Rain scares off some N.H. voters

Wednesday March 13, 2013

CHESTERFIELD, N.H. -- Rain may have kept some New Hampshire voters away from the polls Tuesday, as two towns reported fewer ballots than last year -- when elections were held on a sunny day.

Though individual candidates braved the precipitation, voting locations were less busy than usual.

Chesterfield Town Clerk Barbara Girs said the town saw an "incredibly low turnout." She said there were 189 ballots cast in addition to 10 absentee ballots. Girs said the rain could have been a factor in the dismal numbers but she was still disappointed.

Nevertheless, people in charge of counting votes in Hinsdale were happy with the numbers, considering the weather.

According to Karen Johnson, Hinsdale clerk pro tem, there were 611 ballots cast at the Hinsdale Community Center, accounting for 26 percent of the people on the town's checklist. There were about 200 more ballots last year.


-- Selectman James Larkin secured his re-election in the town's only contested race, defeating Bayard Tracy, 105-85.

All residents running for various other offices were elected to the positions they sought.

The town also held its Town Meeting on Tuesday, when residents can have their voices heard on the articles in the town warrant.

Girs said all articles passed overwhelmingly on the floor, though Article 3 (which pertained to the general budget) was successfully amended twice. The adopted budget was increased from the $2,850,633 figure recommended by the Chesterfield Board of Selectmen. Girs was unable to get the adopted budget figure to the Reformer.

By passing Article 4, voters approved of appropriating $125,000 into two capital reserve funds ($100,000 for highway heavy equipment and $25,000 for construction/reconstruction of roadways).

Articles 12 through 18 were all special articles per RSA 32:10 (d), which means the money approved can be spent only on the services or item listed in the article. Article 12 seeks $245,824 to resurface town roads.

Adoption of Article 13 means $160,000 will be appropriated to purchase a new 35000 GVW Truck with a body and plow for the highway department. The $160,000 would be offset by the amount received from the trade-in or sale of the existing 1998 International truck.

Voters also adopted Article 14 and $33,500 will be appropriated to buy a police cruiser and to cover switchboard costs. The money will come from the Police Cruiser Capital Reserve Fund.

Michael Bentley served as the moderator.


-- Selectman Richard Schill has requested a recount after a vote count indicated he lost his re-election bid in Hinsdale. Schill reportedly received 309 votes and the pair of three-year Board of Selectmen seats up for grabs will go to Joan C. Morel (427) and Wayne Gallagher (325).

Schill currently is serving his first term as selectmen while Morel worked as the town administrator in Winchester until recently and Gallagher was Hinsdale's police chief before Todd Faulkner.

Town Clerk Tammy-Jean Akeley got 405 votes to win the position of tax collector, besting Lynn McLoughlin, who recorded 192.

Former Board of Selectmen Chairman Bruce Belville (369) and James MacDonell (332) won their re-election campaigns for the budget committee by defeating Lisa Borst, who registered 252 votes.

Belville sat on the Board of Selectmen for six years and served as its chairman for one. He is currently on the budget committee, filling the unexpired term of Richard Shaw. He said the budget committee fits his schedule well because it lasts from the fall to February, and he grows perennial plants for his business, Meeting House Gardens.

MacDonell is also on the budget committee, having taken over for Bernie Rideout, who left when he was elected to the Board of Selectmen last year.

The Hinsdale Town Meeting will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in the gymnasium of Hinsdale High School. The floor vote on matters of the town's school board will begin at 9 a.m.


-- Peter S. Kenney lost his bid for re-election to the planning board, the only contested race in Walpole, while Robert F. Miller secured another three-year seat and Dennis Marcom will have his first go at the job.

According to information from Walpole, Miller led the way with 479 votes. Marcom recorded 425 and Kenney collected 249.

A hot-button topic this year was the issue regarding the Avanru Development Group. The company had been forced to submit a second application because its members decided to alter a review plan from 48 two-bedroom units to 60 one-bedroom units and seven two-bedroom units within an approved and permitted building. Kenney was one of the four board members to vote in favor of the application, while Miller voted against it.

Voters also opted 347-291 in favor of a proposed ordinance that will require businesses dealing with hazardous materials and waste to include plans for soil and water monitoring and spill response in their site plans.

Bennett Daviss, a former Walpole Planning Board member, made the proposal in early January and said it will be an additional provision in the town's existing zoning ordinance. He said the proposal was an attempt to ensure a system of checks and balances for any business in town dealing with hazardous materials.

Daviss told the Reformer the motivation behind this effort was fueled by Jiffy Mart's decision to move its location a mile south along Main Street. According to Daviss, the business is "moving closer to the center of the town's commercial district and it's doubling in size." He said the Jiffy Mart, which handles gasoline, will be very close to an aquifer, which is near one of Walpole's two water wells.

Voters also adopted a $28 million budget for the Fall Mountain Regional School District.

There were 653 ballots cast in Walpole. There are 2,540 on the checklist.

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


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