Wednesday, May 14, 2014
GRANBY — Voters Monday will be asked to approve a $363,041 Proposition 2½ property tax override to pay for the first year of a new waste-collection program approved at a special Town Meeting in April.
In the town election that takes place from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the East Meadow School, there also are two contested races, one for a seat on the Select Board and the other for a position on the Planning Board.
Pamela M. Desjardins, who is chairwoman of the Planning Board, and Kyle A. Nobes, a senior at Western New England University in Springfield, are challenging incumbent Louis M. Barry for a three-year term on the Select Board. Robert F. Sheehan Jr. and Glen N. Sexton are seeking a four term on the Planning Board. Michael Pandora, who had been appointed to fill an unexpired term, is not seeking election.
Approval of the override would add 63 cents for every $1,000 of assessed value on residents’ property tax bills, according to Town Administrator Christopher Martin. The curbside trash and recycling collection program would allow every household one 35-gallon trash container per week and unlimited single-stream recycling — which means all types of recyclables can be put in the same bin — every other week. Any excess trash would have to be placed in “pay-as-you-throw” bags.
The Select Board voted March 17 to enter a three-year-contract with Republic Services Inc. in Chicopee as waste collector for the town.
Select Board race
All three Select Board candidates named the future of West Street School — which is plagued with structural problems — and bringing businesses into town as major issues.
Barry, 60, is chairman of the Select Board and finishing his first three-year term. He was the chief of police from 1987 — the same year he became a town resident — until his retirement in 2010. He now teaches at Holyoke Community College, Cambridge College and the Western Massachusetts Police Academy in Springfield.
He said his first priority is devising a plan for the West Street School. If structurally possible, part of the building could be used for town offices, he said.
Barry also called for establishing an economic development advisory board consisting of local experts to consider how to attract new businesses. He pointed out that Granby is home to professors from local universities who could share their expertise.
And Barry believes the town should be thinking about a long-term plan for solid-waste disposal. “Three years goes by really fast, so I think we have to get moving on that,” he said.
As well as serving on the Select Board, he is also on the Veterans Memorial Committee, the Library Building Committee and Library Capital Campaign Committee and he is the tax title custodian.
He is married to Dianne Barry, who was transportation coordinator and outreach worker at the Council on Aging until her retirement in 2012. The couple has two sons.
Desjardins, 63, who has completed two years of a five-year-term on the Planning Board, has been a financial consultant for 40 years. She grew up in Granby but has also lived and worked in the Boston and the New York metropolitan areas. She owns the farm OWL Acres Alpacas with her partner, Sophie Majchrzak.
Desjardins said if she were elected to the Select Board, she would resign from her position on the Planning Board.
She would aim for better communication among town boards and departments.
“We need transparency in the government and how it’s operating,” she said. “Mostly, we need people working together and I’m not seeing a lot of that.”
She said she believes cooperation between the Select Board and Planning Board is the best way to create a plan for bringing more businesses into town.
As chairwoman of the Planning Board, she said, her intent has been to expand economic development while still maintaining the character of Granby. She added that with the recent closure of the landfill, the town needs new ways to increase revenue.
“Some of these decisions just have to be made,” she said. “We don’t have any more time to wait.”
Nobes, 23, a Granby native, will graduate Saturday from Western New England University with a degree in industrial engineering/engineering management. Since the age of 19, he has been a part-time employee of the town Highway Department doing seasonal work and he also works for a contractor in town doing carpentry. Nobes is a member of the town agricultural commission.
Nobes said he has always been interested in politics and hopes he can offer a new perspective.
“I pretty much want to be a younger, fresh mind coming in without any kind of premeditation, agenda or any past experience or connections in the town,” he said.
Nobes’ family owns a farm where they board horses, give riding lessons and keep chickens.
His parents are William and Carol Nobes. He has a twin brother, Garrett, and a younger sister, Lindsey.
Sheehan, 56, a lifelong resident of the town , is president and chief operating officer of R.F. Sheehan Associates Inc., an engineering company. He believes his experience will help bring more businesses to Granby.
He applauds recent steps the Planning Board has taken to make the town more business-friendly. At a special Town Meeting in March, residents approved several changes to zoning bylaws the board proposed, including the creation of several mixed-use districts.
Sheehan is a commissioner of trust funds and previously served on the Board of Health. He is married to Beth Ortensi and has three children.
Sexton, 45, is unit manager for the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department in Springfield.
He said his goal is to keep current residents in town while attracting new families to Granby. He also wants to see the town bring in new businesses while retaining the appearance of a small town.
He and his wife, Tracie Sexton, have two daughters.