The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, May 16, 2008

Override passes at Town Election

Contested races won by Tice, Williams, Fink, Salemy and Rosas

See election results chart

Voters on Tuesday, May 13, approved a $251,610 levy-limit override by a margin of 375 to 246. With passage of the override to support the Concord-Carlisle Regional High School in addition to the FY09 budget passed at Town Meeting on May 5, Carlisle residents face a 3.7% increase in real estate taxes in the coming year.

Incumbents John Williams and Bill Tice will return for another three years on the Board of Selectmen. Williams and Tice had 416 and 377 votes respectively, beating Cindy Nock, who received 279 votes. In a close race for two openings on the Carlisle School Committee, William Fink, with 347 votes, and Louis Salemy, with 339 votes, placed ahead of Don Rober, who received 292 voters. Fink and Salemy will each serve three-year terms. Ann Rosas won a three-year term as a Gleason Library Trustee, beating opposing candidate Vera Tice 278 to 215.

Only 625 people, or about 18% of the town’s registered voters, participated in an unusually low turnout for an election that included an override question. For comparison, there were 1,020 ballots cast cast (representing 30% of registered voters) last May in a similar local election that included a quarter-million dollar override and two contested races.

In uncontested races, Tom Raftery was re-elected Town Moderator, Michael Coscia was elected to the Board of Assessors, Jeffrey Brem was re-elected to the Board of Health, Susan Stamps won another term on the Housing Authority, and Michael Epstein was re-elected to the Planning Board.

Only one official candidate ran for the two openings on the Planning Board, but six people received write-in votes. Gordon Kent Gonzales received 10 votes, David Freedman was given five votes, and one vote each was cast for Louise Hara, Chris Peterson, Don Allen and Clive Jacques. Gonzales, Freedman and Hara have served previously on the board. Town Clerk Charlene Hinton said she will contact the write-in candidates, starting with those who received the most votes, to learn if anyone is willing to accept the three-year term on the board.

The terms of newly elected officials begin as soon as they are certified and sworn in by the Town Clerk. Hinton said they may ask to be sworn in immediately after the election tallies are complete, or they may drop by the Town Hall in the next day or two. In contrast, the terms of appointed town board and committee members usually begin on July 1, coinciding with the beginning of the town’s fiscal year. All new town officials are given a copy of the Town Committee Handbook that explains the Open Meeting Law and offers guidance on how to conduct public meetings and avoid conflicts of interest.

Eva Herndon and Kerri Piette served as Election Wardens, organizing the many volunteers who help with the election process. Throughout the day, workers took four-hour shifts to check-in voters and turn the crank as ballots were fed into the town’s wooden ballot box. After the polls closed at 8 p.m., another set of volunteers counted ballots. The counters work in pairs whose members are balanced along party lines.

Hinton called election day “surprisingly slow.” Only one person voted during the first 10 minutes after the polls were opened, and 63 more arrived in the next two hours. The pace picked up toward the end of the day when a steady stream filed in during the last 20 minutes. Two people tried using the handicapped-accessible voting machine to learn how it works, but there were no requests for the machine by disabled citizens.

Carlisle has a population of 5,593, with 3,504 registered voters. ∆

© 2008 The Carlisle Mosquito