CHATHAM – Voters returned incumbent Select Board members Cory Metters and Dean Nicastro to office for another three years in Thursday's annual town election.
Chatham native Metters topped the vote tally with 832 votes, followed by Nicastro with 685 and challenger Tom Wilson with 406. This is the third term for both Metters and Nicastro. The contest for the two three-year terms on the board was the only race on the ballot.
The town has several major issues in front of it, including water contamination and the future of Chatham Elementary School, Nicastro said. He'll honor advisory voters taken at town meeting, including filing special legislation to create a surcharge on property sales of more than $2 million, but is “still a little dubious” about the chances for approval by the state legislature. He will also pay attention to the town meeting approval of a petition article to add the town-owned land at 127 Old Harbor Rd.
“But I want to see what the plan is and what the costs will be, and I'll make my decision then,” he said.
Nicastro has served as the board's liaison to the council on aging for the past six years and said there's no clear path going forward following town meeting's defeat of a proposed new senior center at 1610 Main St. The current facility on Stony Hill Road is “just unfit for their needs going forward in the future,” he said, and anticipates pressure to re-examine the viability of incorporating a senior center at the elementary school and community center.
“Both of those are very complicated situations,” he said. He is encouraging a joint meeting between the select board and council on aging board “just to see where we go from here.”
Nicastro said he was grateful to voters for returning him to office and congratulated Wilson on his “vigorous” campaign.
“I respect anybody who puts themselves forward and works very hard to serve in government,” he said.
Regarding the senior center, Metters said the board needs to engage with both the public and the COA board.
“Public input is going to be a critical element in our conversations going forward,” he said, adding that solving the senior center dilemma is going to take a lot of work. “We're just going to have to dive right into it,” he said.
Metters said he has “strong feelings” about using 127 Old Harbor Rd. for affordable housing, but is open to a dialog on the matter. “It would need to be brought back to town meeting” before a final decision is made, he noted.
He said he was “thrilled” to serve another term. “Right now I'm focused on the next three years,” he said.
A total of 1,115 voters turned out for the election at the community center, 18 percent of those registered.
Voters also approved two debt exemption ballot questions for $7 million in wastewater funding (831-217) and $4.5 million for stormwater (820-229) projects. Both measures were approved at the June 13 town meeting.
A third ballot question seeking approval to borrow money for a new senior center was moot since the measure failed to get the necessary two-thirds vote at Saturday's annual town meeting. Voters, however, turned down the question 508 against to 481 in favor.
Running unopposed were moderator William Litchfield, school committee candidate Danielle Tolley and housing authority member Shirley Smith.
The select board met Friday to reorganize, naming Peter Cocolis chair, Shareen Davis vice chair, and Metters as clerk.