Councilman Ken Fuchs falls to planning board members Justin King and John Green.
Two members of Camden's planning board will serve on the town's council following the results of the municipality's Feb. 26 election.
Justin King and John Green garnered 227 and 225 votes respectively. Incumbent Ken Fuchs received 94 votes and former council member Richard Snyder won 48 votes.
The victors will be sworn in at the town's next council meeting, Monday, March 7, and relinquish their spots on the planning board.
King and Green will take office in the wake of an unpopular budget rescue plan passed by council last fall, which balanced a $388,000 deficit by way of an 18% property tax hike and staff reductions in Town Hall and the police department.
The two men, who campaigned jointly, said the council’s top priority this spring is coming up with a budget that won’t fall short later in the fiscal year.
“We passed an unbalanced budget this year and on top of that some of council voted for an 18% tax hike, that’s on top of a pervious tax hike,” Green said. “There’s been no planning for the future, there’s no watchdog there. I think that’s what we’ll do.”
Green and King said they intend to propose suspending the payment of stipends to council members, the mayor and members of other public boards.
“Town employees are actually losing jobs and they’re taking pay cuts. Temporarily, since we’re the councilmen, [stipends are] something we need to give up,” King said.
According to a town ordinance, council members receive $375 per quarter and the mayor receives $500 per quarter, whether they attend scheduled meetings or not. Members of the town planning board, board of adjustment and the Camden Wyoming Sewer and Water Authority receive $75 for each meeting they attend.
“Right now I think it’s perceived as you get paid to go to a meeting,” Green said. “We did this out a need or a feeling for civic duty; we’ve got something to say, you don’t need to pay us to say it.”
Green, 51, is a relative newcomer to Camden, having moved to the town from Dover about two years ago after opening a craft and gift store, Delaware Bay Trading Company.
King, 28, has just five months of planning board service under his belt and is new to Camden town government. But, his roots in the community go back four generations.
A former police officer, King now helps run Carl King Tire, Kent Oil, Kent Landscaping and the Camden Carwash, all businesses owned by his family.
Camden’s four council members serve staggered three-year terms. The mayor serves a two-year term.