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Aegis editorial cartoon

Feel like the streets are a little too bumpy for your taste? Or maybe your property tax bill is higher than you like. And what about the parks in your community – are they up to snuff?

Or, maybe you feel like all these things are being managed better than ever before and it would be a shame for that to change.

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Either way, if you live in the town of Bel Air or the City of Aberdeen, this Tuesday is your chance to be heard with regard to how your local government is being run.

In Aberdeen, only incumbent city council members are on the ballot, as no one decided to run a challenging campaign for those four seats, but the mayor's race is rather hotly contested. Two-term incumbent Mike Bennett is facing a challenge from Patrick McGrady, a relative newcomer to local politics who lost a run for the Maryland House of Delegates last year but nonetheless established himself as a competent campaigner.

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In Bel Air, three incumbent town commissioners are on the ballot as are two challengers, both who have been involved in town politics before, either personally or through a spouse. All five have reasonable qualifications.

This is an off-year in national and state politics, and many of those who are inclined to pay close attention to the spectacle that campaigns for office can be already are focused on the contest for president of the U.S. That doesn't mean, however, races in small communities like Aberdeen and Bel Air don't deserve the attention of residents who are registered to vote.

While it's important who is elected to the post of commander-in-chief, it is just as important, though for vastly different reasons, who is elected to make sure the trash gets picked up, the streets are paved, the parks are well-maintained, water comes out of the spigot and sewage doesn't end up being dumped into our waterways.

If you plan to vote for president next November and you hadn't given any thought to the race in your hometown that's coming up next week, perhaps you should consider doing both. If you weren't planning to vote at all, shame on you. You absolutely should reconsider.

In both Aberdeen and Bel Air, polls are open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.; in Aberdeen the polling place is the Aberdeen Senior Center on Franklin Street; in Bel Air, it's Town Hall on Hickory Avenue.

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