Where do you want to fly?
HANCOCK — Hancock voters will choose a mayor and two town council members Monday.
The election comes at a time when the western Washington County town is seeking a new town manager and preparing plans for a new wastewater treatment plant.
In the mayoral race, first-term incumbent Ralph Salvagno will face Nigel Dardar in a rematch of the 2017 campaign. In that election, Salvagno received 269 votes and Dardar garnered 54.
Hancock mayors serve two-year terms, while council members are elected to four-year stints.
The top two vote-getters among the council hopefuls will take office. The race features two incumbents, Levi Little and Tim Smith, along with David Kerns, Preston Hall and Roland Lanehart Jr.
Voting will take place Monday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Town Hall at 126 W. High St.
The following is a look at each candidate:
• Nigel Dardar, 71, is retired and a former Hancock Town Council member. He said he has come to love the town after moving here.
“I truly love Hancock, the citizens, the families, the kids, the recreation,” he said.
Dardar said the town manager should be a member of ICMA, which bills itself as “the world’s leading association of professional city and county managers and other employees who serve local governments.”
Among his major concerns, he said, is the number of motorists who drive through town while using cellphones. Maryland law prohibits the use of hand-held devices while driving.
During his council stint, he attended “multiple meetings” of other governmental bodies to learn how they addressed their problems, he said.
• Ralph Salvagno, 63, is retired as an orthopedic surgeon, but remains involved with Meritus Medical Center near Hagerstown as its chief of staff.
He served on the Hancock Town Council before being elected mayor two years ago.
Salvagno said he has worked to address the town’s long-range issues and deal with residents’ immediate problems as they arise. He also said he has worked to help the town establish relationships with area, state and national governmental and civic leaders.
An important priority, he said, will be hiring a town manager.
“This is not an easy job to fill. We need someone who can do the administrative work as well as the operational work,” Salvagno said.
He also said the town can build its future on “certain things that are not going to change,” such as the presence of the Potomac River, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park and the Western Maryland Rail Trail.
• David Kerns, 50, works as a building inspector.
“We’re at a crossroads,” Kerns said of Hancock.
In recent decades, the town lost three major employers — London Fog, Fleetwood Travel Trailers and Rayloc Co. Kerns estimated 1,200 jobs were lost.
“We have to change our method of thinking” to bring in new residents and new businesses, he said. He suggested the town first should work with local businesses to help them grow, then reach out to other enterprises that could locate in town.
• Roland Lanehart Jr., 49, runs Roland’s Garage and Used Cars in Hancock.
He said he would focus on financial responsibility.
“I know what it takes to run a business in a small town with limited resources and funds,” he said, noting that he would “spend the citizens’ money like it is my own.”
He said he would work with other agencies and arms of government “to continue to steer Hancock in the right direction.”
• Levi Little, 36, is finishing his first term on the council.
He has been a volunteer with the Hancock Rescue Service and works as a professional firefighter and paramedic in Maryland.
“I will be an advocate for our community’s best interests,” Little said, pointing to projects such as the sewer treatment plant and the need to fill the town manager slot and open positions on the police force.
Speaking of the cost of the sewage treatment plant, he said he has “been working to lessen the financial burden” on Hancock’s residents.
• Tim Smith, 42, said he first was elected to the council 12 years ago. He runs Smith’s Auction Service and works at Harvest of Maryland.
He said he has tried to be responsive to Hancock residents and their concerns and to be “up front and honest” in tackling the town’s issues during his time on the council.
“(Voters) just want a good, honest, hard-working guy,” he said. “I go to work like everyone else. … I’m not a suit-and-tie guy.”
• Preston Hall also is seeking election as a council member.
Hall, 65, contacted Herald-Mail Media after the deadline for print in Sunday’s newspaper.
“I’ll try to put a Walmart in Hancock, or a Lowe’s (home-improvement store) or a Home Depot,” he said in a telephone interview Sunday afternoon.
“I’d try to bring the apple festival back,” he added.
Editor’s note: This story was updated Jan. 27 to include comments from council candidate Preston Hall.