Rod Salamone, of Readsboro, said he is a write-in candidate because he is dissatisfied with some of the decisions made by the selectboard. “Over the past six years I’ve seen some candidates come and go and I’ve been very vocal about some of the decisions that were not fair to the taxpayers,” said Salamone.
When asked why he entered the election after the filing deadline, Salamone said that no one was contesting the position.
Salamone moved to Readsboro from Connecticut in 1998. He worked for Travelers Insurance in Hartford as a director of communications. Salamone is the current zoning administrator and serves on the planning commission.
According to Salamone, he disagreed with the selectboard on three major issues. He believes the 2009 property evaluation was poorly handled by Spencer Potter Appraisals, of Waitsfield, and the selectboard should have attempted to recoup taxpayer dollars that were paid for the assessment.
His second concern is the water and sewer department. Salamone claims the selectboard “took it upon themselves” to put taxpayers in debt in order to pay for a water bond. He said the $97,600 water bond was approved without the consent of the voters. The town will pay down the bond in 2014; it will be paid over the span of five years at $19,400 a year.
Salamone’s third concern was the 2010 sewer ordinance. The selectboard submitted a revision of the town’s sewer ordinance, which was soundly defeated at a special Town Meeting, 116-39. The sewer ordinance proposed households with a workable kitchen and plumbing would be billed a monthly Equivalent Connector Unit charge. Any lot in the sewer district with a structure greater than 10’ x 10’ would require a building permit and a 50% ECU charge or $19.75 a month if the structure is not hooked up to the system. Any lot in the sewer district with no building or structure would be billed a 25% ECU charge or $9.87 a month.
According to Salamone, the selectboard hired an outside consultant to draft the sewer ordinance that was overwhelmingly rejected by the voters. “This resulted in more taxpayer money that was spent unnecessarily,” said Salamone.
Former selectboard member Teddy Hopkins will have his name on the Town Meeting ballot. He declared his candidacy early and turned in his list of required signatures to town clerk Annette Caruso by the filing deadline. Hopkins, a former selectboard member, believes the town needs administrative support and he would be suited for that role. “I could take some of the burden off,” said Hopkins. “Some of the financial arrangements the selectboard made need some fine tuning. For instance, the water, sewer, and electric have to be separate. I’m thinking it’s not being done 100% properly.”
Hopkins said his administrative experience would be useful in the finalization of the Readsboro Electric Utility sale. He supports the hiring of an administrative assistant, which is an article on this year’s Town Meeting warning. Hopkins said he could help in the training and transition, should the article be approved. “I could help the selectboard get the best use of an administrative assistant and point him or her in the right direction regarding town matters,” said Hopkins.
According to Hopkins, he believes the selectboard made some “rash decisions” on past issues and is concerned about the proposal to change the town’s water billing. Hopkins said he would like to be part of the process and assure the taxpayers that they are not being charged improperly. “There’s talk about changing the monthly rate calculation to a pay-as-you-use calculation. I’m concerned,” said Hopkins.
As for Salamone, he wants people to know that he is not on the ballot and encourages voters to write him in. “If you vote me in, I’ll take those issues seriously and put the taxpayer in the center of everything we do,” said Salamone. “I will be very helpful, I won’t keep secrets from people. I’m very passionate about putting the town’s best interests at heart.”