Three candidates in Richmond are running for the open seat on the Board of Selectmen at the municipal election Tuesday.

Ryan Chandler, who is finishing out his term on the board, decided not to seek re-election.

“There’s no particular reason. I’m just busy with life,” Chandler, 44, said Wednesday, noting that his daughter is getting ready to graduate from high school.

“I don’t have the time to dedicate that’s required,” he said. “It’s easy just to show up at the meetings, but there’s a lot of other time spent going over numbers and figures and doing research, and I don’t have the proper time to dedicate to it.”

David Thompson, a former selectman who lost a re-election bid two years ago, is running again, as are Marilynn Grizkewitsch and Mark Taylor who both ran unsuccessfully a year ago in a six-way race for a single seat on the board.

In a change from other elections, this year’s voting will take place from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the selectmen’s meeting room in the Town Office at 26 Gardiner St.

Taylor declined to respond to repeated requests for interviews.

Grizkewitsch, 48, said she wants to become more involved in with the town, and has always gravitated toward positions where she’s able to contribute to decision making and creative problem solving.

“As with all towns, cities and states, we’re all running into financial issues and how we are going to afford to spend money on things that various different groups want to spend money on,” she said. “I think looking at the equity of programming in terms of our population and what is it that we can realistically provide within the parameters of economic development growth and the money the town actually brings in.”

Historically, Grizkewitsch said the town has spent about the right amount of money and has kept the town budget in check over the past several years — even as the school budget continues to increase — to maintain the property tax rate at stable level. But, she said, that may come at a cost.

“Have we created some sort of deficit in terms of what we’re offering on the municipal side by keeping that tax base low?” Grizkewitsch said.

Spending on municipal projects can be delayed only so long before town officials have to play catch-up, she said. Looking forward, she would like to see long-term planning put in place to prepare for major purchases in the Public Works and Fire Departments, for example, rather than coming up with short-term fixes

Grizkewitsch, who is married, is a certified teacher who is currently taking a break from teaching. Her son is graduating from high school this year.

“I think I can bring a different perspective and some out-of-the-box thinking in terms of creative ways to assist with or resolve what may be financial issues,” she said, “or looking at creative ways to offer new things or bring new things to town — businesses or program, whatever it may be.”

Thompson, 64, said he has served on the Board of Selectmen 13 out of the last 17 years, and he’s running again because he said Richmond needs more conservative votes on the board on all issues.

“Conservative versus very liberal,” he said.

Thompson, who is retired from 36 years at the U.S. Postal Service, including 10 years as postmaster in Richmond, said he never brings an agenda to the board.

“I have not come with my own agenda, ever,” he said. “I am there to serve the people. I’m there to find out what they want and make sure their voices are heard.”

In the budget that was just voted on, Thompson said he would have liked to have seen some of the undesignated fund balance used to keep the tax rate from going up this year.

“The fund balance has grown to an overabundant amount — that’s been by being conservative — and we’re past the rule of thumb is what you should have on hand,” he said.

That amount, Thompson said, is generally 25% to 30% of annual expenses, and the undesignated fund balance has about twice that.

“But I think the town has had their say on how they want their money spent,” he said.

Thompson said he thinks town residents know what he stands for, and that he gets their thoughts and feelings expressed at meetings and they are well represented.

“I want to be there to be conservative and get the people’s voices heard,” he said.

Thompson has lived in Richmond for 29 years, and is a homeowner and a property owner.

“I am concerned about keeping the taxes down and the schools good,” he said. “I have grandchildren in the schools now. I do care about the town.”


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