Published Date Written by Gail OberGILMANTON — With the impending retirement of Selectman Rachel Hatch, two former selectmen will face each other for a three-year term to take her place.
Betty Ann Abbott served as selectman for one term and was the board chair during her third year. In 2011 she chose not to run for a second term.
Don Guarino served a selectman for six years and was the board chair twice. He took last year off.
Abbott said the reason she wanted back into the fray is because she is "very concerned about what I am seeing with the management of our town."
She said she the current town leaders are not following proper personnel policies, town procedures and ordinances. Abbott also said she is seeing a lack of respect for some of the town's department heads but declined to say which ones.
After the last budget sessions, Abbott said she also is concerned about the lack of funding for many of the capital reserve accounts the town has traditionally contributed to annually.
"It's like raiding the future to pay for the present," she said.
She also said she was upset that the selectmen originally weren't going to put the warrant articles they didn't support before the SB-2 deliberative session until she and some others who attended the public hearing on the budget raised concerns about not presenting them to voters.
She said that the town's credit rating could be affected by its lack of saving for things the town's leaders know they will need in the future.
Guarino said he supported what he called the temporary cessation of some of the capital account funding. He said with insurance and fuel costs continuing to rise and the the property taxpayers shouldering the taxes that they needed a break until the economy turns around.
With an eye to residential property tax relief, Guarino also wants to encourage development of the business corridor along Route 106.
"I want to be more proactive about bringing more businesses to Gilmanton," he said.
Describing himself as the more experienced candidate, Guarino said he also wants to meet with the Belknap County Commissioners about the dues paid to Lakes Region Mutual Fire Aid and the new proposed Belknap County House of Corrections.
As for recycling, Abbott said she favors some kind of plan to get more people to recycle.
"We've tried for years to get some plan in place but it's never passed at town meeting," she said, noting over the years to town has had numerous recycling committees that have gone nowhere.
She said she is aware that it costs the town money to throw away garbage and recycling saves the town money but she's not sure the residents are ready for some kind of mandatory program.
"We'll see what happens to Article 38," she said.
Article 38 on this years warrant, if it passes, will ask selectmen to set up some kind of system that requires the separation of garbage and recyclables.
Guarino described himself as an "avid recycler" who recycles nearly 80 percent of the household waste in his own home.
"I believe in it myself but don't believe making it mandatory will work in Gilmanton," he said.
In summary, Abbott said she wants to be the "voice of reason" for Gilmanton to respect all the laws and ordinances adopted by the people. "I want to keep Gilmanton the special place that it is," she said.
Guarino also noted that if he is elected he would write a monthly update for the local newspapers that would summarize what the board has been doing. He noted that many of the elderly don't use the Internet and still depend on newspapers for much of the information about the town government.
There will be a candidates forum Wednesday, March 6 at the Gilmanton School starting at 6 p.m. Both candidates said they would attend and encouraged members of the general public to attend as well.