By Jon Winkler
Election season will start coming to a close next Monday with three towns holding contested races for seats on municipal boards.
The towns of Ayer, Pepperell and Townsend will host elections on April 22. Ayer’s polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Ayer Town Hall while the polls in Pepperell are open for the same duration at the Varnum Brook Elementary School. Townsend’s polls are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Townsend Town Hall.
Ayer and Pepperell will see two contested races and Townsend seeing none. After next Monday, the next set of elections come in May starting with Shirley on May 7 followed by then Groton and Dunstable on May 21.
Ayer’s election will see Christopher Hillman try to retain his position on the Board of Selectmen for three more years against newcomers Ruth Maxant-Schulz and Michael George Pattenden. Moderator Thomas Horgan Jr. is also running for re-election to another three-year term against newcomer Samuel Goodwin Jr. Other officials up for re-election to three-year terms will run uncontested, including Constable Clark Paige, James Stephen of the Commissioner of Trust Funds, Park Commissioner Sarah Gibbons and Patricia Peters of the Board of Health. John Kilcommins will also be running to join the Board of Assessors for a three-year term.
Two locals sworn into municipal positions will be running unopposed for their first official terms next week. Cheryl Alfieri-Simmons of the Ayer-Shirley Regional School District Committee and Jonathan Kranz of the Planning Board will both run for three-year terms.
The Ayer Library Board of Trustees has two open seats to fill, with Robert Gardner Jr. running for a three-year term and Rebecca Goff Campaner running for a two-year term on the board.
Ayer’s ballot will also ask voter approval for the town to use an additional $650,000 in real estate and personal property taxes to buy a new fire engine.
Pepperell’s two contested races are for seats on the Board of Selectmen and the North Middlesex Regional School District Committee. David Herman and Margaret Scarsdale are vying for the three-year selectman’s seat currently held by Chair Roland Nutter, who will not be running for re-election. The school committee will see incumbent Lisa Martin run for another three-year term against newcomer Thomas Casey.
Other incumbents running for re-elections to three-year terms include Michael Coffey of the Board of Assessors, Thomas Nephew of the Public Works Board, Brendan McNabb of the Recreation Commission, Charles Burnham and Lynda Warwick of the Lawrence Library Board of Trustees.
Newcomers are also running to fill seats in town government. Grover Pillsbury is running to join the Board of Health for a three-year term, Irene Santackas-Leddy is running for a spot on the Housing Authority for a two-year term, Albert Patenaude Jr. will run for a four-year term on the Planning Board and Kimberly Casey will run for a one-year term on the Recreation Commission.
Pepperell will also ask residents to vote on whether or not marijuana establishments should be prohibited in town.
Townsend has no contested races.
Townsend’s ballot has seven questions on its ballot, all revolving around the town adopting a zoning bylaw amendment that would prohibit specific types of recreational marijuana businesses in town: cultivators, product manufacturers, retailers, testing facilities, research facilities, transportation or distribution facilities.
Among those running uncontested: Raymond Boyes is running to stay with the Cemetery & Parks Department, Susan Robbins running to stay on the North Middlesex Regional School District Committee, Walter Mann Jr. is running to remain the veteran on the Trustees of Soldiers Memorial, Alison Bird and Valerie Goodrich will both run to stay on the Board of Library Trustees. All incumbents are running for three-year terms.
Newcomers are also running unopposed for certain positions in town. Donald Klein is running to join the Board of Selectmen and Todd Melanson is looking to join the Board of Water Commissioners, both for three-year terms. Charles Sexton-Diranian is also running to join the Planning Board for a five-year term.