Candidates Speak to Small Audience +
Three positions on the ballots offer voters a choice: Selectman, School Board member, and Budget Committee members. Eight of the 11 candidates were present at the forum but the disappointing aspect was that only about a dozen residents attended.
A few times during the 2 1/2 hour session, the unresolved problem of low voter turnout came up. The town web site was mentioned as a way to inform the residents but some people pointed out that it still takes some effort to find what you are looking for. Someone said that information could be pushed out to residents but some people do not have Internet access or rarely use it. (Note: Sign up to receive town e-mail notices here: E-Mail Notices)
For example, the town web site did not seem to mention this candidate forum. Moderator Dennis Fowler had invited all the candidates but it was unclear how the public was informed. Allenstown Alt did its best to notify people.
Carl Shaefer and Tom Irzyk spoke first and answered many questions. Mr. Shaefer noted that he was the only board member to vote against the $400,000 school budget increase at the Deliberative Session and against the new $86,000 position of Math Specialist. Mr. Irzyk, a long-time member of the school board, did not run for re-election last year due to increased demands from his job. He decided to run this year after he learned that the board had made what he thought were many inappropriate or unwarranted decisions.
School Board candidate Misty Dube was absent.
Next, challenger Ryan Carter and incumbent Jeff Gryval presented their statements. Mr. Carter and his parents bought homes in town last year and opened a commercial glass business in town. He said Allenstown has that small town appeal and his goals were to attract new businesses and younger residents and to listen to residents' concerns. Mr. Gryval reviewed his accomplishments during his term, the work done to build a community center at no cost to the town, and efforts to bring new business to town.
For Budget Committee, Michael Frascinella and Dave Coolidge spoke of their ongoing efforts to keep spending in check, especially with the school budget making up 2/3 of the overall tax burden and many residents living on fixed incomes. Ronnie Cox mentioned his background in budgeting for Fidelity but did not have a ready opinion on the $10.4 million school budget. Jeff Venegas expressed enthusiasm and willingness to get involved in town business and help improve the town.
Budget Committee candidates Debra Carney and Roger Laflamme were absent.
What You Can Do Now That the Election Was Postponed
Due to the Nor'easter hitting the state on Election Day, March 14, the town has postponed the election until Thursday March 16. That gives you a few extra days to review the warrant articles and candidates on the 2017 Election pages and make up your mind how you will vote.