Mount Washington Valley voters, with the exception of Conway, cast ballots on Tuesday. Among the highlights: Madison residents voted down the 2019-20 school district operating budget; Bartlett said no to increasing the board of selectmen; Effingham voted to keep its zoning ordinance; and some incumbents came up short in their bids for reelection.
Voters approved an operating budget of $716,389. In a race for a three-year selectman seat, incumbent Joe Ferris topped challenger Kelly Robitaille 58-42.
Turnout was small in Bartlett, poll workers reported. Voters by a vote of 385-220 defeated a warrant article petitioned by Kevin McEaney and others that sought to increase the board of selectmen from three to five members. Selectmen Gene Chandler, Vicki Garland and David Patch opposed the article.
Also, incumbent Gene Chandler defeated perennial challenger Ed “Charlie” Furlong 470-105 for a three-year term on the board of selectmen. Chandler, 71, the Mount Washington Valley's longest-serving selectman, has served for 44 years.
Also on the town ballot, articles 2 and 4 were both approved by wide margins. No. 2 sought to amend the town zoning ordinance with changes to the Telecommunications Facilities portion to make it comply with current state and federal regulation. It passed 544-45.
No. 4 sought to allow the Granite Backcountry Alliance to trim tree branches and thin certain areas on the town-owned William G. Duprey property that was given to the town for conservation purposes in 1977, passed 532-62.
On the school ballot, Tuesday marked the end of a terrific 27-year run on the school board by Vicki Harlow, who decided not to seek a 10th term. Incumbent Scott Grant and Andrew Light, who served for four years from 2014-18, were both elected to three-year seats on the board.
Bartlett Town Meeting will be Thursday starting at 6:30 p.m. in the gymnasium at Josiah Bartlett Elementary School. Among the things residents will decide is whether to support a proposed bond of up to $80,000 for the repair of the Spruce Avenue bridge/culvert. A petitioned article asks for $200,000 to repair flood damage.
Residents here voted not to repeal the town’s zoning ordinance, 229-89. The article, which was submitted by petition and not supported by the planning board, was the lone zoning amendment out of six to fail.
In the two contested races, challenger Chuck Fuller unseated incumbent Leonard Espie, 176-143, for a three-year selectman’s term, and Patricia Piper topped Janet Bartoswicz, 171-132, for a six-year term as a supervisor of the checklist.
Town meeting will be held Saturday at 9 a.m. at Effingham Elementary School, 6 Partridge Cove Road.
With a clear blue sky as the backdrop, 196 citizens (15.6 percent) cast ballots at the polls in Freedom Town Hall and deliberated at annual town meeting. There were no contested races.
Voters did approve three zoning amendments proposed by the planning board by wide margins. No. 2 was an addition to the town’s solar energy ordinance that allows roof-mounted systems in all districts and places restrictions as to location, buffers, setbacks and ground- and pole-mount systems to reflect the wishes of the community to retain Freedom’s rural character, passed 158-33.
No. 3, which sought to clarify a lot of record — that only one single-family dwelling allowed per lot unless the zoning ordinance allows another residential use such as accessory dwelling units, passed 158-33.
No. 4, a series of technical changes to the zoning ordinance, passed 133-55.
Freedom’s deliberative portion of town meeting lasted just shy of two hours Tuesday morning.
“All of the warrant articles were approved, no amendments and minimal debates,” reported Libby Priebe, town clerk.
Don Johnson, who was moderating at his 30th consecutive town meeting, was presented with a certificate of service. Facilities custodian Mark McKinley was given a certificate of appreciation. Both received a standing ovation.
Other items that were passed: The town's $2.6 million operating budget. The library's $97,368 budget. A fireproof safe for historic records which cost $8,000. An office and computer system upgrade of $23,500. A new compactor at the transfer station for $40,000. Fuel pumps and a management system at the town garage for $25,400. Road repairs on Durgin Hill Road for $130,000. Repaving road funds of $75,000. Seal-coating of roads $52,000. Road-crack sealing of $17,000. Capital reserve accounts for municipal lands and buildings, transfer station, highway equipment, fire department and police department each received $20,000. A constitution to the Freedom Historical Society of $2,000 for the purpose of scanning and preserving records to make them more accessible to the public.
Voters here passed the state Department of Environmental Service’s Model Groundwater Protection Ordinance at annual town meeting.
