Auburn’s annual Town Election is Tuesday, May 16. Polls are located at the Auburn High School gymnasium and will be open from 8am to 8pm.
This year’s election features only one contested race for selectman. There are three candidates for two open seats. Dan Carpenter is running for reelection, while outgoing selectwoman, Denise Brotherton, has decided not to seek reelection.
Dan Carpenter is a lifelong Auburn resident and a 1991 graduate of Auburn High. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in history from Worcester State University. Dan currently works as an auditor for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. Dan has served on the Planning Board, Conservation Commission, the Economic Development Committee, town meeting and on the Board of Registrars. “I have a broad knowledge of our town government, how it functions and recognize the importance of working together for the betterment of the town,” said Carpenter.
Carpenter says he will continue to be sensitive to the budget, taxes, and holding the tax increases below the 2.5% maximum allowed under Proposition 2 1/2. “Auburn has two new schools and a newly refurbished school, an excellent school system, and great services. We have great recreational facilities. Those are two major things for businesses and people looking to move to Auburn” said Carprenter.
He will also focus on economic development, pursuing what is economically feasible. “The 2006 Master Plan, including the Drury Square redevelopment, is still a solid plan. I would have liked to have seen more progress in the last 11 years, but the exonomy from 2008-2011 really hurt” said Carpenter. “I think improving the walkability of Southbridge St., from Drury Square to the Mall and even beyond would be great.”
As for the tax rate, Carpenter supports continuing to move toward a single tax rate for business and residential, but at a very controlled pace. “We went from a factor of 1.5 to 1.2 in less thank 10 years, and during the worst economic recession in our lifetime” said Carpenter. “We need to remain competetive, need to continue to look at the split. But we need to be responsible when we do move it. Auburn offers more services and more traffic for business.”
He added, “I have been in public service for 21 years, and I do it because I want to help people, I want to be a resource. I try to add value and I am motivated to do the work.”
Tristan LaLiberte Tristan LaLiberte is a lifelong Auburn resident, living on Rock Rd. He attended St. Peter’s in Worcester and Holy Name High School. He is currently a second- year student at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst studying pre-law and political science. Growing up, LaLiberte played town soccer and worked at Shaw’s before entering college. In high school, he participated in Mock Trial, and was on the cross-country team, serving as captain his senior year.
LaLiberte says that based on his conversations with residents, roads and taxes continue to be the top issues facing the Town. “I really liked what Lionel [Berthiaume] did, proposing the committee to look into tax breaks for seniors.” Many of the recommendations were passed at the annual Town Meeting back on May 2.
LaLiberte also states that he is against the ballot question, which asks residents whether or not they approve of a moratorium on marijuana dispensaries in town. “There is an impression that young people don’t care about politics, and I want to change that perception.”
Nicholas Antanavica grew up in Leicester, and attended Holy Name High School. He earned bachelor’s degrees in civil and architectural engineering from Drexel University. He lives in Town with his wife and two children. Antanavica was formerly Auburn’s Building Commissioner and Zoning Enforcement Officer, and currently works as a project manager for R.H. White in Auburn.
Antanavica hoped to help the town move forward in a positive direction. “Auburn is in a good financial position, with the bond ratings and business coming to town. We want to continue that.”
He also wants to continue pushing Auburn as a business-friendly community. “Business represents a large tax base and more services for residents, but we need to do so in a proper manner. There needs to be balance between business and residential in town.”
Antanavica feels he could bring a diverse background to the Board. He has lived and worked in Washington, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. In addition, his work has given him the opportunity to work with many municipalities. “I learned a lot, and saw a lot of perspectives from other towns and cities. I can bring some of those best practices I’ve seen to Auburn.”
He added that you don’t see a lot of people in his age group running for office because of the constraints of family, full time jobs, and other obligations. He feels he can bring a young family perspective to the role, and is ready to commit his energies to the position.
In other races – all uncontested:
Library Trustees (3 years)– Suzette Dowd and Matthew Toth
Library Trustee (1 year unexpired term) – Ellen Ganley
Moderator – Chester Stencel, Jr.
School Committee – Jessica Harrington and Gail Holloway
Southern Worcester Regional Vocational School Committee – Donald Erickson
Each precinct will vote for eight Town Meeting Members. According to Town Clerk, Debra Gremo, Precinct 4 needs additional candidates for Town Meeting, as only 5 have taken out papers. Anyone can run as a write-in candidate.
Finally, voters will be asked to vote on one ballot question that will decide whether or not to limit marijuana businesses in town. A “Yes” vote on this question would ban all commercial businesses related to non-medical marijuana. The proposal does not prohibit the personal growing or use of marijuana at a residence as allowed under current state law.
The full 2017 ballot by precinct can be accessed HERE.