No contested races for Town Meeting
by Mike Eldred
Feb 14, 2018 | 1554 views | 0 0 comments | 66 66 recommendations | email to a friend | print
DEERFIELD VALLEY- Town Meeting warnings have been posted, and candidates’ petitions for local offices have been submitted. But local voters hoping for contested races or candidate debates may be disappointed. In the valley towns of Wilmington and Whitingham there are no contested offices on the ballot this year.

In Wilmington, all but two of the candidates are incumbents, including selectboard members Sarah Fisher and Tom Fitzgerald, and town school directors Dennis Richter and Kathy Larsen. All town school board positions will be terminated when the Twin Valley Unified Union School District becomes operative on July 1. Larsen is also on the ballot as an incumbent for a two-year position on the TVUUSD board.

There are only two new names on the Wilmington ballot: Jason Staloff, who is running for Pettee Memorial Library Trustee, and Richard “Kappa” Khachadoorian, who is running for cemetery commissioner.

The Wilmington Town Meeting warning asks voters to raise and appropriate $2,202,095 for the town’s general fund for fiscal year 2019, and $1,410,174 for highway department expenses.

Article 8 asks voters whether they wish to continue to support the recycling area at the former garage site on Beaver Street, and Article 9 asks voters to raise and appropriate “up to” $27,000 to fund the recycling. Beginning with the current fiscal year, Windham Solid Waste Management District ceased their recycling operations for member towns, leaving towns responsible for arranging and funding their mandated recycling programs. At last year’s Town Meeting, voters opted to keep the site open, and based on projected expenses, appropriated $18,000 to fund it. By last fall, however, board members learned that the volume and cost of recycling at the site had nearly consumed the budget, and that the final annual cost could be substantially higher than expected. Board members speculated that recycling at the downtown location increased, in part, because other towns closed down their public recycling collection facilities.

Wilmington’s warning also includes several appropriations for capital funds, including the highway equipment fund, bridge fund, fire department equipment fund, firehouse fund, Memorial Hall fund, library fund, and town hall fund.

Article 17 asks voters to raise and appropriate $1,000 for the playground capital reserve fund, but Article 18 asks voters to combine the playground fund with the school field capital reserve fund and the housing capital reserve fund, and rename it the “public lands and fences capital reserve fund” for the “maintenance of town parks, forests, fields, and fences” in Wilmington.

Article 19 asks voters to establish a reappraisal reserve fund and appropriate $75,000 for it. Article 20 asks voters to establish a police equipment capital fund and raise $20,000 for it. Article 21 asks voters to create a transfer station fund for equipment purchases and raise $5,000 for it. Article 22 asks voters to create a “planning and acquisition for town facilities fund” for the relocation of town facilities outside the flood zone and raise $5,000 for it.

Article 24 asks voters to exempt Deerfield Valley Rescue from paying town and school taxes on their new Stowe Hill Road property.

Whitingham’s ballot also has a dearth of contested races, but there are a few new names along with the incumbents.

Returning town officers include veteran selectboard members Robin Kingsley and Allan Twitchell. But there are two new candidates running for town and union school district boards.

Maria Cunningham and James Walker are running unopposed for seats on the Whitingham School Board that, as with Wilmington’s town school board positions, will terminate with the activation of Twin Valley Unified Union School District on July 1. But both are also candidates for the TVUUSD board, Cunningham running for the remainder of a position resigned by Seth Boyd (one year), and Walker for a three-year board position.

Under Article 2, Whitingham’s Town Meeting warning asks voters to approve a general fund budget of $557,044, of which $223,657 – less than half – is to be raised in taxes. According to the article, the rest will be funded by $196,826 in anticipated revenue and a hefty $136,561 fund balance.

Article 6 asks voters to approve a highway budget of $1,264,647, with $1,091,197 to be raised in taxes, $119,146 in revenue, and a fund balance of $54,304.

Article 10 asks voters to raise and appropriate $10,000 to support Deerfield Valley Rescue. Article 28 asks voters to raise and appropriate $4,000 for economic development in Whitingham. And Article 29 asks voters to raise and appropriate $2,000 for the town’s next Old Home Week celebration in 2026.

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