Per­ryville bal­lot set, Brown re­tires

Eber­hardt un­op­posed again

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By JANE BELLMYER

jbellmyer@ce­cil­whig.com

— Mayor Jim Eber­hardt is once again alone on the bal­lot in the town’s May 10 elec­tion.

Mean­while, in­cum­bent Com­mis­sioner Ray Ryan III faces two chal­lengers in his bid for re-elec­tion. Robert Ashby and An­thony Gerst have filed as can­di­dates. The dead­line passed Mon­day at 5:30 p.m.

For the first time in 14 years, Bar­bara Brown’s name will not be on the bal­lot.

“I put my time in with seven terms,” Brown said Sun­day. “It’s time for some­one else to step up to the plate.”

She’s been in­volved in Per­ryville town gov­ern­ment nearly 40 years, serv­ing 25 years on plan­ning and zon­ing be­fore win­ning her first elec­tion in May 2002. Now 72, Brown said she wants to fo­cus on other ac­tiv­i­ties.

“I be­long to a lot of dif­fer­ent or­ga­ni­za­tions and I hold of­fices in most of them,” she said.

Add to that, she still spends two days per week in phys­i­cal ther­apy for an in­jury suf­fered more than a year ago. Brown hasn’t been to a town meet­ing since Septem­ber 2014, cit­ing her own mo­bil­ity is­sues and the steep in­cline of the ramp lead­ing

PER­RYVILLE

into town hall. While Per­ryville’s char­ter has no at­ten­dance re­quire­ment for elected of­fi­cials, the town re­cently passed an or­di­nance al­low­ing the mayor and com­mis­sion­ers to at­tend elec­tron­i­cally up to three times per year. Brown has one call-in left.

Her last town meet­ing will be May 3. How­ever, Brown noted she grew up in Per­ryville and she isn’t leav­ing.

“I will see every­one I saw be­fore,” she said, not­ing that now she will only no longer be a pub­lic of­fi­cial. “I will miss work­ing, par­tic­u­larly with the parks peo­ple.”

Brown also en­joyed be­ing able to an­swer ques­tions and help peo­ple find so­lu­tions.

Four­teen years ago, not long af­ter Brown’s first win, then-Mayor Steve Pear­son en­cour­aged Brown to at­tend the Mary­land Mu­nic­i­pal League sum­mer con­fer­ence in Ocean City.

“I came back and I was ready to tear this place apart,” she said. “I just wanted to bring things to Per­ryville that other towns had. I came back with brief­cases full of in­for­ma­tion and knowl­edge.” “I came home and wrote grants,” she said. Among her suc­cess­ful grant pro­pos­als was a $1.2 mil­lion Project Open Space award that al­lowed the town to pur­chase the Meck prop­erty for a wa­ter­front town park.

Another suc­cess was the tax­a­tion of ho­tels, which Brown said brings sev­eral hun­dred dol­lars in rev­enue into town each month.

“The money is ded­i­cated to tourism,” she said. “It was a hard sell. Some mem­bers of

the board wanted no new taxes. But the taxes weren’t be­ing paid by the peo­ple of Per­ryville. They are levied on peo­ple who are us­ing our ser­vices.”

She regrets that she won’t be in of­fice when the Rodgers Tav­ern Mu­seum opens. Pas­sion­ate about lo­cal his­tory, Brown saw the Colo­nial-era build­ing through restora­tion and ren­o­va­tion.

“It’s still a work in progress,” she said. “We do have a group of folks cat­a­logu­ing all the ar­ti­facts.”

Brown also shep­herded the kayak launch, walk­ing trails, park im­prove­ments in­clud­ing play­ground equip­ment and the ac­qui­si­tion of new park land. She also had a ma­jor role in the con­struc­tion of the tran­sit pier, which brings boaters into town at Rodgers Tav­ern.

Per­ryville Ap­pre­ci­a­tion Days, Au­tum­nFest, Spring Fling and the Di­a­mond in the

Rough Triathlon also have her mark.

Re­cently, Brown said she came to the re­al­iza­tion that there was never go­ing to be a good time to quit.

“You al­ways want to fin­ish what you’ve started but you’re never fin­ished. There’s al­ways some­thing go­ing on,” she said. “When you have been into this as much as I have it takes a while for you to step back.”

So what will her first of­fi­cial act be as a for­mer elected of­fi­cial?

“I’m go­ing to get rid of my cell­phone,” she said, adding she didn’t want a town cell­phone any­way.

And when her home phone rings and the voice on the other end asks for Com­mis­sioner Brown?

“I’ll po­litely tell them to call town hall and that I am no longer an elected of­fi­cial. Pe­riod,” she said.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF LEO TRAUB/CNS

Con­fetti rains down on the House of Del­e­gates at mid­night on Mon­day, the last day of the 2016 Mary­land Gen­eral Assem­bly.

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