If you are a resident of Groton and have not yet voted there is still time to do so.  Just yesterday Dunstable elected a School Committee member by only 10 votes!   So when you hear “every vote counts” it sure does so get out there and get your vote on!

Precinct 2 & 3 – Vote at the Groton Country Club, 94 Lovers Lane (across from the Post Office). 

Precinct 1 – Vote at the Groton Senior Center, 163 West Main St.

Polls open until 8 pm!

We have a number of positions that are contested this year including Board of Selectman, Planning Board, Groton Electric Light Commission, Park Commission and a very important ballot question #2 that will allow our town to approve a debt exclusion to pay for the design or the design and construction bidding of a new Senior Center.  The total amount for the Senior Centner design is $400,000, Town Meeting authorized only $225,000 for bonding. The remaining $175,000 came from the proceeds of the sale of the former Center Fire Station and Tarbell School.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW GROTON – Sample Ballot – 2017

Please note question #1 was not approved at Town Meeting so the town did not approve the purchase of land on Farmers Row. Question #2 was approved at Town Meeting, with the approval of #2  on the ballot will allow the town to pay for the design or the design and construction bidding of a new senior center. 

 

 

 

 

As promised here are my notes from Dunstable Candidate Night on the Board of Road Commissioner, Park Commissioner and Planning Board.

Candidate Forum, 7 pm ~ May 2, 2017 (continued final blog from Candidate night)

The candidate Q&A & candidate introduction was recorded and will be broadcasted on Dunstable Public Access television.  That can be found on Charter – Channel 191 and Verizon – Channel 31.

Parks Commissioner – One Opening

  • Adria S.H. Fischer – She introduced herself as someone brings a fresh perspective. employeed by Chronos where she is transitioning to project management because that is a skill set for her, she is very responsive, very efficient, budget conscious.  She moved to Dunstable five years ago and wants to be part of the community, showed genuine enthusiasm in her desire to contribute to the community.
  • Philip J. DeNyse – He introduced himself as a resident of Dunstable since 2001 with his wife and four children. He has been involved with cub scouts, boy scouts and his daughter is a girl scout. He has helped boy scouts build trails, he has been on the parade committee for many years and has supported the playground committee which is a subcommittee of the Parks Commission. Supports the proposed new playground behind Swallow Union School and asks that voters consider the warrant article. He expressed Parks is a very important department in town because open space is very important as it defines the town through their rural character.

Question –  Why did you choose to run for this position and what do you bring to this position?

Adria S. H. Fischer – There were only a few more openings left and I wanted to get involved. She has a desire to grow as an adult, as a person, and as a community member.  Some of her strongest skills are communication and talk to people to understand what the challenge is.

Philip J. DeNyse – Expressed his desire to finish the job that he started, he has been helping with the playground behind swallow union.  A detailed man, a planner and when he takes a job he wants to see it through. Expressed his want to get things done and wants to make sure the town has a chance to evaluate this opportunity and give it a thumbs up or thumbs down. But even if that playground doesn’t go forward there are many things that need to be done including maintenance and outreach to the community to understand what needs to be improved and what suggestions you have for future use.

Planning Board – One Opening

  • Eric E. McKenzie – He expressed that his family chose Dunstable for its beautiful working farms, rural town character, and excellent schools. He believes that the planning board is very important because maintaining the beauty of Dunstable requires careful decisions that can easily affect for many years to come. Professionally he has been an engineer for 25 years and believes he understands the community and bylaws and has the ability to objectively review projects.
  • Kieran D. Meehan – He shared that he is a licensed realtor, served on the Dunstable Capital Planning committee, he supports smart planning, sustainability of open space, and thoughtful growth for housing & businesses. His background provides him with insight into planning for current and future needs and the final impact on the daily life of residents.

Question – How do you balance the rural culture of Dunstable with future development?

  • Kieran D Meehan – Expressed the need to identify a strategy for the town in order to maintain the rural land, beauty, and character but also find a way to identify growth opportunity. Mentioned Farmhouse Cafe as being a good example of the types of businesses that would work in Dunstable and would like to see a couple more like it in town. That would create more revenue for the town and allow the town to grow. Push back at developers and make sure they hold their end up their end of the bargain.
  • Eric E. McKenzie – Expressed that balancing the rural character and growth is important. He explained that the planning board does not say we want this here or we want this there. They have to constantly analyze who is coming into town, what they want to build and how it will affect the character of the town. There will always be pressure to build, but the board needs to balance those things for the best interest of the town.

Board of Road Commissioners – One Opening

  • Paul A. Dalida – Has a BS in Civil Engineering from Northeastern University, over 40 years of experience in all aspects of transportation, infrastructure construction, and maintenance. He has experience on the School Building Committee, Safe Pathways Committee, and Master Plan committee. He also has volunteered with Dunstable Rural Land Trust and Tyngsboro Dunstable Historical Society. He wants to bring his experience to Dunstable to keep roads safe.
  • Mathew W. Morton – He shared that he has been a resident of Dunstable for about four years. He has experience working in the highway department, plowing snow.  He currently works at Lawrence Academy in the building and grounds department. He wants to help out the town in a way he knows how to do and give back to the community.

Question – How do you proposal to maintain Dunstable’s rural character while maintaining the roads and increase community safety?

