CHATHAM – Cory Metters has taken out nomination papers for a third term on the select board.
“I still very much enjoy being involved,” Metters said about serving on the board. With several major projects pending and recovery from the pandemic likely to be a major concern in the coming year, “I don't think this is the time for me to step away,” he said.
The three-year terms of Metters and Dean Nicastro are up for grabs in the annual town election. Nicastro said last week that he is considering running but has not yet made a decision. Moderator William Litchfield, also up for re-election, said he anticipates seeking another term.
Metters grew up in town and is the owner of Chatham Penny Candy in downtown Chatham. He and his wife Rebecca have four children in the Monomoy school district, and the current discussion about the town's elementary school is an important one for him. He's in favor of retaining an elementary school in town, but there are a number of critical issues that need to be discussed around the regional school district agreement and financial obligations of Chatham and Harwich.
“These are delicate conversations, but they have to happen,” he said. “We have to keep an open mind about some of this stuff.”
The other major project facing the town is a new senior center. Metters supports building a new $8 million facility for the council on aging at 1610 Main St. He also supports efforts to build affordable and attainable housing, which he said involves “a multipiece discussion. It's not simply getting units.” Job opportunities, zoning and other elements play into the issue, he said. The town has lagged in the production of affordable housing. “We're going to have to be more aggressive on this,” Metters said.
As a business owner, Metters experienced the impact of the pandemic on the business community firsthand and expects next summer to be similar, with mask requirements and capacity limits remaining in place. “It's hurting business but it's a reality we're going to have to deal with,” he said.
Among his strengths, Metters said, is being approachable and willing to listen to all sides of a discussion.
“I recognize the importance of public input and public participation,” he said. “We have a community with a wealth of knowledge and backgrounds that can be an asset to town government. I'm more than willing to spend the time to listen to individuals who want to participate and help the town.”
As the youngest member of the board, Metters said he believes he brings an important perspective to discussions. “I'm certainly not afraid to be the lone vote on issues,” he added.
Also on the ballot are a three-year term for moderator and a five-year post on the housing authority.
Moderator William Litchfield said he expects to run for another term. The town's moderator since 1988, he said he enjoys the job. “I'd like to think that I have a pretty good understanding of how town meeting is supposed to work.” He added, “I've grown to like Veterans Field,” referring to last year's annual town meeting, held on the downtown baseball field. Despite the challenges of COVID-19, four town meetings were held last year, he noted, and they all went smoothly.
The select board has not yet determined a date or location for this year's annual meeting or election. According to the town bylaw, the annual meeting is supposed to be held on the second Monday in May, which puts this year's session on May 10; the election is held within eight days of the annual meeting, according to the bylaws, and this year is slated for May 13. However, the pandemic emergency declared by Gov. Baker allows officials flexibility in election and town meeting dates; last year both the annual meeting and election were held in June.
Incumbent Shirley Smith said she plans to seek another term on the housing authority. This would be her third full term; she was initially appointed to fill an unexpired term and was then elected to two five-year terms.
Candidates must collect a minimum of 41 signatures from registered voters to run for office; the town clerk's office suggests getting 55 signatures in case some are not legible or signers are not registered voters. Completed nomination papers must be submitted to the town clerk's office by March 25.