FROM THE TOWN ADMINSTRATOR’S Desk
By Gregory T. Federspiel
Town Election day is set for Tuesday May 15th. The polls will be open from 7AM until 8PM in the gymnasium at the Memorial Elementary School. All registered voters are urged to head to the polls to choose 8 town elected officials as well as to decide whether to approve a one year capital exclusion to help fund the reconstruction of the Central Street dam and culvert.
Voters at the Annual Town Meeting approved the funding for the work on the dam (seawall) and stone arch culvert next to Seaside 1 on Central Street. Because the funding involves a capital exclusion, voters must also approve the funding by ballot at the town election. The requested funding is about the same amount that our debt exclusion is being reduced for next year thus the total amount of excluded funding remains the same. (Excluded funds are voter approved expenditures that fall outside the confines of proposition 2 ½ .) The funds will be combined with a state grant of $500,000 we have received. In awarding the grant, the state noted that the Central Street bridge is in the most dire condition of any small bridge in Essex County! Additional grant funds are being pursued to fund the project which could cost in the range of $1.5 million.
This approach of using capital exclusions will likely continue as a way to fund our infrastructure projects without resorting to new borrowing. Last year voters approved a capital exclusion of $300,000 for the purchase and conversion of our streetlights to more efficient LED lights under a similar strategy – approving a new capital exclusion for a like amount of newly retired debt exclusion.
Of course, the main attraction of the Town Election ballot is the list of elected offices to be filled. Eight officials will be elected. The offices and the candidates on the ballot are: Housing Authority: (1 position) Beth Heisey & Allen Craige McCoy; Library Trustee (1 position) Richard Rogers; Moderator: Alan Wilson; Planning Board (2 yrs): (1 position) Christopher Olney & Mary Foley; Planning Board (3yrs): (2 positions) Loren Coons & Christine Delisio; School Committee (1 position) Shannon O’Brien Erdmann & Andre Kuehnemund; Selectmen (1 position) Rebecca S. Jacques. Write-in candidates are also an option.
The Housing Authority has responsibility for the state owned housing facilities in town – The Plaines and Newport Park as well as the family housing property on Loading Place Road. This is distinct from the Manchester Affordable Housing Trust which is a local effort focused on expanding a more diverse housing stock in general. The other elected positions should be familiar to most residents. Questions? Feel free to contact me or the Town Clerk’s Office.
Your fellow citizens have stepped forward to run for these local offices – do your part by making your choices in the ballot booth on election day. The health of our democracy depends on each of us participating!