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Voters Approve Annexation Measure 12-9 For City Water

November 27, 1993

CHARLESTOWN MANOR, Md. (AP) _ Olga Ganderton awoke from a nightmare Friday, thinking she had forgotten to vote. Little wonder it was heavy on her mind. The only polling place opened in her garage at 7 a.m.

Half of her two-car garage was the site for Charlestown Manor’s own Black Friday - the day sometimes bitterly divided voters voted 12-9 in favor of being annexed by nearby Charlestown to get city water.

Mrs. Ganderton, who was the fifth voter, offered her garage as part of her civic duty. It didn’t hurt that she supported the annexation.

″They had nowhere to go and they had to be on some property to be annexed so I offered my garage,″ she said.

Stanley M. Hearne, Charlestown town administrator, said Cecil County and the state had approved the site.

″It’s a routine voting process,″ said Pete Williams, supervisor of the Charlestown Board of Elections. He recalled the last time the annexation vote was taken in the late 1980s it was in a recreational vehicle.

The garage was certainly big enough for the 25 eligible voters. But it was a long, cold day for poll workers in this community in the northeastern corner of Maryland. Mrs. Ganderton’s gas grill provided a little heat. Every so often, a door had to be opened to clear the garage of fumes and smoke.

″It’s like years ago when you only had those pot-bellied stoves to keep you warm,″ Mrs. Ganderton said.

By noon, 13 people had cast paper ballots in a wooden box and election judge Esther Heisler used the handle of a fly swatter to keep the ballots pushed down.

The issue of annexation had so divided the unincorporated neighborhood that some residents who opposed the move were taking their time about voting.

″I’m going to wait and let them freeze as long as I can,″ said Bill Schreffler, Mrs. Ganderton’s nephew, who lives two doors away. He and his wife, Debbie voted at 12:30 p.m.

The Schrefflers said their well was one of the better ones in the neighborhood and they didn’t want to be annexed to get city water.

″I don’t want to live here in the town and pay county taxes and town taxes,″ Mrs. Schreffler said. ″There are too many rules and regulations with the town.″

Dorathy Fulmer, 76, who lives next door to Mrs. Ganderton, was also taking her time about voting. She, too, opposed annexation, although her water is so bad she won’t drink it or wash clothes in it.

″I’d love to have the water, but not under those conditions. We’re on fixed incomes,″ she said.

Residents were facing about $600 in one-time fees for the hookup and minimum quarterly water bills of $64.50, Hearne said.

Mildred Hutchison, whose husband Walter helped lead the annexation drive, said she was willing to pay the extra money for decent water.

″I know comforts are going to cost you a little bit more, but we’re willing to pay it,″ Mrs. Hutchison said. ″You sympathize with the other ones if they have a beautiful well. But we don’t have a good well.″

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