BELLOWS FALLS -- Nancy Switzer McAuliffe can now be addressed as "Madam President." In the right context, of course.
A native of Bellows Falls, she was elected village president on Tuesday, defeating Trustee Andrew Smith by racking up 211 votes. McAuliffe, one of six winners from the village-wide election's contested races, made campaign promises to work on improving the relationship between the trustees and the Rockingham Selectboard and returning industry to Bellows Falls. She was not at the Masonic Temple on Westminster Street for comment when the results were announced shortly after 7 p.m. on Tuesday and attempts by the Reformer to contact her since have been unsuccessful.
Smith, a sitting trustee whose two-year term is about to expire, got 197 votes.
Trustee Stefan Golec and newcomer Sanford "Sandy" Martin garnered 193 and 179 votes, respectively, to win two-year seats on the Bellows Falls Village Board of Trustees, and Pat Fowler, Tim Powers and Michael "Mickey" Tolaro were re-elected as village auditors.
Golec told the Reformer last week he wants to focus his newest term as village trustee on attracting new businesses into Bellows Falls and formulating ways to encourage existing companies to stay and hire more local workers. A veteran of local elected government, he also wants to continue the fight to reopen the Vilas Bridge and support the Green Island Project, an attempt by the Sustainable Valley Group to revitalize The Island and bring in green businesses.
"I would like to thank the people of the village of Bellows Falls for their continued support of my re-election to another two-year term as their trustee. I am both honored and humbled that you have given me your trust and confidence to do the 'people's business,'" he said in an e-mail to supporters on Thursday. "Please remember that as your village trustee I am your representative on the board and that I work for you and I'll do my best to continue to ‘remember to serve the people.'"
Golec also encourages more residents to attend the trustees' biweekly meetings and voice their input.
"I look forward to serving with the new board and its president and together we can help make Bellows Falls a beautiful place to live, work and play," he said in the e-mail.
Martin moved to Bellows Falls with his wife, a village native, in 2004. He told the Reformer it is time to help out the community he has called home for a decade. He said his win on Tuesday shows his fellow residents trust him to do what is right.
"It means that I now have the obligation I had set for myself to serve the citizens of Bellows Falls," he said, adding that he is looking forward to serving. "It's going to be an interesting ride."
Though he is now retired, Martin said he worked for many years as a regional credit manager in the electrical supply business and feels his career instilled within him the ability "to understand the insides of cost control and to assess the performance of personnel."
Former Trustee Deborah Wright ran for both a trustee position and an auditor spot but lost both elections, with 53 and 78 votes, respectively.
Kathryn "Kate" Aldrich, the daughter of Rockingham Town Clerk Doreen Aldrich, collected 166 votes and Evelyn Weeks, the assistant executive director of the Great Falls Regional Chamber of Commerce, got 177.
Citizens also voted 188-101 in favor of a $6 million bond for improvements to the village's wastewater system, though the vote will not count. State law requires notification of a bond vote to appear in the newspaper of record on the same day for three straight weeks, but The Shopper failed to print the notice in its May 1 edition. Municipal Manager Willis D. "Chip" Stearns II has told the Reformer the bond vote will now have to wait until August's primary election in August or November's general election. He also mentioned this error should not affect the wastewater project.
Stearns said someone from The Shopper came to his office to apologize for the mistake.
Total voter turnout was, unofficially, listed at 416 out of 1,822 on the checklist.
During the day, resident Brian Story said he makes it a point to vote in every local election because that is where his vote is most likely to make a difference -- as opposed to most presidential or senatorial elections. He said the decision over whether to renovate Bellows Falls Middle School or construct a new building, and how much to spend, was decided by fewer than five votes just two or three years ago.
"And that's the one local election I haven't made it to," he said with a laugh.
Resident Steve James said he has lived in Bellows Falls for about 40 years and considers it a privilege to have so many chances to vote on issues that affect him. He feels the right to vote is taken for granted in too many places throughout the country.
"I feel it's my obligation, and I love my community," he said.
Domenic Poli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.