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Town Meeting: Rescheduled voting held Thursday

  • Steven Nadeau exits a voting booth on town election day at the Chichester Grange Hall on Thursday, March 16, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Six-year-old Elizabeth Weir helps her mother Malinda turn in completed ballots during voting at the Chichester Grange Hall on Thursday, March 16, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Moderator Ewen MacKinnon II inspects ballots before dropping them into the ballot box during voting at the Chichester Grange Hall on Thursday, March 16, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Moderator Ewen MacKinnon II drops a set of ballots into the ballot box during voting at the Chichester Grange Hall on Thursday, March 16, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)


Monitor staff
Friday, March 17, 2017

A snowstorm Tuesday had some town moderators and select boards opting to postpone ballot voting. On Thursday, Allenstown, Belmont, Chichester and Deering held their elections.

Chichester

Voters in Chichester may have gotten a sense of deja vu while casting their ballots.

Last year, residents approved a petitioned article exempting certain types of flags from a lighting ordinance. But because the ordinance specifically referred to the content of the signage, town officials worried it might be a First Amendment violation.

The planning board drafted a fix, which would have axed references to “federal, state, local, and military flags” and instead exempted all flags, unless they were commercial advertisements.

The problem? It never made it to the printers.

“I don’t know what happened, honestly,” Town Administrator Jodi Pinard said.

Instead, last year’s petitioned article found itself printed on the warrant in the town report. Pinard said the mistake was caught too late, and that because it was posted, officials couldn’t change it before the election.

“Not a moment I am proud of, to say the least,” she said.

She said the town’s lawyers believe the vote for that article would just be voided and that the board would bring the amendment back next year.

The zoning article on accessory dwelling units passed.

Incumbent Edward Millette ran for a one-year term on the select board against Stephen MacCleery and won, 158-116. No other races were contested.

“It’s our civic duty,” said resident Bob Mann. “Frankly this year it’s kind of a thin ballot, but I think a lot of people feel they have to vote regardless.”

Deering

All races were uncontested. Tom Cummings won the three-year cemetery trustee seat as a write-in with 12 votes.

The open space zoning ordinance passed, 155-46.

Allenstown

On the town ballot, the operating budget of $3.93 million passed. All other articles were also approved, except Article 21 regarding tax abatement for a charter school.

Incumbent Jeff Gryval lost his three-year term on the select board against Ryan Carter, 187-166.

Six candidates were running for four three-year terms on the budget committee. Ronnie Cox, Roger Laflamme, Debra Carney and David Coolidge were elected.

Noreen Bean, a five-decade resident of Allenstown, said she voted for familiar faces.

“Even though I don’t know everyone on the ballot, I voted for those I know will be good.”

Jim Barber took a different tack, saying he opted for “fresher voices.”

“A lot of time in small towns you get the same people running and nothing changes,” he said.

He also said he was glad the vote had been postponed from Tuesday – when a nor’easter pummeled the state – to Thursday. There’s no way he would have voted Tuesday, Barber said.

“I couldn’t see down my street,” he said.

On the school ballot, voters rejected the operating budget of $10.4 million and opted for the default of $10.2 million. The collective bargaining agreements for the teachers and paraprofessionals both passed. The school district did not approve $84,000 for a school resource officer.

Carl Schaefer, Misty Dube and Tom Irzyk ran for two three-year terms on the school board; Schaefer and Irzyk won the seats. All other school races were uncontested

Belmont

Due to internet and phone outages, Belmont’s results were not available by press time.