Issues ranging from police service to fiscal management and development are the stuff of campaigns in 18 Prince George's County towns holding elections during the first two weeks in May. District Heights Challenge In District Heights, former mayor David H. Goldsmith is rechallenging incumbent William E. Hay, who defeated Goldsmith by 40 votes in 1983.

Goldsmith, 55, a plans and policy analyst with the Defense Department, said increasing police department pay and retirement benefits and improving leaf collection and street maintenance are his major objectives.

A former city commissioner, who served as mayor after he was appointed to replace the late E. Michael Roll in 1981, Goldstein said that the seven-officer police force has lost three officers in the two years Hay has been mayor.

He maintains that morale at the police department has been "abysmal" since Hay fired former police chief Robert Carlson in June 1983 without explanation. He also said the city's leaf collection truck broke down more than a year ago and has not been replaced.

Hay, 54, a customer service manager with AT&T, said his top priorities are renovating the Hilltop Apartment complex on District Heights Parkway and redeveloping the business district on Marlboro Pike.

A city commissioner for 11 years before being elected mayor in 1983, Hay said he intends to improve street maintenance. He said the commission has authorized $19,000 for a leaf collection truck, which is to be bought this summer.

Hay said the commission plans to increase the pay scale of all city employes, including the police, starting July 1. He would not say how much salaries would be raised, but he said, "We will bring them back in line with other municipalities in the county."

Both seats on the Town Commission are open. In Ward 1, retired Wonder Bakery Co. employe Americo Sesso faces former commissioner Kathleen (Kitty) Shoap for the seat Shoap lost by three votes to Don Martin in 1983.

Martin is retiring from the board. Sesso, who served from 1952 to 1954 as the town's first police chief, said he is running because he can now "devote enought time to do the job properly." Shoap, who said she endorses Goldsmith for mayor, said reversing the "general deterioration of the city" is her top priority.

In Ward 2, Mary Pumphrey, an office manager for the Lowry Medical Center in District Heights, is running unopposed. Contest in Colmar Manor

Colmar Manor's mayoral race is between incumbent Joseph Anthony, 43, and council member Michael R. Irwin, 33.

Anthony, a utility supervisor for Metro, was appointed by the Town Council in 1982 when former mayor Ed Mutchler retired for health reasons. Anthony was elected mayor in 1983. He said the main thrust of his campaign is to continue to improve the town's financial situation. Anthony said when he became mayor the town was "near bankruptcy" and was $775,000 in debt to the federal government.

Anthony said that he has improved the town's financial situation by negotiating a payment plan with the federal government. Anthony said he hopes to get approval soon for a five-acre shopping center in the town.

Irwin, a data processor for the D.C. police department and a first-term Town Council member, said his top priority is "sound financial management. We seem to want to constantly raise taxes, but we can get better services, such as police, trash collection and street cleaning, without raising taxes. We just need better management."

Anthony said town taxes have not been raised since 1976 and that he does not know if there will be a tax increase this year because the 1985-86 budget has not yet been prepared.

No incumbents are seeking reelection in Colmar Manor's council race. Ruth Merkle, a former council member, and Elaine Porter are vying for the Ward 1 seat, while Julianne Bethea and Pauline Sullivan are seeking the Ward 3 seat. Fairmount Heights Race

In the 1,616-resident town of Fairmount Heights, Arthur Jackson, 28, an advertising consultant who has been a council member since he was 18, is challenging Mayor Robert Gary, 74, a retired school principal who is seeking his fifth term. Jackson said his main priority is to "clean up a total mismanagement of records and files in the city. We need fresh new faces, leadership and management in the town of Fairmount Heights. Our current system of management is outdated."

Gary denies that there has been mismanagement and said he wants to "continue to improve the town."

He said he wants to see completed a development project of about 20 town houses on the west side of the city, the first such project the town has seen "in many years."

Jackson filed suit unsuccessfully last week in Prince George's County Circuit Court against Gary and the town Board of Election Supervisors to have the May 6 election postponed. In his suit, Jackson contended that the board did not give voters proper notice of the town's March 25 registration deadline.

Circuit Court Judge James M. Rea refused to grant an injunction to postpone the election. He issued a consent order requiring the town to publicize the new April 30 registration deadline and provide Jackson and other candidates with a list of registered voters.

Gary said there may have been some error on the part of the election board in publicizing the voter registration date, but he said, "There's nothing more I want than a smooth, fair election."

Five candidates are running for three seats on the Fairmount Heights council; the top three vote-getters will be seated. The candidates are incumbents Margaret Brooks, George Davis and George Wicks and challengers Roxann Morrison and Edward Morris Jr. Ballot Question in Glenarden

In Glenarden, Mayor Stanley D. Brown is being challenged after his first term by Town Council Chairman Andrew J. Ward and former council member James C. Fletcher Jr. The campaign centers on a ballot question about what type of police protection best suits the town.

Ward, 56, a retired systems analyst for the Defense Department who owns Landover Mall Liquor Store, said the town ought to rely mainly on county police rather than the current town force. That protection should be supplemented with Neighborhood Watch programs and a one- or two-person security force that would patrol town property and provide surveillance of homes, he said. He added that the town's current four-officer police department does not have high visibility and may not be cost-effective.

Fletcher, 50, a former 10-year council member who lost to Brown in the 1983 mayor's race by 24 votes, said: "We should let the professionals in the police department handle their job. Those who don't know police work should not be in charge of hiring and firing."

