The Southborough Library recorded and released their virtual Meet the Candidates event. (As I previously shared, the community was invited to submit questions in advance. The session wasn’t streamed live.)
The full video has been posted to the Library’s YouTube page. The event was introduced Library Director Ryan Donovan, who turned it over to the MC, Chair of the Library Trustees Marguerite Landry.
Landry encouraged candidates to share why they are running, what they hope to bring to the position, and what their philosophy is of how the Town should be governed.
The zoom event began with statements from candidates running unopposed for seats. (Scroll down for those details.) It ended with a statement from Meme Lutrell running unopposed for the Planning Board. Lutrell also answered a question submitted from a voter.
In between, about 35 minutes of the event was dedicated to the race for the Board of Selectmen. Candidates Andrew Dennington and Michael Weishan introduced themselves, then answered questions.
Both candidates voiced appreciation for the other running.
Dennington said he was running because:
I believe that my background and my experience and my temperament is best suited for the position at this time.
He referred to his tenure as Chair during “a tumultuous time” on the Zoning Board of Appeals, saying he believed he helped guide it to be more respectful to all parties. He followed:
I learned from that experience that when you’re in these types of positions, you’re not going to be making decisions that make everyone happy. But if you’re guided by what you think is in the best interest of our town, I think that will serve everyone well.
He also referred to experience on the Advisory Committee where they need to consider how the Town will pay for expenses.
Weishan referenced successes as the 6 (non-consecutive) term Chair of the Historical Commission, including saving the historic barn being installed at Chestnut Hill Farm. He said he was running because:
I think there is a real opportunity here, post-covid, to do some original thinking about some of the issues that face us. . .
I have looked around Southborough a long time and wondered why we don’t have more proactive, creative thinking.
He referred to the need to link the north and south side of town through trails for biking and walking and the potential for a community center. Not surprisingly, he also expressed interest in preserving Southborough history.
Landry then shared questions from four voters. The topics and answers are linked below. (I rephrased the questions for brevity.)
The first two focused on the controversial Park Central development:
Q: Do you think the development is a good project for Southborough and why? What role do you see selectmen playing in addressing concerns if the courts allow the project to go forward.
Q: If the project proceeds, would you vote, as the Board of Selectmen did in 2016, to deny the development access to Flagg Road due to traffic safety concerns?
The second two voters asked about PILOT payments by non-profits in town:
Q: Do you think the large non-profit private schools should contribute a fair share to Town tax-burdens? Can you explain your strategy for increasing PILOT payments? Do you agree with MA Bill H.3080 that would require PILOT payments equal to 25% of the taxable amount of property owned by these schools?
A separate event is being organized for the candidates competing for seats on the Regional School Committee. To submit questions, click here. Questions must be submitted by noon on May 4th, as the session will be recorded that evening. (Stay tuned for that video later in the day or two following the event.)
Below is the list of unopposed candidates on the ballot with links to their recorded statements from Wednesday night’s event:
Moderator – 1 year
Paul M. Cimino (incumbent)
Board of Health – 3 years
Southborough Housing Authority – 2 years
Robert John Braccio
Planning Board – 5 years
Meme Luttrell (incumbent)
Lutrell was asked about and outdated right turn only sign at the intersection of Mt. Vickery Road* and Route 85. She responded that she believed that eliminating it would require a modification of conditions to the approved Site Plan for the Post Office. She followed that she would look into it though, since she is also annoyed by it.
Five additional candidates who will appear on the ballot didn’t participate in the event:
Board of Assessors – 3 years
Heath S. Widdiss
Board of Commissioners of Trust Funds – 3 years
Susan Delarda-Wood (incumbent)
*The question actually referenced “Vickery Hill Road” but was clearly referring to Mt. Vickery.
Updated (5/3/21 9:49 am): I mistakenly posted that Ekberg was appointed to fill a vacancy. He was actually elected last spring to complete the term of a vacant seat.
Updated (5/5/21 8:38 am): I had referred to this week’s separate session for the Regional School Committee as for the Northborough seats. It was actually for the seats for both towns. I’ll be sharing that video later this morning.