Gill election to decide change to appointed positions, Sewer Commission expansion

By CHRIS LARABEE

Staff Writer

Published: 05-15-2024 9:54 AM

GILL — While every race is uncontested in Monday’s town election, voters will be asked to consider three ballot questions related to changing the treasurer and tax collector positions to appointed roles and expanding the Sewer Commission by two members.

Polls will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the second floor of the Gill Town Hall.

While all three questions are coming to the ballot, it is not the first time they will be considered by residents, as they require approval at both Town Meeting and at a town election. Voters approved the treasurer and tax collector changes at the May 6 Annual Town Meeting and they also approved the Sewer Commission change at a November 2023 Special Town Meeting.

Town officials say changing the treasurer and tax collector positions from elected to appointed would open up a wider pool of candidates for the increasingly complex jobs. At Town Meeting, the Selectboard also noted there is no recall mechanism in Gill, which means someone who is elected to the role will stay in it until they resign, even if they do not know how to do the job or if they refuse to do it. If an appointed person were to fail to meet expectations, that person could be handled as a regular town employee.

“The level of knowledge and training required, the responsibilities, the cash or money management, all of those are too important to basically put out to a popularity contest,” Town Administrator Ray Purington explained.

If the change is approved at the election, the current treasurer and tax collector will serve out their terms.

As for the Sewer Commission, voters are asked to consider allowing the Selectboard to appoint two additional members. The Selectboard currently serves simultaneously as the Sewer Commission and residents have worked with the board to come up with a way to potentially increase representation of the Riverside neighborhood because none of the three Selectboard members live there.

The conversation began in 2022 when Riverside residents started to meet with the Selectboard to discuss rising sewer rates, pump motor difficulties and the capital needs of the 40-year-old system.

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“It is thought that by adding two appointed members with ties to the Riverside neighborhood, the Sewer Commission will have a closer connection to the community it serves,” an explanation from the 2023 Special Town Meeting packet reads. “In addition, it is hoped the extra members will be able to assist in researching solutions to operational challenges and equipment needs, and to help apply for grants to offset most or all costs.”

The election ballot, in which all candidates are incumbents, is as follows:

■Selectboard/Sewer Commissioner, three-year term — Charles Garbiel III.

■Board of Assessors, three-year term — Thomas Storrow.

■Cemetery Commission, three-year term — Joan Pillsbury.

■Moderator, three-year term — Isaac Bingham.

■Library trustee, three-year term — Anna Hendricks.

■Library trustee, one-year term — Jacob Morrow.

■Board of Health, three-year term — Jeffrey Blomstedt.

■Town clerk, three-year term — Doreen Stevens.

Chris Larabee can be reached at clarabee@recorder.com.