Alt, Broomell, Jablonski, Ashby, Ryan & Taylor Win!
By Stephanie Lipcius Palko
Two Cecil County towns held elections this week, each electing a mayor and two town board members.
Alt Gets Another Term As Mayor
In Elkton, Mayor Rob Alt ran unopposed.
As a small percentage of the town’s voters went into the Elkton administration building to vote on Tuesday, Alt noted how different this election was from the last mayoral race in town.
“That was a very contested election,” Alt said. “Three people ran for mayor.”
When no one else filed for the office of mayor for this week’s election, Alt said he looked at it as vote of confidence.
“Residents of the town believe we are moving in the right direction and have confidence in the board,” Alt said.
The mayor said he is very happy to see the way the entire town board works to continually improve the town.
“I am most proud of being able to lower water and sewer rates in town to one of the lowest rates in the state of Maryland,” Mayor Alt said, adding that he will continue to work with the town commissioners to find even more efficiencies in the water and sewer operations, as well as other areas of the budget.
“We have also worked to make people feel safer in our town,” Alt said. There are now cameras in place in the town, he added.
“We’re more pro-active with our patrols,” Alt said of police activity, noting that the town’s crime rate has dropped by double digits.
“In the downtown, we’ve accomplished joint goals with the business community and town government,” Alt said.
The town’s Arts & Entertainment designation from the state is being realized, the mayor reported.
“Spork opened last year, C3ntral Tavern this year and we are getting a brewery soon,” Alt said. “Brookbend has done so much for downtown and then we have our other businesses.”
Alt said the town has talked to downtown landlords to encourage them to bring more art and leisure businesses into the downtown.
“The Renaissance building has been sold,” Alt said. This large building located a few doors down from the corner of Main and Bridge streets had long served as a daycare business and then a restaurant. It has been closed for several years. Alt said it is going to become a salon and spa.
Mayor Alt said he would like to get the permits needed to erect an arch on Main Street at the Bow Street intersection to let people know they are in downtown Elkton. He pictures a wrought iron arch with LED lighting.
Alt said parks and activities for residents are also important.
“We’ve been able to take back our parks – in a polite way,” the mayor said. Last year, the town ended the encampments of homeless people on town parkland by posting the sites with notices that gave people several days to vacate the areas and then bringing people into the encampments to offer services to those people evicted from the parks.
“Over the next term, we will continue to work on our waterways in the town of Elkton,” Alt said. “We will remove debris out of the Big Elk and Little Elk and see if we can dredge out some areas.”
Alt said the goal is to open the waterways for easy navigation for kayaks and stand-up paddleboards, adding he has personally been in a small motorboat that made it under the MD 213 Baker Bridge up to the area of the Eder Park ballfields. The town may mark the deeper parts of the creek up to the downtown once tree limbs and other debris are removed, he said.
“We are working on the docks in Marina Park,” he said.
“The Community Center will be budgeted this year, in the fiscal ’19 budget,” Alt said.
It is estimated that the project will eventually cost $3.5 million, the mayor said. The town has secured the use of land declared surplus at the Board of Education offices. The mayor and some on the town board are also looking at the possibilities of obtaining the old armory, which is located across Railroad Avenue from the Elkton town hall.
Currently owned by the Maryland National Guard, the armory is slowly being vacated, the Mayor said. If that old, castle-like structure is declared surplus, Alt said the county government will get first dibs on the structure. He is hoping the town will be able to obtain the building, noting it has a new roof and windows, but would need a new HVAC system. Alt said the building would offer a lot of space.
Elkton town commissioner Jean Broomell has won her fourth town election. Her first terms in Elkton government occurred a number of years ago.
Broomell thought she had ended her years in town government and then the current town board knocked on her door to fill out the term of a town commissioner who resigned.
Looking at the work of the mayor and other town commissioners, Broomell said she could not resist the request to join the board and the harmony and sense of purpose on the town board made her want to run for office.
“The dynamics of the board have been great,” Broomell said on Tuesday.
“My motto has been ‘Let’s Keep Elkton Moving Forward,’” she said.
“I’m currently working on sidewalk improvements,” Broomell said, adding sidewalk work has been committed for North Bridge Street, White Hall Road and other areas.
“We have a lot of projects,” Broomell said.
The rec center is important, she said.
“I still want to look at acquiring the armory,” Broomell said, noting that it could have many possible uses, including a police station.
“I love my town,” Broomell said.
Mary Jo Jablonski
“This is my fourth term and I am very excited to be with this team to continue to move the town forward,” said Elkton town commissioner Mary Jo Jablonski on Tuesday.
She said the town board is continuing to work on establishing a community center.
Jablonski said grants are a priority.
“It is something we really have to do,” she said. The town is looking at Community Development Block Grants and Community Legacy grants.
Parks and waterway improvement are currently a town board priority, she said.
Improving the downtown area in Elkton is important to Jablonski, who also serves as the executive director of the Elkton Alliance.
“It’s been unbelievable,” Jablonski said, of the development of downtown Elkton as an Arts & Entertainment district.
Perryville Gets A New Mayor
For the first time in well over a decade, Perryville has a new mayor.
Robert Ashby, Jr. won the election by two votes on Tuesday.
It was a race between two town board members with veteran board member Michelle Linkey coming up two votes short in her quest for the mayor’s office.
Ashby has been on the Perryville town board for one term. He said his goal had been to become the town’s mayor.
“I wasn’t going to run against Jim,” Ashby said, referring to Mayor Jim Eberhardt, who decided not to run in this election.
Ashby said he will change things around a bit in town government.
The new mayor’s focus will be to enhance customer service in the town hall. Ashby said he wants to make sure the town is focused on streamlining the process for developers and builders who want to bring projects into town.
“This will change the perception of the town,” Ashby said.
Infrastructure improvements and park & recreation are other important aspects of the town, the new mayor said.
“This is a gorgeous town,” Ashby said.
The two contenders for Perryville’s top office competed graciously. Michelle LInkey said she had filed for the office of mayor to continue to work for the good of the town “from a different vantage point.”
Raymond Ryan, III & Robert Taylor
Raymond Ryan, III has won another term as a Perryville town commissioner.
Robert Taylor is new to the town board.
Taylor said he wanted to join the town board to further promote the concept of community in Perryville.
He was inspired to run for office after he went to a movie night in the park that attracted about 400 people. Taylor said he liked that feeling of community in the event and wanted to be a part of town government.
Prior to running for the office of town commissioner, Taylor joined the Perryville Planning Commission.