ORLEANS — Mefford Runyon and David Currier were elected to the board of selectmen Tuesday. Runyon pulled down 1,147 votes to Currier's 1,008. Erik Oliver, who earned 868 votes, said he'll try again.
Turnout was 31 percent, with 1,797 ballots cast. Voters backed up several decisions made last week by town meeting, approving borrowing for the DPW/natural resources facility (1,212 to 499), for continued water quality project implementation (1,269 to 449), for the town's share of demolition of the Tri-Town Septage plant and compost building (1,322 to 373), and for its share of a feasibility study and schematic design for a renovated Nauset Regional High School (1,330 to 358).
Question 5 had no effect because town meeting chose not to support a ban on retail marijuana operations. Here the two democratic gatherings diverged; if the ballot question had counted, it would have passed 960 to 739.
The widest margin, 1,535 to 159, supported a non-binding advisory question calling for Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth to secure its spent nuclear fuel in secure dry casks.
Afterward, Runyon reflected on what he called a “close” election.
“I don't think this was a wastewater vote,” he said. “There was other stuff, (such as) downtown planning, economic development.” Citing one of his campaign issues, he said, “I think the desire for a community center is deep and wide in town. Everybody understands there isn't a lot of money to be had, but that doesn't mean we can't do planning.”
Currier didn't have much to say immediately after the vote, except to express his disappointment that his longtime friend Oliver wouldn't be joining him on the board. He said he had met Runyon “for the first time on the campaign trail” and “he seems like a nice guy.” For his part, Oliver said he was “glad I was part of the process. I learned a lot.”
Runyon and Currier were to be sworn in yesterday (May 17) and take their seats at that night's selectmen's meeting.
There were no official races for other offices. Moderator David Lyttle and Constable Paul Kelly had no opponents. Now-former selectman Sims McGrath won 1,243 votes and John Kanaga 1,159 for two openings on the board of health. Gail Briere was returned to the Orleans Elementary School Committee, and Sassy Richardson won the other available seat. Cheryl Bryan will remain on the Snow Library Board of Trustees, where she'll be joined by newcomer Steven Gass.
At press time, write-ins for one seat on the Nauset Regional School Committee and the Housing Authority were being counted. It appeared that Judith Schumacher had the most votes for the committee and Barry Alper for the authority.