February 26, 2014LITTLETON — Unlike last year, the town has a contested election for the board of selectmen. Current chairman Mike Gilman filed for re-election. He will face Rudy Gelsi on the March 11 ballot.
"A lot of people encouraged me to run," Gilman said on Friday. He added that a sense of duty has driven him to serve on the board as a means to give back. "I've gotten a lot from this town," Gilman continued, "I love the people up here."
An efficient town government is one of Gilman's continuing goals, he said. "My objective on the board is to make sure we get the best bang for the buck," Gilman noted
Gilman finds strong leadership from his fellow selectmen, Vice Chairman Milt Bratz and Marghie Seymour. "We've got a good team," Gilman said. "This is not a one-man show."
Gilman likes the varying range of opinions the selectmen receive during meetings. The diverse personalities on town committees are also valuable, the chairman said. The give and take at meetings "brings forward a certain intellectual honesty in decision making," Gilman added.
Input from residents is vital to the selectmen, Gilman said. "The voter is king," he continued. "A select board is not a dictatorship. If it was, I would be the first one with the pitchfork," he said.
Gilman said the town can have a good balance between a reasonable tax rate and necessary services. He supports the bond proposal for a new town garage, as well as the two warrant articles to begin turning plans for the river district into reality.
"We need to broaden our tax base," Gilman said. He would like to see additional industrial expansion in town. Gilman hopes the future will allow the town to create "a broader selection of ways to make a living." This would create a better environment for young families. "Our biggest export is our kids," Gilman noted.
The future for town is bright, Gilman added. He has always enjoyed the feeling that Littleton is "a can do town." The chairman expects to be in Littleton for the duration. "Until the Lord takes me home," Gilman said, "I'm staying."
Rudy Gelsi currently serves the town as a member of the budget committee. He is a frequent attendee of other town meetings. He has based his campaign for selectmen on the idea of increasing the town's interaction with residents. Gelsi promises that if he is made a selectman, he will "communicate with the people of Littleton."
"This is my passion, to talk to people," Gelsi continued.
Gelsi suggests the town can lower its tax burden. "The economy is so fragile right now," Gelsi said. He believes the current tax burden "is unacceptable to the majority of people." He says a primary goal for him would be to "focus on where the money is spent."
Gelsi promised to use his seat on the board to increase residents' feeling that they have a stake in the town's future. "I will use my energy for them," Gelsi suggested.
The proposal for a new town garage, Gelsi believes, can wait another year or two. He suggested the town would be able to decrease the cost of the structure while also replacing the garage in the near future.
Gelsi also expressed opposition to the two warrant articles pertaining to river district improvements. He said the commission that has recommended the articles includes good people who have a commendable amount of energy. However, Gelsi noted that the final costs of river district changes are unknown, and this troubles him. "My concern is about tomorrow," he said.
He senses a certain level of animosity between some residents. Gelsi hopes to see more positive collaboration as a means to unite the town.
New perspectives are "always good for the community," Gelsi believes. "I like to talk to people," he continued. Gelsi said is running to improve the lives of town residents. "I want to make them feel comfortable to live in Littleton," he said. "I can be the voice for them," Gelsi concluded, regarding his goal to hear perspective and act for residents.