Martin, 41, has a grand vision for the city's waterfront, in which the council recently invested in by buying Councilman Steve Gamatoria's property on Concord Street.
"We have big plans for [Millard] Tydings Park," Martin said Tuesday, explaining he wants to move the park's playground, potentially move the gazebo and build a bandshell with stadium seating near the existing parking lot for concerts in the park.
"We really want to make it like Merriweather Center North," he said, alluding to Columbia's 40-acre Merriweather Post Pavilion concert venue.
Martin, a city resident since 1992, said he wants to make Havre de Grace the cultural center of the region, noting the city continues to work on renovating its historic opera house.
Married with three children, Martin has been active in spearheading the War of 1812 commemoration in 2013.
Regarding property taxes, Martin, an Aberdeen Middle School history teacher for 16 years, said he has voted for seven consecutive tax cuts.
"Until Fund 9 is solvent, I think it is prudent that we not lower it any more," he said of the property tax rate, referring to the water and sewer fund that has continued to plague city officials with its steep debt.
Martin, the council president, said he plans to introduce a 25 percent reduction in capital cost recovery fees, which he hopes will spur development, but will include a "sunset clause" of two years to encourage developers to build now.
Martin pointed out water use has gone down and charging people more will only continue to drive down use.
He also hopes to continue driving business and economic development, noting he helped select the city's new economic development director, Tom Lofland.
Hiner, 52, has been in town about as long as Martin, having moved here in 1990.
He is banking on his 20 years of experience as a small business owner, and his website says he is running because of a "deep love for this city," while hoping to "shift the way the city is engaging our citizens."
Hiner, who is married without children, said dealing with the debt in Fund 9 will take a variety of approaches.
"We have to be aggressive and we have to use more than one approach," he said.