Three names on Belmont ballot for selectman seat
March 03, 2010BELMONT — Board of Selectmen incumbent Jon Pike is being challenged by two candidates, one of whom nearly won when he ran two years ago.
Fifteen votes separated Wade Burchell from Ron Cormier, currently board chair, back in 2008. Burchell said he did not run last year, because he wanted to support David Morse's candidacy.
"I thought David Morse was a good fit, so I selectively decided to run this year," Burchell said.
Burchell said he can bring a skill set to the board that may be more useful than Pike's and would bring balance to the board. He said the other catalyst that prompted him to run is that he was asked to do so by several businesspeople in town.
"I bring a good business discipline to the table," he said.
Burchell works for EaglePicher Technologies as the director of aircraft sales. The company manufactures aircraft and weapon system power supplies and cells. He is also the owner of Shady Oak Apartments.
As a businessman, Burchell said he could help the board make business-minded decisions. For example, he said that since the town changes its waste removal contract, a lot of businesses had to get new accounts. He said he would have worked with the new company to try to get better rates for the businesses, which wouldhave benefited all parties.
Burchell also pointed to warrant article that would purchase the Northway Bank property, which the selectmen have endorsed. He said he wouldn't spend the money before first getting the building appraised, and then having a plan laid out, in detail, for its future use.
"I just don't think it's been handled properly," he said. "We've got to do things smart. This is an example of why I'm running."
Burchell supported the Economic Development Committee, which has "gone by the wayside" and is something he'd like to see up and running again.
He said that if he's elected, he will make himself available to residents by putting a direct link to his email on the town Web site, and he'll always listen to questions, concerns and comments.
"It's not what I want to do, it's what the people want to do," he said.
Burchell has two daughters, ages 11 and 13, who live in Pennsylvania. He has a plane at Laconia Airport so he can visit often.
"I make that my mode of transportation," he said.
Incumbent Jon Pike said he'd like to stay on as selectmen because he feels the current board is balanced. Morse is the accountant who questions the numbers, Cormier is an administrator who questions policies, and Pike is the "grassroots" member.
"I question the reality of it," he said.
Furthermore, Pike said, the fact that he's already served three years is beneficial to the town.
"I think that you need some cohesiveness in local government," he said.
Knowledge comes from being involved, he said, and he is better able to make informed decisions now that he is aware of policies and procedures and is current on town matters.
"The first year (as selectman) was a real education," he said.
In the past three years, Pike said he feel the selectmen have done well in putting money back into the town. He's proud of the work that's been done on the roads, and in transitioning the water and sewer departments to the oversight of the highway department.
If the Northway Bank property purchase does pass next week, Pike said the board would take it one step at a time to ensure the building is used most effectively, and without overburdening taxpayers.
"We have to keep thinking ahead," he said.
Pike is the selectmen's representative to the Planning Board and served on that board for six years prior to becoming selectman. He is the owner of Jon Pike's Service and Sales, and through that is able to connect with the community.
"The locals come up to me a lot," he said.
The lifelong resident has a daughter and son who both live in town.
"I enjoy serving the town," Pike said. "I'd just like to thank the people for putting their trust in me."
Calls to candidate Douglas Trottier were not returned.
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