MOUNT VERNON — A 19-year-old college student is taking on a former town selectwoman for a seat on the Board of Selectmen.

Tyler Dunn

Tyler Dunn, an economics and international business student at Nichols College, located in Dudley, Massachusetts, faces off against Sherene Gilman, a 54-year-old supply chain coordinator for Saunders Midwest, for a one-year term at July 14 Town Meeting elections.

Elections will take place from 8 a.m., to 9 p.m. at the Mount Vernon Community Center.

The town’s open Town Meeting will be at 9 a.m. Thursday, July 18, at the Mount Vernon Elementary School.

Dunn said the number one issue he would tackle is the town’s transfer station.

The facility, which is only available for users with permits, is open Saturday and Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to noon year round, and Wednesdays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. for Memorial Day to Columbus Day.

Dunn said he would like to expand the hours and services of the transfer station, which he said has been unable to meet the needs of citizens during the coronavirus pandemic as they are producing more household waste and filling up the main receptacle at the station. He said he would pass the increased cost of operating the station on to people who dump metal and construction materials, as well as summer residents.

Dunn also said he wants to bring municipal meetings online, and increase the amount of documentation and town office services that are offered online.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, our town office was closed … and it was very difficult for people to register their vehicles … and really engage the town office for information they need,” he said. “We’d fund that modernization with a small fee on credit-card transaction.”

Dunn, who is the general manager of Flying Pond Variety, which is owned by his parents, said he would be able to easily handle the duties of a selectboard member, even though he will be attending a school that is a three-hour drive away. He said he has structured his schedule to have Mondays off, and scheduled morning classes so he can be available to constituents during the evening.

Dunn said residents should vote for him if they want change and to encourage younger residents to raise families in town.

“The main thing is that I want to bring change,” he said. “Mt. Vernon has been stagnant for years. I want to bring a youthful experience and a youthful knowledge to the town.”

Sherene Gilman

Gilman served on the Board of Selectmen from 2014 to 2o17, and also served on the Regional School Unit 38 Board of Directors. She said she was approached to run when the seat became available.

“The town means a lot to me and it’s my chance to serve again,” she said.

Gilman said her work experience, as a supply chain coordinator, and previous experience on the board would come in handy during the budget cycle. She said she could help the board keep the budget reasonable, even as state revenues — including municipal revenue sharing and local road assistance program funding — are uncertain due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Times are very different right now and I believe with the shortfall in revenue sharing coming down from the state that’s going to cause a challenge for municipalities,” she said, “I think it’s something I can help with; as a board, we can work through the shortfall of revenue sharing.”

“I hope it’s going to not be a challenging year, but reality tells me it’s going to be a challenging year,” she added.

Gilman said residents should vote for her because she is a lifelong resident with experience on the board, and she is “careful with tax dollars.”

Malcolm Hardy will run unopposed for a three-year term as Selectman, filling the second vacancy on the board as incumbent Selectmen Clyde Dyar and Trish Jackson are not seeking reelection.

Lee Dunn will run unopposed for reelection to a two-year term as Road Commissioner.

No candidates returned papers for three-year terms on the RSU 38 Board of Directors and the Elementary School Advisory Board.

Heather Wheeler will run for two-year terms as the Tax Collector and Town Clerk.

 

VOTERS TO DECIDE ON INCREASING BUDGET, NEW TOWN POSITION

As the warrant reads, municipal spending could be up to $1,693,110, a roughly 21.9% increase over last year’s approved expenditures of $1,388,736 during the last town meeting. Actual expenditures grew to $1,420,736.32 after some increases at special town meetings, according to Town Treasurer Kerry Casey.

Casey said the town tried to hold the line on a number of expenditures, but some were “long overdue.”

Selectman Paul Crockett said a large portion of the increase comes from a proposed repaving of Bean Road, which is covered by a warrant article asking to raise $200,277. Crockett said the job will place “a long-deferred second coat of pavement” over a first coat that may deteriorate if the job is delayed long.

The town meeting warrant is silent on how much revenue the town is going to have, a function of Casey’s uncertainty of how much revenue will come in from the state. Last year, the town approved $511,872 in municipal revenue.

“Towns rely desperately on municipal revenue sharing and (local road assistance program funding),” she said. “If it goes down quite a bit, I’m worried about that. We can’t control what the state revenue is. I’m not saying the state is the bad guy in this, the towns are just going to be hurting.”

Casey said she has not receive an official document that shows the town’s share of Regional School Unit 38’s budget, but she estimates it will be $3.74 million.

Residents will also have their say on a citizen’s petition to convert the town’s administrative assistant position to a town administrator position.

Other warrant articles deal with a proposed amendment to the Mount Vernon Holding Tank and a proposed amendment to the definition of driveways on private roads.


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