Friday May 17, 2013

BELLOWS FALLS -- The village president faces two opponents as he attempts to get re-elected this year in the villagewide election set for Tuesday.

Roger Riccio, who could not be reached for comment, is on the ballot with Trustee Deborah Wright and former Village President Lance Allen. Wright is also one of the five people vying for one of the two two-year seats on the village Board of Trustees.

Riccio narrowly defeated Wright in a race for village president last year.

Wright said she believes she has done some good work for Bellows Falls and wants to continue doing that job.

"It took me two years to learn how to operate within local government," she told the Reformer. "Now that I have that experience, I better understand how to address the concerns of the citizens."

Wright, who has lived in Bellow Falls for eight years and is the principal owner of Green Mountain Traffic Control, said she wants to improve the quality of life for village residents by increasing transparency of the local government and relieving the housing problems. She said there are too many run-down apartment buildings in the village.

She also is taking a grant-writing course online to learn how to help the village receive money for its projects.

Allen was the village president before Riccio and said he is running again because he has not been impressed with the trustees. He said he wants to help develop the village's downtown area and keep taxes and budgets under control.

Trustee Colin James is up against Wright, Leslie White, Charlie Hunter and Scott Falzo for re-election to his two-year seat.

James said two years was not enough time to accomplish what he wanted to, as it takes a year to get "into the swing of things." At 27 years of age, he said he brings a young man's perspective to the board and represents young adults in the village. He said he has worked very closely with Bellows Falls Police Chief Ron Lake and thinks the police department does a great job of keeping the community safe.

"I've lived here my whole life," he said. "I love the village of Bellows Falls."

White, who grew up in Bellows Falls, told the Reformer he previously served a two-year term as a trustee and thinks it's time to contribute to the community again. He feels he did a good job before.

"It was challenging but rewarding," he said of his experience. "I want to refocus the board and concentrate on trying to make (life) affordable for everyone in the area."

Hunter, who purchased a house in the village 10 years ago, grew up in Weathersfield (20 miles north) and always loved Bellows Falls. He said he has served on committees for the Bellows Falls Opera House, the Bellows Falls Downtown Development Alliance and the Great Falls Regional Chamber of Commerce, though he has never been elected to public office.

"I just figured it was time to take my licks at the plate as a village trustee," he said. "It is time to put in time in public service."

Hunter said he wants to "help the village operate smoothly, efficiently and harmoniously" and "re-invent it in a post-industrial era."

Falzo could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Voting will be held at the Masonic Temple (61 Westminster St.) from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday. The Village Meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Rockingham Town Hall the day before.

Domenic Poli can be reached at dpoli@reformer.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.