A new selectman and a contested town clerk race await Tisbury voters when they head to the polls Tuesday. The town will also vote on its first general budget override in more than 20 years and a nonbinding resolution asking the governor to close the Plymouth nuclear power plant.
Elections take place Tuesday, May 13 from noon to 8 p.m. at the Emergency Services Facility on Spring street.
Residents will vote on a $1.3 million general override, which is needed to cover a $1.1 million budget deficit and fund stabilization accounts for several town departments. Town meeting voters last week approved a 2015 operating budget of nearly $23.1 million.
Longtime finance and advisory committee member Melinda Loberg is running unopposed for selectman Jeffrey Kristal’s seat. Mr. Kristal announced last month he would not seek reelection for a third term.
In addition to her 12 years on the finance committee, Mrs. Loberg is also a member of the harbor management committee and the wastewater planning committee. She has been a volunteer EMT for 15 years, and is an elected county commissioner, a position she will vacate once taking up her selectman seat.
At a candidates’ forum hosted last month by the League of Women Voters, Mrs. Loberg said she felt the biggest challenge the town faces are fiscal in nature, particularly in light of planned changes to the Tisbury School.
When it comes to the proposed expansion of the Water street Stop & Shop building, Mrs. Loberg was diplomatic.
“While I am very concerned that the size of this project is new to us—it’s going to be jarring, going to be different downtown—I also appreciate the fact that a tremendous amount of money will be poured into a rather seedy area and, of course, the gateway to our community,” she said, adding that traffic studies would need to be “high on the list” of future needs.
Mrs. Loberg said that in any situation she relied on “data, facts and expertise to inform my judgement.”
“I don’t come into this with opinions that are fixed and unchangeable,” she said. “I invite all of you in town to teach me things that I need to know.”
There is only one contested race this year, as town clerk Marion Mudge is retiring after thirty years on the job. Ms. Mudge was recognized at last week’s annual town meeting for her years of service. Two candidates are vying for her position: Hillary Conklin and Barbara Lampson.
Ms. Conklin is the administrative secretary to the Tisbury selectmen, a position she has held for 16 years. Ms. Lampson is the children’s librarian in Aquinnah, a position she has also held in Chilmark. She grew up on the Vineyard and worked for ten years in film production before returning to Tisbury.
At the candidate forum Ms. Conklin said that her familiarity with town hall would be an asset. In her tenure, she said, she has also served as acting assistant to the town administrator, acting shellfish constable, and acting town administrator.
Ms. Lampson said she was running because of a commitment to the town meeting system and Tisbury voters. She attended her first town meeting at age 11.
“The town clerk has a particular responsibility...to serve the voters directly,” she said.
In contrast to the town clerk contest, the race for finance and advisory committee is an empty one, with just two candidates running for a total of seven available seats. Jynell Kristal and Mary Ellen Laursen are both seeking re-election to a three-year term.
There are no candidates for a two-year term nor a one-year term on the committee. Outgoing town clerk Marion Mudge said that if there are no write-in winners, the current committee and the board of selectmen would need to meet jointly to appoint new members.
A bylaw was approved during the special town meeting last week that would gradually reduce the number of finance committee members to nine from its current roster of 11, but Ms. Mudge said this needs approval from the state attorney general’s office.
Positions on the board of assessors, board of health, school committee, water commissioner, planning board, public works commission and land bank commission are uncontested. There are two spaces available for write-in candidates on the library board of trustees; Carolyn Henderson has announced her write-in candidacy for one of the two available positions.