Men to vie for mayor, council

The Baltimore Sun

In the race for Union Bridge mayor, former Town Councilman Scott W. Davis is challenging incumbent Bret D. Grossnickle, who was appointed when Perry L. Jones Jr. was elected to the Carroll County Board of Commissioners in 2002.

Three men are also campaigning for two seats that are up for grabs on the five-member council, which currently has four female members. One of those seats belongs to Councilwoman Sarah Black, who has decided not to run for re-election.

The council's only male, incumbent Donald D. Wilson, will face challengers John T. "Tommy" Hyde III and Edgar C. Wentz in the May 8 municipal nonpartisan election.

Though his name will still appear on the ballot, barbershop owner and retired State Police Trooper Edwin Martin Humphries has withdrawn from the race.

With Union Bridge set to gain another 1,700 residents from two planned subdivisions, most candidates say they hope more residential and business development will bring revenue and new amenities to town. Other issues include executing long-discussed plans to build a library in the Union Bridge/ New Windsor area and creating more programs for the town's youth .

As superintendent of water treatment in Westminster, Grossnickle said he has pushed for water and sewer improvements and new water meters in recent years.

A Town Council member since the late 1980s, Grossnickle, 48, said Union Bridge will need more law enforcement support if it doubles in size.

He said the town would need its own sheriff's deputy rather than sharing one, as they do currently, with New Windsor. But establishing a full-fledged municipal police department wouldn't be cost effective, Grossnickle said.

After a hiatus from town politics, Davis, the appointed chairman of the Carroll County Property Tax Assessment Appeals Board, said he was eager to run for election. Davis, 78, said he wants to follow through on some of the actions taken when he was on the council in the late 1980s.

"When I was on the board, we annexed the Phillips property," one of the town's two new developments, Davis said. "We still haven't gotten what people wanted."

Bringing new residents to town would create more traffic for small businesses like the struggling Myers Grocery Store, Davis said.

A veteran councilman, Wilson, 62, is retired from Lehigh Cement Co. in Union Bridge and still consults for them part-time. Davis, a retired machinist, and Hyde, a former repairman, both also worked for Lehigh.

Upgrading and better maintaining Union Bridge's streets is an issue stressed by Wilson and Hyde. As the developers lay out the new communities of Jackson Ridge and the Villages of Union Bridge, they should work to preserve the area's small-town ambience and village streets, Wilson said.

Most candidates said they wanted to create more youth activities in town, perhaps at the community center. Grossnickle said that could be accomplished by funding an activities director position there.

Hyde, a taxidermist who grew up with Davis in Union Bridge, said he would bring more small businesses to town and push for a library.

Hyde, 54, said he would make life easier for the town's elderly residents living on fixed incomes by not raising taxes. Instead of charging a fixed rate for water, "bill 'em exactly for what they use," Hyde said.

Wentz, 63, who has run once before for Town Council, works as a mechanic in Westminster and a volunteer firefighter in Union Bridge. If elected, Wentz pledges to resurface the town's back streets and sidewalks and create more indoor and outdoor recreational activities for youth.

The Union Bridge Business Association will host a candidates' forum Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at the town's community center, 4770 Ladiesburg Road, 410 775-7150.

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