READY FOR VOTERS. While selectmen met at the Town House Moderator Dan Barnard and Town Clerk Heather Cubeddu were ready to manage the polls on election day. (Elissa Paquette photo) (click for larger version)
March 15, 2012REGION — Most towns reported light voter turnouts in town elections on Tuesday, March 13, and overall there were not many surprises.
The biggest surprise was in the only race on the Governor Wentworth Regional School District ballot. Tim Eldridge beat incumbent Ernie Brown for the Member-at-Large three-year term 1508-956: Brown, who successfully managed the Kingswood project as head of the Building Committee, won only in his home town of Brookfield.
All other school district candidates ran unopposed. In addition, all nine school district warrant articles, including the operating budget, were approved by margins of at least 60 percent.
Results in individual towns follow.
In Wolfeboro, where the turnout was 29 percent, voters approved spending $200,000 for repairs and improvements to Town Hall by a vote of 752-589. At the same time voters rejected a petition proposal to move town employees out of the building into leased space by a vote of 442-863. Three other articles were also defeated: Article 10, the Group Home Overlay District ordinance, lost 531-746; Article 26, the Asset Management Plan, failed 500-784; and petition Article 31, asking for a Long-Term Municapl Building Plan, was rejected 501-765. All other articles were approved, including the six bonded articles that needed a minimum approval of 60 percent. The bonded article with the narrowest margin was Article 16, Water Meter Upgrades, which was approved by 62 percent of voters, 825-511.
The most interesting result on the Wolfeboro ballot were voter responses to the non-binding survey submitted by petition as Article 30. In answer to five questions, voters narrowly rejected restoring Brewster Hall to serve as town offices by a vote of 627-680, while decisively rejecting building new town offices, 518-756,and leasing space for town offices, 422-812. Of the three means of funding rehabilitation of Brewster Hall, voters narrowly favored a combination of taxpayer and private funds, 622-598, while voting against sole taxpayer funding, 215-906, and sole private funding, 497-603. Selling Brewster Hall had strong appeal but fell short by a 583-679 vote.
There were two contested positions for elective office. Joe Balboni was re-elected as Police Commissioner, finishing ahead of challenger John R. White, 613-520. John Thurston and Vaune Dugan won the two Planning Board seats on votes of 705 and 704 respectively, edging out Fred Tedeschi, who finished with 668 votes. Matt Krause won the one-year Budget Committee position with 83 write-in votes against 19 for Don Faul.
Among the uncontested Wolfeboro positions, Town Moderator Randy Walker won the highest number of votes (1219) followed by Town Treasurer John Burt (1141), Trustee of Trust Funds Mary O'Brien (1131) and Supervisor of the Checklist Barbara Hunt (1130). John Burt, Bob Moholland and Harold Parker were re-elected to three-year terms on the Budget Committee, and Mike Hodder was elected and Candy Thayer re-electedLibrary Trustees for three years.
In Tuftonboro Lloyd Wood survived a strong challenge from Guy Pike for Bill Stockman's selectman's seat, winning 306-238. Pike also fell short in the three-way race for two Budget Committee positions, receiving 211 votes against 431 for incumbent Ted Wright and 289 for Gary Chehames. In uncontested positions, Sue Weeks was elected Trustee of Trustee Funds and Cemetery Trustee, Dan Barnard was re-elected Moderator, Gordon Hunt was elected Library Trustee and Marianne Marcussen was elected a Supervisor of the Checklist.
All three zoning amendments passed.
In Brookfield town elections were followed at 7 p.m. by Town Meeting. There were no contested positions in the election and no zoning amendments were presented. Richard Zacher was elected to fill the selectman's position being vacated by Ernie Brown with 96 votes. Dr. William Marsh was re-elected Moderator with 104 votes. Marilyn Bushman was elected Cemetery Trustee with 103 votes and Auditor with 102 votes. Adeline Russo was elected Supervisor of the Checklist with 103 votes. There were two open positions on the Planning Board: Geary Ciccarone was the only candidate on the ballot and received 79 votes. Rob Collins won the second position as a write-in candidate with 4 votes.
Brookfield Town Meeting was one of the shortest in recent history. All 12 warrant articles were approved by voice vote. There was only one amendment proposed from the floor. Under Article 13, the town budget, Frank Frazier proposed reducing selectmen's salaries from $15,000 ($5,000 per selectman) to $7,500 ($2,500 per selectman). He argued that surrounding towns pay less to their selectmen and that when voters approved a raise from $2,000 per selectman to $5,000 the motion was misunderstood: the motion was to raise the total salaries by $3,000, from $2,000 per selectman to $3,000; instead voters approved increasing each selectman's salary by $3,000. There was some dispute about the motion made, but most spoke against the amendment. Brad Williamson pointed out that when he was selectman years ago the salary was $800 and selectmen do much more now than he did then. Former Selectman Bob Russo agreed with Williamson and his wife Adeline pointed out that Brookfield selectmen have no staff and do many things selectmen in other towns do not do as a result. She also stated flatly that selectmen's salaries were a small part of the budget and "a tiny amount for all the aggravation selectmen receive." The amendment was defeated soundly on a voice vote and the original operating budget of $608,687 ($19,587 less than 2011) was approved.
In Wakefield Charlie Edwards outpolled Jerry O'Connor in the selectman contest, 351-322. Stephen Royle prevailed over fellow alternate Richard DesRoches for the open planning board position, 464-129. In the only other contested position, Angie Casperonis was elected Tax Collector over Roberta Takis by a 483-158 vote. All remaining positions were uncontested: Dino Scala was elected Moderator; Laurel Morrill was elected Treasurer; Nancy Bancroft was elected Supervisor of the Checklist ; Dave Mankus was elected Trustee of Trust Funds ; Mankus and A. Kenney were elected to the Budget Committee; David Stevens was elected Assessor; and David Tibbetts was elected Cemetery Trustee.
All of the 28 warrant articles were approved by voters. The article that won by the largest margin was Article 23 authorizing the town to enter into a 99-year lease with the Wakefield Food Pantry for one acre of town land and allowing the pantry to build a building on the land: that passed by a vote of 582-95. The closest vote was for Article 27, establishing an Agricultural Commission, which passed on a 325-292 vote, a margin of 33 votes.
In Wakefield school voting, Vivian Macedo and Steve Brown were elected to three-year terms by 385 and 332 votes respectively. Incumbent Judy Nason won re-election to a one-year term with 493 votes. In uncontested races Rick Sager won Moderator; Kim O'Connor was elected Treasurer; and Deborah Gautier was elected Clerk. The 11 other articles on the school warrant all passed.
Tuftonboro held its Town Meeting on Wednesday evening after press time. Full details of that meeting as well as detailed results of March 13 voting in the four towns will be published next week.