Following a year of resignations and interim appointments, the Lovettsville Town Council is once again at full strength.
The town’s Feb. 5 special election saw Buchanan Smith and Councilman David Steadman elected to fill council terms expiring June 2020 and June 2022, respectively.
Smith, 42, received 160 votes, beating out interim Councilwoman Rebekah Ontiveros by only three votes. Steadman, 39, received 219 votes in an uncontested race, with another 70 write-in votes recorded. Of the town’s 1,647 registered voters, 319 made it out to the polls—about 19 percent overall.
Ontiveros said that she would send her campaign representative to view Wednesday’s results canvassing to see if a recount is warranted.
Moving forward, Smith, a six-year town resident and Gulfstream 4 pilot, said that he wants to look at ways to improve the town’s utility system by making it more efficient, look at increasing water and sewer availability and connection fees within reason, and find a way to get the town-wide transportation study fully funded, with the goal of improving the town’s road system and installing additional parking in the downtown area.
Smith, who served two years on the Planning Commission, said that he’s already attended many Town Council meetings in the past few months and all of the council’s budget work sessions. “I’ve been taking notes so that I can better hit the ground running,” he said.
Smith said that he’s also focused on combatting the “toxic atmosphere” that he said has fallen over the entire country and has seeped into small towns like Lovettsville in recent years. “I’d like to use this election and move forward from that,” he said. “Let’s move forward and let’s take a look at really focusing on ousting that.”
Steadman, a 10-year town resident who works as a director of application development, has served on the Town Council since Oct. 18, when he was appointed, along with Ontiveros, to temporarily fill vacancies left by the Sept. 6 resignations of Mike Senate and Renee Edmonston.
Steadman said that he would be focused on not just balancing the town budget, but also ensuring that the town has sustainable growth and a diverse revenue stream.
To do that, he wants to ensure that the town has adequate reserves and wants to evaluate the priority of capital improvement projects so the town doesn’t accrue more debt than it can pay off. “The town has one job—provide core service water, sewer and trash to its residents,” he said.
Steadman said that his 19 years of management experience taught him how to treat people from all walks of life.
“We all can have differences, but we also need to learn to listen,” he said. “As a leader, sometimes you need to listen without already having a reply.”
The Lovettsville Town Council is comprised of Smith, Steadman, Mayor Nate Fontaine, Vice Mayor Jim McIntyre and Councilmen Mike Dunlap, Matthew Schilling and Chris Hornbaker.
This time last year, only McIntyre and Fontaine were serving on the council. From January to October 2018, four councilmembers stepped down, four interim councilmembers were appointed and a new mayor and four new councilmembers were elected.