When Bel Air voters go to the polls Tuesday, they may be surprised to find two familiar names missing from the ballot for town commissioner: Philip Raub and Patrick Goles. Those veterans have stepped aside after nine years on the board. Bel Air owes them a debt of gratitude for conscientious and productive service.
Seven candidates are campaigning for three seats on the five-member council, the terms to run four years.
Mark Decker, who is now chairman, is the only one who has served an elected term on the board. Another, Russell Poole, was appointed a few months ago to fill the seat of Mr. Goles. The rest are making their first run for elective office.
Bel Air is extremely fortunate that each candidate offers a distinctive professional background, serious appreciation of civic concerns and a dedication that could well serve the community. There are no perennial pols, no fringe candidates or publicity hounds in the race for personal ends.
The issues raised during the campaign echo a litany of Bel Air concerns: taxes, police protection, library service, trash collection fees, downtown economic development, use of the Hoza parkland, parking facilities.
There appears to be little disagreement among the aspirants over the major issues, though their individual analyses vary. They all agree on reinforcing the town's importance as Harford's county seat amid suburban pressures.
We believe that Mr. Decker, a local merchant with board experience and a grasp of municipal issues, strongly deserves re-election.
Stephen Burdette, an architect with an appreciation of Bel Air's historic character, would bring a valuable perspective to the board, which must deal with crucial development questions and the evolving Master Plan.
Joe Brooks, a retired civilian administrator at Aberdeen Proving Ground with proven teaching and leadership capabilities, promises the kind of common sense approach to community affairs that is always in high demand.
We urge Bel Air residents to take their voting obligations seriously. Two years ago, the turnout was a dangerously low 13 percent. The growing town, buffeted by demands for development and annexation, and embroiled in money conflicts with the county, needs full citizen involvement. The Sun recommends a vote for Mark Decker, Stephen Burdette and Joe Brooks on Tuesday.