Incumbent to face challenger for Belchertown Select Board seat



Published: 05-12-2017 11:39 PM

BELCHERTOWN — Select Board member Brenda Aldrich will face a challenger in the race for the three-year seat.

Aldrich will face Carla Dell’Olio at the polls as part of the annual town election Monday.

Brenda Aldrich

Aldrich, 57, is finishing her sixth year of serving on the Select Board. In her time, she said the board has accomplished much and still has work to do.

On the list of accomplishments, Aldrich counts the upcoming construction and opening of a new assisted living facility and the growth of the town’s stabilization fund.

“We’ve increased our stabilization fund over the past few years by a million dollars,” she said. “We’re seeing a growth in our stabilization, seeing businesses coming to town with pride.”

A 37-year resident of the town, Aldrich said she has always been active in town — volunteering with the schools as well as the Clapp Memorial Library and the fair committee. She manages Rannsaka, a craft and gift shop in town.

Aldrich said her “true asset” was her continual relationships with other area groups. As part of her duties on the Select Board, Aldrich has served as a liaison to the schools, the Council on Aging and other groups in town.

“The board is the eyes and ears for the other committees,” she said. “That is my strength — attending my liaison duties.”

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In the next 10 years, Aldrich said she sees the senior population doubling in size. That growth calls for a look at an assessment the senior center did, she said.

“What the board is going to be facing really in the next three years is that continued growth of our elderly, the growth of the senior population and that is why I want to continue to work toward helping to (make sure) the assessments are done and helping our seniors have access to what they need,” Aldrich said.

Carla Dell’Olio

Recently retired, Dell’Olio, 63, said a run for Select Board was something she considered for a number of years.

“Now I have the time to commit to serve the next three years without other involvements that would detract from ability to give full service,” she said.

Dell’Olio described herself as an energetic individual and has a skill set, ideas and vision that may be helpful for the town.

“Currently, I respect all of our public officials who voluntarily serve our community however, I am certain a more fruitful result is possible by working more with current programs available that most of our selectmen have chosen not to partake,” she said.

Those programs, Dell’Olio said, include the Massachusetts Municipal Association as well as the Hampshire Council of Governments. She said they are a value to the community because those organizations have resources that are available and allow the town to work together with other towns that may have similar problems.

“We need not to leave any stone unturned as we look to economic stability in Belchertown,” she said.

As a member of the Hampshire COG, Dell’Olio said the town has “true cost-saving advantages right now.”

“We could be saving more if it was being utilized more, and we have in the past,” she said. “It’s all about money. We need money and development and to be fiscally responsible, and there needs to be more transparency. I think the people of the town deserve that as well.”

Her focus, Dell’Olio said, is economic development and she said the town has an untapped resource in eco-tourism.

“I’m running to help improve Belchertown, strengthening both strong programs and especially those that need more attention,” she said. “With Washington in disarray, we need to get our own house in order, both statewide and especially here in Belchertown.”

Emily Cutts can be reached at