BRATTLEBORO—As the new year begins, the annual ritual of collecting signatures to get on the town ballot has also begun.
Town Clerk Annette Cappy announced last week that town elections will be held on Tuesday, March 4, and the Annual Representative Town Meeting on Saturday, March 22.
Petitions for Brattleboro Town and Town School District Officers and Town Meeting Members are now available at the Town Clerk’s office.
Petitions for Town Officers must contain at least 30 valid signatures of registered Brattleboro voters and be filed in the clerk’s office no later than 5 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 27, in order to have their name placed on the ballot.
Petitions of new candidates must also be filed no later than 5 p.m. on Jan. 27.
Incumbents for Town Meeting member must return their Notice of Intent form by 5 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 20, one week sooner than the deadline for new candidates.
Topping the ballot: the three-year seat on the Selectboard now held by Donna Macomber and the one-year seats now held by John Allen and David Schoales.
All three have said that they will seek to return to the board.
Macomber, who will run for a one-year seat, was appointed to the board last summer to fill the term of Ken Schneck, who stepped down to take a job out of the area.
Macomber said she experienced a learning curve after joining the board last year but now feels ready to step forward with a strong sense of purpose.
With the Selectboard making decisions that will have long-term ramifications for the town, Macomber said that she wants to see those transitions through.
Macomber cited the fiscal year 2015 budget as an example.
This board, she said, desires to address the increasing budget deficit and, sometimes, overhauling a board midstream can set back a previous board’s efforts.
Macomber believes the current board is committed to curbing spending responsibly by balancing the need with quality-of-life and safety issues.
“You can’t put less sand and salt on icy roads,” she said.
Schoales will run again for both the Selectboard and town School Board. He has served one year on the Selectboard and four years on the School Board.
When asked why he is seeking reelection, Schoales responded in an email that he hoped to see through some transitions with the school board and continue working with people he admired.
“The elementary schools have been going through a transition to more standardized curricula and testing over the past 10-12 years,” wrote Schoales. “It is time to take a close look at the results and see if this is what the community wants for our children.”
Regarding the Selectboard, Schoales wrote, “The town always faces a lot of contentious issues, and I believe the current Selectboard has found a way to work together toward solutions. We all share the goal of a sustainable community. I like the way we disagree.”
“We look for answers, not arguments, and our chairperson has done well facilitating the process,” he continued. “It’s very satisfying to be part of a functioning team, and I hope to continue.”
Allen did not return calls by press time.
Atkinson steps aside
After nine years on the town school board, board chair Margaret Atkinson said she has decided not to run.
“It’s someone else’s turn to have all the fun I’ve been having,” Atkinson said.
When asked what she enjoyed the most about serving on the school board, she said “the people.” She described fellow board members and administrators as “excellent, committed, dynamic, smart.”
Atkinson said she started serving on the board when her son was in kindergarten. He is now in high school, she said.
School Board Vice-Chair Mark Truhan will seek another term.
He echoed Atkinson’s appreciation for the board. “They’re a good bunch of people to be with,” he said.
The board has launched a number of projects that Truhan would like to see through to completion, such as building a solar array to offset the supervisory union’s electric bill.
Truhan said he has run unopposed for seven years. He anticipates running for a one-year seat but said he will check with other board members to see what terms they’re interested in.
Voters will also select candidates to fill a one-year term as moderator (now held by Lawrin Crispe), a three-year term on the Listers (now held by Marshall Wheelock), two three-year seats for the Brattleboro Union High School Board (now held by Russell Janis and Ian Torrey); a three-year term as Trustee of Public Funds (now held by Ben Underhill); and one-year terms as First and Second Constable (now held by Steven Rowell and Richard H. Cooke, respectively).
Representative Town Meeting
Candidates for Town Meeting member must file a nomination petition with at least 10 valid signatures of voters from the district where the candidate lives.
There are 16 three-year seats to be elected in District 1, along with six two-year seats and one one-year seat. In District 2, 15 three-year seats will be elected, along with four two-year seats and three one-year seats. There are 15 three-year seats in District 3 and five one-year seats.
Cappy said these numbers might change based on the number of resignations prior to the ballot deadline.
Other dates of note
Other notable dates leading up to Town Meeting Day in Brattleboro:
• The deadline for posting the Town Meeting warning is Sunday, Feb. 2.
• The annual Brattleboro Union High School District Meeting is Tuesday, Feb. 11.
• Absentee ballots will be available starting Wednesday, Feb. 12, and will be available through Monday, March 3.
• Wednesday, Feb. 26, is the last day to register to vote for the town and school election.