lot of experience after serving as council liaison to the Water/ Sewer Commission and the Economic Development Advisory Board; sitting on the Planning Committee and Admin Committee; and chairing the Budget and Finance Committee,” Robertson wrote in an email.
He also serves as the council liaison to the new Havre de Grace Youth Commission, which he spearheaded creation of. If re-elected, Robertson wants to focus on building the commission to meet its mandate.
“I plan to continue focusing on financial prudency in our local government; especially related to our water/ sewer rate structure and debt,” Robertson said. “I also plan to continue ensuring Havre de Grace legislation, zoning and practices mirror the needs of local businesses. We are seeing fewer vacant store-fronts, which is a trend I hope will continue.”
Robertson said the team serving the city, form the directors down, is a great one.
“I love this city and I hope for my son's sake that its charm and character are preserved for posterity, as we recognize the demands of the future,” he said.
Zinner has been on the council since November, appointed by William Martin to fill the term vacated by Monica Worrell when she accepted a job as director of business development for Aberdeen Proving Ground Federal Credit Union.
She intends to run for a full term.
“I am obviously still learning, but anxious to continue,” Zinner said in an email.
She finished fourth in last year’s race for three seats.
Any one who wants to file to run for mayor or council can visit Havre de Grace City Hall at 711 Pennington Ave. from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Candidates should be at least 25 years old, a U.S. citizen for at least the past 10 years and a Havre de Grace resident for at least the past two years, according to the city website.