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April 24, 2013

Anderson, Devine vie for selectman's seat in W. Newbury

WEST NEWBURY — Voters have a choice to make next Tuesday in a race for a three-year term on the Board of Selectmen. None of the other 12 seats being filled at this year’s town elections are contested.

Polls in the Town Annex, 379 Main St., will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Selectmen’s candidates Joe Anderson and Kristi Devine recently answered the following questions on issues facing the town:

Joe Anderson

Address: 214 Bachelor St.

Age: 56

Occupation: region manager

Education: bachelor’s degree

Residency: 11 years

Public service: Finance Committee, 9 years; previous member of Regional Dispatch Study Committee and Zoning Board of Appeals.

Question 1: Where do you stand on moving toward a full-time fire department?

We have a high functioning volunteer fire department, with adequate coverage during daytime hours. The Board of Fire Engineers is looking at various staffing options for the future. I look forward to that discussion.

Question 2: Would you support a “Phase III” approach to the Page School renovations; how would you approach the infrastructure needs of the regional secondary school campus?

Town Meeting was very clear last year, asking to see a potential Page School project list. I’ll make this a priority. The potential projects need to be prioritized and have cost estimates associated with each component. My preference would be to incorporate the projects into the town’s capital improvements schedule, avoiding the need for another debt exclusion override.

In the not-too-distant future, the middle and high schools will face significant infrastructure needs. This will be a major financial challenge to the town. The middle school needs intermediary upgrades, such as the roof, windows and heating system, which may be eligible for a 50 percent green repair reimbursement from the state. Depending on the extent of the projects, West Newbury may be able to fund our share from free cash, avoiding a property tax increase.

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