Tuesday January 8, 2013

DUMMERSTON -- A key figure in two recent, large-scale Dummerston projects will be stepping away from town governance this year.

Tom Bodett said he has decided to not seek another term at Town Meeting after serving seven of the past eight years on the Selectboard, including two years as chairman.

"I'm leaving the Selectboard for no particular reason other than it feels like the time to do it," Bodett said, adding that he believes periodic turnover is a good thing in local government.

"I'm sure there are plenty of good ideas out there that might never occur to me but may be obvious to the next person in my chair," Bodett said.

Bodett is a writer and broadcast personality known in part for his regular appearances on the National Public Radio show "Wait, Wait . . . Don't Tell Me!" and as long-standing pitchman for Motel 6.

Locally, he has been an active member of Dummerston's Selectboard, most recently winning election to a three-year term in 2010.

Bodett said he had three big goals for this term: Revising and adopting the town plan, repairing the historic covered bridge's wing walls and opening a much-needed new gravel pit.

"The first two have been accomplished, and the new gravel pit in partnership with Renaud Gravel and the Town of Putney will go into production this summer," Bodett wrote in an e-mail to the Reformer.

Bodett was the Selectboard's point man on the covered-bridge and gravel-pit projects. He cites the latter effort, which still must go through the state's Act 250 permitting process, as especially critical for the town's future.

"This pit will give the town a supply of quality gravel at a price fixed to inflation until the year 2032," Bodett said. "Gravel is an increasingly precious resource facing wild price fluctuations -- especially with the prospect of more Irene-type weather events predicted -- and having this fixed-price local supply will save the town many hundreds of thousands of dollars."

He added that "gravel is as important to the Town of Dummerston as anything else we do. It is the largest single commodity the town buys, and it is not an optional expense. We use less at our peril."

Bodett, who did not rule out running for Selectboard again at some point, said he will miss being involved with town government.

"I'll especially miss the tried and true folks down at town office and on our highway crew who show up every day and do the real work that those of us on the Selectboard like to take credit for," he said. "They make us all look good."

There are numerous elected positions available in Dummerston this year. Town Clerk Pamela McFadden said anyone interested in those spots must contact her at the town office, fill out a petition and sign a Consent of Candidate form.

Petitions must be signed by 1 percent of the town's registered voters -- which equates to about 17 people -- and then returned to the town office by 5 p.m. Jan. 28:

-- Town moderator, one-year term.

-- Town clerk, one-year term.

-- Town treasurer, one-year term.

-- Selectboard member, three-year term.

-- Selectboard member, two-year term.

-- Auditor, three-year term.

-- Auditor, one year remaining on a three-year term.

-- Lister, three-year term.

-- Library trustee, five-year term.

-- School board moderator, one-year term.

-- School director, three-year term.

-- School director, one year remaining on a three-year term.

-- School directors, two one-year terms.

There also are several appointed positions available. Anyone interested should mail or e-mail (selectboard@dummerston.org) a letter to the Selectboard, McFadden said:

-- Planning Commission, one seat for a four-year term.

-- Development Review Board, three seats for three-year terms and two seats for one-year terms (alternates).

-- Conservation Commission, two seats for four-year terms.

-- Housing Advisory Commission, three seats for three-year terms.

-- Energy Committee, three seats for three-year terms.

-- Social Services Advisory Committee, eight seats for one-year terms.

Mike Faher can be reached at mfaher@reformer.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.