  • Mathew W. Morton – There are a lot of things that need to be looked at. There are a lot of adjustments that need to be made and we are on a tight budget in town. We need to find out where to put the money, what needs to be fixed and go from there.
  • Paul Dalida –  Mass Highway is now instituting a plan called Asset Management, it’s going to required here in two years of all towns in order to qualify for local funding grants.  Believes we could focus on that and other grants available in the state and maximize what we can get from the state to put into the roads. In addition, there is a need to take inventory of the roads to determine which roads are mostly heavily used and require the most maintenance to determine where to put the money. It is best to understand the needs of the town, what is the desire of residents, the needs of the infrastructure and how to accomplish that with the funds available.

 

 

As requested here are my notes from Dunstable Candidate night.  Although there are more than two contested races, I am offering notes on the BOS and SC contested races this evening.  Tomorrow I will post on the other three contested races which are the Board of Road Commissoner, Park Commissioner and Planning Board since my readers will hate me if the post runs too long. 🙂     

Candidate Forum, 7 pm ~ May 2, 2017

Questions were submitted before the forum, so there was not an opportunity for follow-up questions from the community. It was difficult keeping up with the pace of the Candidate Night Forum because candidates only had one minute to introduce themselves and only one minute to respond to questions. So it was kinda like watching speed dating for candidates. However, that did leave time for voters to speak with candidates in a more casual setting.

The candidate Q&A & candidate introduction was recorded and will be broadcasted on Dunstable Public Access television.  That can be found on Charter – Channel 191 and Verizon – Channel 31.

Board Of Selectman – One Opening

  • Introductions:  
    • Candidate – Michael J. Manahan, Sr. – He expressed that he may not have the same amount of experience with town government. However, he believes that information should run the town. Information getting out to the voters and the people needs to improve, and he would like the opportunity to accomplish that as a member of the BoS.
    • Candidate – Ronald J. Mikol – He shared that he has been on the advisory board for ten years, has taken online courses MMA (Massachusetts Municipal Association) and believes he has had the unique ability to have had the experience in building the town budget from years before Dunstable having a Town Advisor.
  • Question:   What is the biggest problem facing Dunstable today and how do you propose to address it?
    • Ronald Mikol – Expressed that Dunstable faces many challenges but the one that is most outstanding and is threatening the financial vitality of the town is the water department. There is a mindset in the town that the folks that are connected to the water system are obligated to pay for this thing, and the rate payers do not own the system; it is not a collaborative or cooperative.  It is owned by the town, and it is ready to go kaboom and when that happens it will probably be the single largest financial crisis we ever had. 
    • Michael J. Manahan, Sr.  – Expressed that communication is the problem.  We have to communicate and educate the town to get everyone on board about the project.  Bring more community to the people. We have to get the community to work together for the good of the town versus individual projects.

Groton-Dunstable Regional School Committee – one opening

  • Introductions:
    • Candidate – Rafael Glod – Shared that he is a lifelong resident of Dunstable and a graduate of GDRHS class 2010 and Graduate from UMASS Dartmouth class of 2014. He did not touch upon what he does for current employment or his work experience for the last couple years. He believes that our elected officials should reflect the balance and needs of their constituents and work together as a team to better prepare our students for the 21st century to the best of our abilities. He is up for the challenge and is ready to serve Dunstable.
    • Candidate – Ryan McLane – Shared that he moved to Dunstable several years ago for the rural community and the great schools for his children. He is a Public Policy Ph.D. candidate at UMass Boston with Master’s degrees in Public Administration and Public Policy. He expressed the need for further collaboration between boards and towns and believes his experience in doing so in his career as a Director of Veteran Services will allow him to hit the ground running. Experience includes collaborated with the board of selectman in his current position, presenting budgets, policy, and programming in Melrose, Wakefield, and Saugus.
  • Question:  How do you balance Dunstable’s financial situation while meeting the educational needs of our children?
    • Ryan McLaneHe expressed that what we need to do is decide as a community what we want to have as a character. So open space and rural character are really important and one of the reasons why people like himself move to Dunstable, however education is also important too, and he doesn’t believe that there is anyone that would not agree that we need to educate our children correctly.  He expressed the need to make sure that the schools use the resources that taxpayers give them well and correctly which is in the best interest of our children.  If that was done and the community is educated about that and if the schools need more funding than we can sit and talk about what we want to invest in and how we want to invest in our schools to balance the rural character and the needs of our schools. He believes that taxpayers would be more willing to make an investment if they were comfortable knowing current funding is spent wisely.
    • Rafael Glod – He expressed that after speaking with various elected officials and community members there was a common concern about money, but that does not mean pumping money into the District. It means invest wisely, budgeting properly, using money in a smart way. Communication between the various boards in both Dunstable and Groton. With more communication, everyone will be on the same page, and there won’t be mismanagement and miscommunication.
  • Question:   The role of the SC is to act as an advocate liaison between the town and the District, how will you accomplish this?
    • Ryan McLane – He acknowledged that there had been an increased effort to have collaboration and communication between the two towns and the boards that has helped this year to identify some needs, invest money in the right way and bring down costs. He would like to further this effort by talking to community members, staff, and all stakeholders so he can gather information and utilize that information in the decision making process. That is how he functions in his career and what he would bring to the committee.
    • Rafael Glod – He has been meeting with town officials and listening to the community.  He believes that all community members should have representation and part of his platform is to make sure everyone has a voice at the table.  He likes talking with people and communication is very important as we work through financial troubles and getting everyone on the same page.