OCEAN CITY – While Election Day won’t come until October for several local council members and hopefuls, at least one elected official has her eye on the prize for the next four years.
City Council member Mary Knight filed with the City Clerk’s office Tuesday, kicking off her campaign for City Council for the upcoming election.
Knight was elected to a two-year term in 2006, after the votes revealed her as the fourth highest recipient of votes, securing her a two-year seat on the City Council. By virtue of her fourth-place finish, Knight served the remaining two years of Rick Meehan’s council term after he was ran for mayor.
This year, four spots will be available on the City Council, as Council members Nancy Howard, Knight, Jay Hancock and Jim Hall are all up for election this year. The filing date is Sept. 23 with the election on Oct. 21.
To date, only two people have filed, Knight and Sean Rox, who according to the City Clerk, filed in November 2007.
After filing on Tuesday, Knight highlighted her reasons this week for running again in an interview with The Dispatch.
“The major reason is because I absolutely love it. I love the constituents and I love serving them. It’s a great way to serve the community and I have truly enjoyed being a part of the council,” she said.
In her public service career here in the resort, Knight has served on the Ocean City Grievance Committee and as the Labor Commissioner. As a council member, she currently serves on the Tourism and Coastal Resources Committees.
Knight mentioned a few issues that concern her for the next four years, from tourism to the budget.
“In January, we’re definitely going to see lower tax assessments for the city,” she said, adding that as a result, revenue for the town will go down.
With the coffers not being quite as full, Knight hopes to find ways to bolster tourism dollars, despite a predictably tighter budget.
“I think it’s really crucial that we keep that tourism dollar up. We have to continue those proactive efforts to keep the tourism dollar up,” Knight said.
Areas of the budget, particularly relative to energy costs and tax differential, are also on Knight’s radar. Knight applauded the FY09 budget, which was the closest to the constant yield tax rate that the budget has been in 20 years, despite rising energy costs and mandated accounting practices regarding retirement and health benefits.
“I think energy costs are extremely, extremely important,” she said, maintaining her support for alternate energy sources from natural gas to wind farms to offshore drilling to an increased use of fuel-efficient vehicles.
“It’s really important for us to continue with the tax differential, we broached the subject this year and we were able to get more money from Worcester County in the form of grants,” she said. “It’s critical that this upcoming council continues that.”
Keeping an eye on the town’s comprehensive plan will remain a priority as well, despite the current lull in development, said Knight. “We all know building is going to come back and we have to be conscious of commercial versus residential,” she said.
Looking back on the last two years on the City Council, Knight says she has enjoyed it all, with hopes to continue for another four years.
“I want to be consistent. It’s been a phenomenal two years, it’s just been so enlightening, so much fun, I’ve enjoyed meeting all the people,” she said.