Mark Hinkle has always had the ambition of being the mayor of Myersville. And now, after serving on the town council since 2000, he is finally stepping into that role.
“I feel like you have to serve your community to have a great community, so I’m excited for that,” Hinkle said. “I understand it was not a contested election, but at the same time I appreciate those that voted for me and give me their well wishes.”
With 59 ballots received by the Monday deadline, Hinkle was elected as mayor with 56 votes. Sheldon Shealer and Daniel Long were elected as council members with 52 and 51 votes, respectively.
Hinkle, who grew up in town, volunteers with the Myersville Volunteer Fire Co. and is a real estate agent. He called his predecessor, Wayne Creadick Jr., a great mayor.
“I’d always told him I thought he was doing a tremendous job,” Hinkle said. “I would never have ran against him.”
Creadick served as mayor for 20 years and announced in a March State of the Town address that he did not plan to seek re-election.
As for the fact that he’s taking office during a pandemic, Hinkle said the ultimate goal is staying informed about the state’s plans and what they, as a community, can do to stay safe.
“I feel like we’ve done a really good job of kind of weighing our risk-benefit and keeping everyone as safe as possible while still trying to have some sort of normalcy, even if it’s just keeping our parks open,” he said. “We’ve done a really good job of advertising what’s allowed and what’s not allowed as far as numbers congregating and so forth.”
Broader goals for his term as mayor include a conservative budget, enhancing or expanding police coverage in town, supporting fire and rescue personnel and continuing to work on road improvements and water quality protection.
“I’ve always been a budget person,” he said, adding that he served on the budget committee for quite some time. “My goals have always been to be conservative with the budget and, you know, plan for that rainy day as far as our reserve goes. And here we are with the threat of some of the tax revenues from the state being reduced and we’re in a really good position to absorb those shortages.”
The proposed FY2021 budget also still includes a 1.5-cent reduction in the property tax.
Hinkle said there may be some tweaks made to the budget but he believes it’s well balanced and is in line with what they’ve done in the past.
Safety is also a priority. Hinkle was a firefighter/EMT with Frederick County for 20 years.
“If possible, I’d like to try and enhance police coverage in town,” he said. “We have a full-time deputy now and if we could find a way to maybe enhance or even extend the amount of time we have a deputy in town that’d be great.”
Hinkle said he knows there will be a financial impact, but he feels this is a necessary component of keeping the town the way everyone sees it now, a safe place with a small town feel.
He also wants to provide support to fire and rescue personnel to the extent possible.
“If they need help or if they need us to advocate for them so that they can spend their efforts taking care of emergencies, that’s what I think we need to do,” he said.
Hinkle said the well thought out capital improvement program is allowing them to accelerate some projects on the side streets of Myersville, now that the main street is finished.
“We have some of those planned for this year, which is good and then the next several years,” he said.
Hinkle also wants to maintain water quality in the town. Water mainly comes from a spring in the mountains.
“Our goal is to protect that water well,” he said, citing certain regulations that developers have to follow before they build in town as an example.
As far as development goes, Hinkle said Myersville has always had a small-town feel and any development is well thought out by the planning commission.
“[Developers] have to follow the rules before they’re allowed to build a house in Myersville,” he said.