March 08, 2012TUFTONBORO — Residents who attended the Tuftonboro Association's Candidates Night on February 28 at the Tuftonboro Central School were able to ask questions of their fellow citizens running for office – in particular, the two-man race for a seat on the Board of Selectmen and the three way race for two seats on the town's Budget Committee.
Guy Pike and Lloyd Wood introduced them selves and took turns answering questions from the assembled audience of around 75 as to their purpose in running for the selectman seat currently occupied by Bill Stockman. Stockman is not running for re-election.
Pike, an independent contactor and former Navy man who worked as a submarine engine operator, said that he'd like "to reverse the attitude of contempt" that people have towards town government. To him, Tuftonboro's greatest challenge is get more people to get out and vote. With only one sixth of the population going to the polls, there are many people who are not being represented.
He does not support the latest building proposal – this time for a fire and rescue station only – for he views it as "too small and not good for the fire department." Looking ahead to the police and library space needs, Pike said that he agrees they both need more space and said that he would like to expand the police department right where it is.
When asked if he supported recycling, Pike answered that believes firmly in recycling but prefers single stream recycling, which he believes would cut down on labor costs.
As for time to fulfill the responsibilities of the job, Pike said, "I have nothing but time to devote to the workingman's plight."
In contrast, Lloyd Wood, who works as a truant officer for the school district of a per diem basis and currently serves as Vice Chairman of the Budget Committee, told the audience that he sees taxes as the most pressing challenge. He spoke in favor of seeing most issues put before the voters as a warrant article in order to give residents the opportunity to speak on both sides.
Wood has served also on the Capital Improvements Program committee and the Conservation Commission. Speaking as a 12-year member of the Fire Fighters Association and EMT, he gave a resounding yes to the question of whether he supports the proposed fire station, pointing out that the 2.15 percent finance charge makes it a good proposition for the people of Tuftonboro.
In answer to the recycling question, Wood said that recycling to him is like wearing a seat belt, you don't think about it, you just do it.
He said that his work schedule is flexible. He has been serving on town committees for a number of years.
Budget Committee candidates
Pike is also running for the Budget Committee. He was joined up front by the two others vying for the office: Gary Chehames and incumbent Ted Wright.
"I run my mouth constantly about how we spend our tax dollars," said Pike, so he thought he should step up and join the discussion in an official capacity. Ted Wright, presently chairman of the committee, billed himself as a fiscal conservative.
Chehames, who has served previously on the Conservation Commission, said that he felt "it's not fair to sit back and let other people shoulder the work," so he is offering his 25 years of experience working for Princeton University overseeing contracts, researching grants and overseeing budgets in excess of $3 million. He said he has no particular agenda, for he sees the committee as a responsive entity, therefore serving primarily as an oversight committee, but he would see it as his job to question and uncover issues that could reduce the budget.
Wright supports the warrant article for the new fire station, having voted in the affirmative along with the rest of the committee (there was one abstention).
Chehames said that he had not made up his mind personally.
A presentation by Jim Allan, Chairman of the Fire and Safety Facility Committee followed the candidates forum. Three informational meetings, including one focused on answering questions from contractors, have taken place already.
The site is on the former Gould property, now named Central Park, an 80-acre parcel with frontage along Route 109. The location, said Allan, will allow a reduced response time to serve Center Tuftonboro, the area from which 50 percent of the calls emanate.
The $2.1 million dollar facility (including furnishings and contingencies) would be financed at the lowest interest rate offered in years (2.15 percent). The cost is guaranteed by Architect Gary Goudreau and Construction Manager Andre Kloetz of Bauen Corporation. A two thirds vote is needed for the project to proceed. Allan estimates a build time of around 13 months.
Tuftonboro School Board Representative Jack Widmer announced that the construction and renovation of the Kingswood Complex, which includes the Middle and High Schools, the Lakes Region Technical School and the Kingswood Arts Center is expected to be complete by late December 2013.
The longtime school board representative encouraged residents to support the Governor Wentworth Regional School Department budget, noting that the contracts for administrators and teachers are going up just two percent after a two-year extension.
Bill Marcussen, speaking for host Tuftonboro Association, thanked Gordon Hunt for serving as moderator and the audience for coming out to hear the candidates.