“Hart’s Location joins Madison as the second community in the Mount Washington Valley to adopt these important protective measures,” said Mark Dindorf, chair of the board of selectmen. Town voters also amended the existing Land Use Ordinance to authorize selectmen to set and implement fees for building permits along with safety and code inspections.
Citizens passed their annual municipal appropriations budget of $47,200.
Incumbent selectman Guy Putnam was re-elected to a second term, while Nancy Ritger was re-elected to a three-year term on the school board.
In the lone contested race, challenger Barbara Campbell defeated incumbent Richard Bennett for a three-year seat on the board of selectmen 182-114. “I’m thrilled,” Campbell said by phone on Wednesday. “I’ve gotten such amazing support from people in our community.”
For Campbell, it’s her first foray into town government.
A certified public accountant, in 2016, she became chief financial officer of the Echo Group in Conway. She is also the treasurer on the board of directors for Children Unlimited and serves on the board of directors and the finance committee for the Gibson Center.
In her candidate profile, Campbell shared her reason for running and goals. “I have decided to run for the selectman position, where my expertise in budgeting, cost reduction and management will help Jackson attract new residents and provide all residents the ability to continue to live and thrive here. My goal is to create accountability for all expenses in the town of Jackson, so taxpayers can have a comfort level with how their money is being spent or saved.”
“I’m not yet at retirement age, but I feel like I have the time and can stop up and give back,” Campbell said Wednesday.
She added: “I don’t have anything against the current (town officers), but the fact that residents are still asking questions, I’d like to help get the answers. My goal, I guess, is to add some new vision.”
Campbell will probably be sworn at annual town meeting, which takes place Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Whitney Community Center.
At town meeting, voters will decide if they want a “pay-as-you-throw” trash disposal system. Residents also will vote on articles pertaining to affordable housing and cluster development.
In other voting Tuesday, Jerry Dougherty was re-elected to another three-year term on the school board, and all four town zoning articles passed overwhelmingly.
Voters here defeated the proposed school operating budget of $6,847,394 by a vote of 148-99. With its defeat, the default budget — $6,792,134 — which is the same amount as last year, with certain adjustments required by the previous action of the school district, will kick in.
Citizens also adopted Article No. 3, with the voters of the Madison School District adopting a school administrative unit (SAU 13) budget of $680,886 for the 2019-20 school year in which $245,496 is assigned to the school budget of this district, by a vote of 156-90.
By the narrowest of margins, 123-122, citizens rejected raising $25,000 to be placed into a capital reserve fund for “the purpose of educating educationally disabled children.”
Voters also approved, 159-87, a petitioned article (No. 5) that will eliminate multiyear contracts for the principal, replacing it with “a contract each year based on job performance.”
Residents also passed a ballot article, 109-98, to allow bingo and the sale of Lucky 7 tickets.
There were no contested town or school races.
Town meeting will be Saturday starting at 9 a.m. at Madison Elementary.
Susan Simpson won a three-way race for a three-year selectman’s seat with 249 votes, besting Robert Freeman, 172 votes, and Roy Barron, 70 votes.
Simpson joins Sandra Martin and Martha Eldridge to form just the second all-female board of selectmen in the Granite State (Dalton was the first).
There also is a three-way race for two three-year planning board seats between Sharon Cohen and incumbent Condict Billings won two three-year planning board seats with 279 and 246 votes, respectively, while Brian Sluski fell short with his bid with 171 votes. Bruce Stuart unseated incumbent Rick St. Jean, 260-157, for one two-year planning board seat.
Other issues to be decided were whether voters would support a 2 percent tax cap, new playground equipment and a new dog park at Constitution Park.
Melanie Streeter and incumbent Rebecca Mason both won three-year selectmen’s seats on Tuesday with 318 and 284 votes, respectively. Former selectman Jim Hidden fell short in his bid with 219 votes.
Zachary Remick won a three-way race over Shawn Bross, Michael Oktavec for an open fire ward seat with 254 votes, while Boros had 87 and Oktavek, 58.
Town meeting was held Wednesday night at the K.A. Brett School. Results were not known as of press time. Among other issues, residents were being asked if they want to purchase the Tamworth Village Association sewer system for $1.
Conway goes to the polls on April 9 to decide its town and school warrants at the Conway Community Building in Center Conway from 8 a.m.-7 p.m.