Friday, May 16, 2003
Carlisle approves override, footpaths All incumbents re-elected
Although the news about the economy was all bad last year, the two questions on last Tuesday's ballot asked for relatively little money and both passed. Sixty-one percent of Carlisle voters said yes to Question 1, approving an override of $189,429 to provide additional funding for Concord-Carlisle High School. Fortunately, Concord agreed, passing override level 3b on the same day, matching the budget level that passed in Carlisle. (See "We have a match!" this page.) This settles the budget for the regional high school for another year and avoids a potentially expensive and divisive Joint Town Meeting.
A much slimmer majority of 52% approved $150,000, to be spent over five years, to build a 2.6-mile network of pathways, including the "school loop" and paths leading from the town center down parts of Bedford Road and East, Lowell, Concord and Westford Streets. Although the 616 to 557 vote margin was small, this was a huge victory for the Pedestrian and Bike Safety Advisory Committee, which had worked hard and campaigned hard to get the project approved. Although residents are usually willing to reach deep into their pockets to support schools and open space, pathways are much lower on the list of the town's priorities.
Reached for comment on the morning after the election, Art Milliken, a member of the Ped/Bike Committee, said he believed that a broad segment of the population supported the footpaths project. "There's an overall safety issue. And there are a lot of people that would rather walk, if they could." Deb Belanger, who chaired the committee for many years, agreed. "Support came from across all groups. It's not just for school- children. Folks in other generations saw this as a quality of life issue."
The town election also filled 12 vacancies on town boards and committees. In the three contested races, incumbent Selectman Doug Stevenson, and retiring Finance Committee member Tony Allison won three-year terms on the Board of Selectmen. Incumbents Gleason Library trustee Brooke Cragan and Planning Board member Dan Holzman were easily re-elected. (See complete election results on page 5.)
There were 1,186 ballots cast in the town election, a relatively good turn-out for a local election. Last year, when budget issues heated up the electorate, 1,561 voters cast ballots at Town Hall. It was a long hard day for town officials who worked at the polls from 6:30 a.m. to 10:15 p.m., including Town Clerk Sarah Andreassen, Assistant to Town Clerk Irene Blake, Election Warden Harriet Fortier and Police Officer Mike Burgess.
© 2003 The