Per­ryville Mayor Eber­hardt un­con­tested for fi­nal term

Cecil Whig - - PERRYVILLE ELECTION - By JANE BELLMYER

jbellmyer@ce­cil­whig.com

— This is the last town elec­tion for James “Jim” Eber­hardt.

“I think two years from now, I’ll be done,” said Eber­hardt, who is run­ning un­con­tested for the fourth time. Bar­ring any write-in vic­tory dur­ing the elec­tions on May 10, this will be Eber­hardt’s sev­enth term.

Eber­hardt shared some the­o­ries as to why he has no competition.

“De­pend­ing on who you talk to, it’s be­cause he’s do­ing a great job or no­body wants the job,” Eber­hardt said.

How­ever, Eber­hardt said in two years be will be 73, and he plans to be fully re­tired by then. Al­though he is re­tired from the U.S. Army Corps of

PER­RYVILLE

En­gi­neers, he has been a con­tract pro­fes­sional with Grad School USA for a num­ber of years, teach­ing those on track for up­per-level de­grees in their field.

Ac­cord­ing to Eber­hardt, he and the board in its var­i­ous it­er­a­tions have pre­sented strong bud­gets over the years. Per­ryville re­cently passed its fis­cal year 2017 bud­get, giv­ing res­i­dents a sixth straight prop­erty tax rate re­duc­tion.

“The town is in good shape,” he said.

Part of that good shape comes from the town’s share of the prof­its from Hol­ly­wood Casino.

“That was no ‘gimme.’ We had to fight for ev­ery­thing we got,” Eber­hardt said, re­fer­ring to Per­ryville’s 35 per­cent cut. “The state said (all the money) goes to Ce­cil County, that the county is the lo­cal gov­ern­ment. They had no idea it was within a cor­po­rate limit.”

The big­gest hur­dle to the town’s fu­ture eco­nomic growth is the state’s re­fusal to widen Route 222 over In­ter­state 95. Mary­land of­fi­cials in­sist Per­ryville and Ce­cil County chip into the plans, while on this side of the Susque­hanna River, Eber­hardt points to mas­sive trans­porta­tion projects in Aberdeen and Bel Air that fell fully un­der the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the state.

“The county has had that as its No. 1 pri­or­ity on its list to the State High­way Ad­min­is­tra­tion for years and yet noth­ing hap­pens,” Eber­hardt said. A wider Route 222 would clear the way for the next de­vel­op­ment phase near the casino, in­clud­ing a ho­tel and con­fer­ence cen­ter.

The mayor had hoped to have con­struc­tion un­der way for the new police sta­tion by now.

“We got stymied by stormwa­ter man­age­ment,” he said. He said the best news is that the so­lu­tion ap­plies also to the next phase of that pro­ject, which will be a mod­ern town hall. Bids for the police sta­tion are due to be opened soon.

“If I get the police sta­tion done in the next two years I’ll be happy,” he said.

Also be­fore his de­par­ture, Eber­hardt would like to get some of the va­cant store­fronts filled, es­pe­cially in Per­ryville Sta­tion.

“I also want to see progress in those three hous­ing de­vel­op­ments,” he said, point­ing to Wood­lands, Happy Val­ley and Cedar Cor­ner.

Cedar Cor­ner will be first, he said.

“This guy wants to build very nice sin­gle fam­ily houses,” the mayor said. “It’s the first time in 10 years any­one has pro­posed sin­gle fam­ily hous­ing.”

One pro­ject that re­mains quiet is the pro­posed MARC main­te­nance fa­cil­ity to be built of Route 7 at the edge of town lim­its but con­nect to town wa­ter and sewer. Eber­hardt said he has heard noth­ing on the progress of the pro­ject.

“Am­trak did a tre­men­dous amount of work for drainage, but it’s a com­pletely dif­fer­ent pro­ject,” the mayor said he was told. “At the leg­isla­tive break­fast, Sen­a­tor Steve Her­shey said last time he was in a meet­ing on the fa­cil­ity he said he won’t sup­port the pro­ject un­less they ex­tend MARC to Elkton.”

EBER­HARDT

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