Seven candidates enter Kennett Square Borough Council race
● By Steven Hoffman
There are seven candidates—four Democrats and three Republicans—who have already filed for the primary election in May. With four seats up for election, all those who have filed for the primary election may earn a spot on the general election ballot, but voters will have some difficult choices to make come November, when seven or eight candidates will be vying for four seats on council.
Borough council president Dan Maffei is seeking his third term on council. Maffei, Matthew McGill, and Gregory Deveney are all Republicans who have filed for the primary election.
LaToya Myers, Ethan Cramer, Peter Waterkotte, and Brenda Mercomes are making a bid for the Democratic nomination. Myers and Cramer both currently serve on Kennett Square Borough Council after being appointed to fill vacancies at the start of 2016.
One incumbent council member, Geoff Bosley, decided not to seek another term this year. During his tenure, Bosley has served on the borough's Finance and Budget Committee, which has kept a tight rein on expenditures.
Maffei pointed to the stewardship of the borough's financial resources as a reason that he is seeking a third term on council. He first ran for council in 2009, when the borough was still grappling with the effects of the Great Recession.
“In my time on council, we have weathered and thrived through the Great Recession. We have paid down debt inherited from previous administrations and built up a small cash reserve that did not exist before,” Maffei wrote in an email about his candidacy. “We sought and secured numerous grants to rebuild streets and sidewalks, upgraded our Public Works facility to its new location. We attracted new, thriving businesses to town with major private capital improvements that have bolstered our tax base without burdening the school district.”
Maffei said that two large developments, Victory Brewing and Magnolia Place, expanded the borough's tax base without adding new students to the school district. Borough officials have also maintained communications with developers interested in the former NVF site to ensure that the borough gets the best improvements possible for residents as a result of that property being developed.
“Communications with our neighboring townships have improved dramatically and we are collaborating on common issues more effectively than ever before,” Maffei added. “I also personally spearheaded the successful effort to replace the Historical Commission and Architectural Review Board with the more streamlined and less onerous Historic Preservation Ordinance to protect the small town fabric that residents and visitors have come to know and love about Kennett Square.”
According to Cramer, his experiences since being appointed to fill a vacancy on council have helped him see firsthand how elected officials can serve their constituents.
“I've come to understand the meaning of representative democracy on a whole new level this year,” he said. “I'm proud to have sponsored our anti-discrimination ordinance, which itself came from the Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs that I initiated. I've taken an active role in emphasizing community policing and in the search for the new police chief, and I've worked hard to support Kennett Fire Company No. 1 as our region works through an emergency services re-organization plan.
“It's been a remarkably active year in council, and I've often taken the lead on behalf of the constituents who need us to function well as a local government. I feel the pressure to take real action that makes life better here and, though it sounds like a cliché, I do feel honored that I get to be at the table speaking for people I care about in a town I love.”
In addition to the council races, this is also the year that the mayoral race will take place in Kennett Square. Well-respected Kennett Square mayor Matthew Fetick is seeking a third term in that position. As of the time that this issue went to press, Fetick was the only one included on the county’s list of candidates for mayor for the primary election. That list of candidates is still unofficial.
The primary election will take place on May 16.