Camden voters to decide on mayor, town council

CAMDEN — As Camden residents go to the polls Feb. 29, they have a lot of choices. Five candidates are vying for three seats to represent the town.

Their neighbors in Wyoming will be doing the same Feb. 29, when voters will find three residents on the ballot seeking to fill the two council spots open for election.

In Camden, Tracy Torres and Larry Dougherty Sr. are running for mayor, while Michael Schock, Daniel Woodall and Mark Girty are vying for two council positions.

The Camden mayor will serve a two-year term, elected council members three-year terms.

Residents can vote from noon to 8 p.m. at Camden Town Hall at 1783 Friends Way.

Absentee ballots are available. For more information, call the town at 697-2299 or go online to camden.delaware.gov.

MAYOR

Name: Larry Dougherty Sr.

Age: 73

Profession: Retired since June 2010 from the Maryland Transit Administration, was manager of operations planning and scheduling.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.

How long lived in Camden: Since July 1, 2010.

Name: Tracy Torres

Age: 42

Profession: Own ARTT Studio 4 Hair in Wyoming and work as a licensed hair stylist.

Education: Studied Business Management

How long have you lived in Camden: Since 2005.

Previous elected offices: Currently, vice mayor. Camden Town Council since 2014.

Family: Married 16 years with two girls.

Why do you want to become mayor?

DOUGHERTY: Going on the council, in a town almost bankrupt after a major embezzlement, we worked to rebuild a financial reserve, now just over $2 million. I would like to see this preserved to benefit town residents. I believe the best way to accomplish that would be to get the $2.5 million mortgage paid off, which should take two to three years to accomplish.

I also support, no billboards, no tax increase, no payments to elected or appointed town board members and controlled limited growth in Camden.

TORRES: I have served the people of Camden since 2009 in an official capacity. Prior to becoming involved in politics, I worked relentlessly to get Thomas Harmon Drive closed in Newell’s Creek in one direction. I started that along with a handful of residents in 2007 and accomplished it in May 2011.

With the growth coming to town and my dedication to doing what’s best for the residents, I felt it was time to step up. Many things need updating to properly manage the growth in Camden.

What are the most important issues to Camden’s future?

DOUGHERTY: Because of the surprise new apartment construction in town, we will soon have to have another police officer. The town budget is now $2.1 million and could be reduced by $160,000 (about $120,000 in annual interest) if the town hall mortgage were paid off. This savings would fund a police officer and required benefits plus provide a surplus to assure that a tax increase would not be required for several years. The key here is to achieve the mortgage payoff while maintaining some reasonable level of cash reserves.

Beside finances, our largest concern is code enforcement to maintain and protect our town. We need prompt and strong enforcement of current ordinances.

TORRES: Managing growth is most important. Currently, we have just less than 200 apartments coming. The town is not prepared for this. Traffic is ridiculous, schools are overcrowded and our police department has had limited manpower for years. With growth comes crime.

Camden has challenges ahead. If elected, I will do my best to protect the small town, historic feel residents enjoy. Residents are concerned and I will keep them informed.

Anything else to add?

TORRES: I served on the Camden-Wyoming Sewer & Water Authority board from 2009-2014.

I will host a meet and greet at Grotto’s in Camden on Feb. 27 from 5-7 p.m. Pizza and soda provided. I would love to answer any questions or hear concerns.

COUNCIL

(Two spots open)

Name: Michael Schock

Age: 57

Occupation: Dover High teacher 29 years.

Education: Master’s in School Leadership.

How long lived in Camden: 23 years.

Previous elected offices: Camden Town Council.

Family: Wife, daughter and son.

Name: Daniel Woodall

Age: 45

Occupation: President/Chemist of High Tide Lab Company.

Education: Drexel University Master of Science.

How long have you lived in Camden: 40 years.

Previous elected offices: None.

Family: Wife and son.

Why do you want to serve on town council?

SCHOCK: I enjoy contributing as a volunteer to the betterment of the town of Camden and working towards solving the issues that face us in the future.

WOODALL: Serving on Camden’s Town Council will afford me the opportunity to see that Camden stays true to its roots.

What are the most important issues to Camden’s future?

SCHOCK: Expanding our police department to handle the growth of our town. To find another competent town manager to handle our day-to-day after a well-earned retirement.

To continue to maintain our balanced budget we have worked so hard to establish.

WOODALL: In my opinion, important issues are making sure the police and fire departments have all the resources they need to keep our townspeople safe and developing relationships with state departments and business entities that may help Camden in the future.

Anything else to add?

WOODALL: I am a current board member of the Camden-Wyoming Water & Sewer Authority.

Note – Attempts to reach candidate Mark Girty were unsuccessful.