Marshall Bishop speaks at a candidates' forum. (David Carkhuff/The Laconia Daily Sun)
Gilmanton selectmen’s race was a fierce battle
By DAVID CARKHUFF/THE LACONIA DAILY SUN
GILMANTON — After a contentious campaign, Marshall Bishop, incumbent selectmen's candidate, defeated Don Guarino in a heated race, 493-311, in Tuesday's town voting.
On the town ballot, challenger Guarino and incumbent Bishop vied for a three-year seat on the board of selectmen.
The race grew acrimonious. Bishop's opponents criticized him for ongoing litigation between his business, Gilmanton Winery, and the Gilmanton Planning Board over the requirements of site-plan review. Guarino's opponents pointed to his Feb. 15 arrest for failure to appear in a civil case.
Critics of Bishop, including Guarino, have asserted that he has cost the town nearly $5,000 due to his litigation. Critics of Guarino have pointed to his run-ins with the law.
Rick Watrous, a former legislator who lives with his wife in Concord, said he hired Guarino as a contractor in November 2013 to work on the couple's sunroom and to shore up the foundation, but that much of the work remained uncompleted. In 2015, Watrous won in small claims court. The court ruled that Guarino failed to fulfill the contract. When Guarino failed to appear in court three different times, arrest warrants were issued, the last resulting in his arrest.
Previously, the former Gilmanton selectman ran afoul of the law as a selectman in late 2014. He pleaded guilty Dec. 4, 2014, in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division, to a violation level charge of forging a vehicle inspection sticker.
For town offices, three people filed to run for two three-year terms on Budget Committee: Deborah Fletcher, incumbent Brian Forst and Grace Sisti. Sisti won one seat with 511 votes, and Forst the other with 495 votes. Fletcher finished with 287 votes.
In another contested race, incumbent Glen Waring faced challenger Joseph Haas in a bid for treasurer. Waring prevailed with voters, 539-149, over Haas.
Incumbent John L. Dickey was sole filer for a three-year seat on the cemetery board. Dickey and Robert E. Richards filed for re-election to two, three-year terms as trustees of trust funds. Incumbent Martha Levesque was sole filer for a three-year seat on the library board. Michelle Descoteaux, Bambi Benton and Nancy MacArthur — all appointees to the supervisor of the checklist — filed for three positions on that board of varying terms. Incumbent Debra A. Cornett was sole filer for a three-year term of town clerk/tax collector.
Funding for the Gilmanton Year Round Library passed at the polls, 465-369.
The Gilmanton Year-Round Library, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, relied on fund raising last year after a 2016 warrant article was narrowly voted down by 51 to 49 percent. The request for $48,500 was designed to supplement a total operating budget of $77,833, officials said. Tax impact from passage was estimated to be $0.11 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, or $22 on a $200,000 property. The elderly exemption passed 638-160.
An article for a computer technology capital reserve fund of $20,000 failed, 327-485.
The town operating budget of $3,619,691 passed 663-134. The default budget was higher, at $3,649,393.
Grace Sisti. (David Carkhuff/The Laconia Daily Sun)
Brian Forst. (David Carkhuff/The Laconia Daily Sun)
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