Fletcher, a retired computer systems analyst for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, said the town can have "a very effective police department with five officers."

Brown, 52, a council member for 10 years, said he intends to provide "the best police department we can, because the people have said they want a police department." He said he would maintain the current four-officer department, even though "it's awfully hard to hold police officers at the salaries we can afford to pay."

Voters will elect seven council members. For the two at-large seats, Marvin Wilson and incumbent Anthony Johns are unopposed.

In Ward 1, three candidates are running for two seats: Viveca Jones and incumbents Robert Blue and Jean Eason. For the two Ward 2 seats, the candidates are incumbent D. Violantha Davis and challengers Everett McMullen and James R. Cousins III. The race for the one Ward 3 seat is between former council member Louis Vaughan and Santo Chase. Hyattsville Seat to Be Filled

In Hyattsville, a contest has developed in only one of six City Council seats to be filled. That race is in Ward 3, where real estate dealer and general contractor Scott Wilson is challenging Polly Rogers, a member for 11 years. The two disagree on whether rental licenses must be obtained by landlords who rent out rooms in their homes. Wilson, who has several boarders in his house on 42nd Place, maintains that the inspection clause of the city's rental license law is unconstitutional. He has not obtained a $25 rental license, contending that the inspection powers of the town must be clarified and restricted.

The city filed suit against Wilson to force him to pay for the license, but a Prince George's Circuit Court judge dismissed the suit in January.

Rogers, a real estate agent for the Coldwell Banker company, was appointed to the council to fill a seat vacated by County Executive Parris Glendening in 1974 and was elected the next year. She said improving the city and working to bring in more development projects such as the county justice center are her top priorities.

Wilson said he wants to improve roads around future subway stops.

Other candidates in Hyattsville, all of whom are unopposed, are incumbent Douglas Dudrow in Ward 1, Anna Frankle in Ward 2, and incumbent Charles Falvey in Ward 5.

In Ward 4, Lucille Brogden is running for a four-year term currently held by Calvin McClanahan. McClanahan, a member for 10 years, is campaigning for the remaining two years of the other Ward 4 seat, vacated last month by Russell Kuhn, who moved to Bowie. Greenbelt Bond Issue Vote

Voters in Greenbelt will decide whether to support a $6 million bond issue in a special election May 14. The city charter mandates that bond sales be put to a citywide referendum.

The money would go to build a police station and a new indoor swimming pool, as well as renovate the youth center, the outdoor swimming pool, the public works building and other city improvements. 2 Vie in Cheverly Ward 3

In Cheverly, two candidates are running for the Ward 3 council seat. One candidate is acting mayor Dorothy H. Ryan, who took over in July when mayor Robert W. O'Connor, who died last week, suffered a stroke. She is being challenged by John F. Sullivan.

Ryan, 60, who has lived in the town for 21 years, has been a council member for 11 years. Sullivan, a resident of the town for eight years, is a tranportation analyst for the Navy. Cheverly Ward 1 council member Francis H. George is running unopposed for his third term. In Ward 6, Patricia J. Glaser is running unopposed. Brentwood Posts to Be Voted

The Brentwood mayoral race is between two former council members, Leonard A. Johnson Sr. and Lydia McConnell. Johnson, 76, has served on the council off and on since 1965 and was mayor for two terms. McConnell, 39, served two terms as a Ward 3 council member and has been vice mayor for the past three years.

The entire Brentwood council is up for election. In Ward 1, incumbent John Farrell is running against newcomer John P. Bennett; incumbent Robert J. Powers and first-time candidate Raquel Bywater are running in the Ward 2 race; in Ward 3, Dick Curtis and Rafael Rios are candidates, and Earl Purks is challenging incumbent Jane Moden for the Ward 4 seat. Landover Hills Contest

In the town of Landover Hills, council member Linda Smiroldo, who was appointed in February after Michael Benso resigned, is running against newcomer Dorothy Gordon for the Ward 3 seat. Richard Chinn is running uncontested in Ward 1, and incumbent Arthur James is running without opposition in Ward 2. 6 in Riverdale Unopposed

In Riverdale, Mayor Guy Tiberio and council members David Brandt, John A. Herhei, Terrance M. Sheehan, James Allen and Franklin M. Creegan are all running unopposed.

The only challenged seat in the town is in Ward 2, where newcomer Charles K. Fogle Jr. is running against incumbent Edna F. Wade. Forest Heights Competition

In Forest Heights, six-term incumbent Mayor Warren F. Adams is running unopposed in the May 8 election. Three council seats will be filled. In Ward 1, the Rev. William H. Wiggins is running against David Triantos, while Ward 2 incumbent Walter C. Forest faces Melvin E. Waters. Ward 3 incumbent John W. Bryan is unopposed. Uncontested Town Races

Other uncontested town races include:

Incumbent Carol Kline and first-time candidate Russell Butler are running for two council seats in the town of Morningside.

In New Carrollton, incumbents William McEwen, Robert M. Potter and John Temple are running to retain their at-large council seats.

In North Brentwood, Mayor Raymond A. Hall and Ward 1 council member Alfred C. Thomas are seeking reelection.

In Edmonston, first-term Mayor Paulette Horan is running unopposed, as are James McCann in Ward 1 and incumbent Richard Marion in Ward 2.