Camden Town Councilman Larry Dougherty earned the right to keep his seat by winning 87 percent of the vote in the Camden Municipal Election held Saturday.
Dougherty defeated challenger Richard Snyder 101 to 15, Camden Mayor W.G. Edmanson said, citing unofficial poll results.
Dougherty was appointed to council in March 2012. He filed to run for his first political election in order to remain part of the turnaround within the town in light of the embezzlement scandal that besieged Camden more than a year ago. In that time, council had stepped up its oversight of town finances and separated the positions of town manager and finance director.
Snyder, a former councilman for the town of Camden, filed mainly to give voters a choice and ensure Dougherty earned the seat this time around. The local handyman and building inspector had pledged to also be a watchdog for taxpayers.
Dougherty said he was surprised by the margin of victory, although town residents had told him to expect it given the home support he was expected to receive from his neighborhood, the retirement community of Barclay Farms.
“Barclay Farms people are among the highest percentage vote goers in the town,” Dougherty said. “But I was rather surprised by the actual turnout. I know Richard Snyder. I’ve even had him do some work on my house. I thought it would be closer to that. I’m very honored that some of the people in town think that much of me.”
Snyder, for his part, said he was not surprised by the rout given Barclay Farms’ active role in local politics.
“More people vote from Barclay Farms than anywhere else in Camden,” he said. “Unless I move into Barclay Farms I don’t have a chance of winning. But he needed to earn it and he did. I had to make him work for it.”
With his win in hand, Dougherty is scheduled to be sworn in for his new term at the next council meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday. For council's agenda go to Camden's website.
Dougherty said he and the rest of council would continue to watch taxpayers' funds.
“I’ve always felt that was the key – to keep track of dollars and cents and where they go,” Dougherty said. “Benjamin Franklin said, watch out for the pennies; the dollars take care of themselves.”
Council is entering negotiations with the Camden Police Department and it has to renew the garbage collection contract, Dougherty said. He wants to ensure town employees are compensated but he also wants to keep costs and taxes down.
Page 2 of 2 - In February, Dougherty recommended that $125,500 be transferred from the town's money market account for budget expenses to its savings account to bring the latter to an even $500,000. That would give Camden three months' worth of expenses put away with enough money left to cover the balance of the $1.9 million 2013 fiscal year budget's expenses, he said.
“We’re trying to save some money and the town is getting into a position where it can put a little cushion in the bank. It’s a rainy day fund that we can fall back on.”