In­cum­bents re­turned to Bet­ter­ton coun­cil

Kent County News - - FRONT PAGE - By TR­ISH MCGEE pm­cgee@thekent­coun­tynews.com

BET­TER­TON — Donny Sut­ton won a sec­ond four- year term as mayor and in­cum­bents Wayne Gilchrest, Harry Marcy and Bob Pyfer held on to their coun­cil seats in Satur­day’s mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion.

Sut­ton re­ceived 72 votes in a two- man race with Ken­neth Traynor, who re­ceived 16 votes.

“I’m grate­ful. I’m hum­bled,” Sut­ton said when con­tacted by phone on Sun­day.

Gilchrest ( 86) was the top vote- get­ter in the coun­cil race. Marcy re­ceived 71 votes, fol­lowed by Pyfer with 70 votes and first- time can­di­date Bran­don On­heiser with 27.

Gilchrest and Marcy were elected to four- year terms.

Pyfer will serve out the re­main­ing two years on the term of Ed Zellers, who re­signed in July.

Gilchrest, a for­mer nineterm con­gress­man for Mary­land’s 1st Dis­trict, was ap­pointed in Au­gust as the suc­ces­sor to Zellers. Town char­ter re­quired Gilchrest to stand for elec­tion at the next elec­tion — though Zellers’ term does not ex­pire un­til 2020.

As the third- place fin­isher in the three- seat race, Pyfer serves out Zellers’ term, said Town ClerkTrea­surer Sheila Dlu­gob­orski, cit­ing the town char­ter.

“I’m glad the elec­tion turned out the way it did,” said Sut­ton, “but we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

A new sewer treat­ment plant is ex­pected to be fully on­line by the end of the month. Some of the startup has be­gun but the plant op­er­a­tors still have to be trained, Sut­ton said.

Fund­ing was pro­vided by more than $ 9 mil­lion in fed­eral grants and a low­in­ter­est loan.

Sut­ton said the next big project is Wheeler Av­enue, which in­volves re­plac­ing a wa­ter line and an ag­ing re­tain­ing wall; im­prov­ing storm drainage; and chang­ing what is a two-way through­way to one way.

Sut­ton lives on Wheeler Av­enue.

The in­cum­bents cam­paigned as a team in fly­ers that were dis­trib­uted through­out town and on yard signs.

Traynor and On­heiser, who are mar­ried to one an­other, al­leged that the cur­rent of­fice hold­ers show fa­voritism to their friends.

In a pre- elec­tion in­ter­view, Traynor said if elected he would see that ev­ery­one was treated equally and he would elim­i­nate prac­tices that he per­ceived to be dis­crim­i­na­tory.

When reached by phone on Sun­day, Traynor said, “The peo­ple who were elected are a good fit for the town.”

When he was asked to elab­o­rate, Traynor said he did not want to make any other com­ment.

Clerk of the Cir­cuit Court for Kent County Mark Mum­ford will swear in Sut­ton be­fore the end of the month. Sut­ton, in turn, will swear in the three coun­cil­men at the Nov. 13 coun­cil meet­ing, Sut­ton said Sun­day.

The an­nual salar y for mayor is $ 1,800. A coun­cil mem­ber’s yearly pay is $ 900.

Bet­ter­ton has a pop­u­la­tion of about 350, ac­cord­ing to the most re­cent cen­sus. Ac­cord­ing to elec­tion of­fi­cials, there are 251 reg­is­tered vot­ers in the town.

By 2 p. m. Satur­day, 78 vot­ers had voted. That num­ber in­cluded all the can­di­dates, ac­cord­ing to poll work­ers.

Vot­ers in Bet­ter­ton cast their bal­lots the old- fash­ioned way, by pa­per. The votes were counted one by one af­ter the polling place at town hall closed at 8 p. m.

On- site for the count were Sut­ton, Traynor, Marcy and On­heiser as well as some res­i­dents, said Judy Kohl, chair­man of the town’s Board of Su­per­vi­sors of Elec­tions.

A to­tal of 90 bal­lots were cast Satur­day. This in­cluded one pro­vi­sional bal­lot and an­other that was in­val­i­dated be­cause both boxes for mayor were checked, Kohl said.

PHOTO BY TR­ISH MCGEE

In­cum­bent mayor Donny Sut­ton and the three sit­ting coun­cil­men cam­paigned as a team in this year’s mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion in Bet­ter­ton.

DONNY SUT­TON

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