SALISBURY — According to former Selectman Jerry Klima, after nine years on the board, it’s time to pass the torch, but for those who served or worked with Klima, his presence will be missed.
“Jerry’s done a lot for the town,” said Planning Director Lisa Pearson. “I worked with him on a lot of things. I don’t think he’s going to stop working on behalf of the town just because he isn’t a selectman anymore.”
Pearson’s correct. On Tuesday, Klima won a three-year term as town moderator and will be at the podium for the first time at the May 20 Town Meeting. At one of his last selectmen’s meetings, he announced he’s going to continue working on the town’s recreation trail project, hoping to connect and extend it to the state border.
An avid biker, Klima is well known for his rail trail efforts, but according to Pearson, his involvement and energy has helped Salisbury in many ways. Klima was instrumental in the town’s purchase of its water system, she said, as well as a number of rezoning efforts that include the Beach Center and Salisbury Square. He developed the concept and language for Salisbury’s inclusionary housing ordinance, she said, which created a funding mechanism that supports the town’s Affordable Housing Trust. And there’s more.
“Jerry took a lead role on dealing with the (Bridge Road) flooding problem that revolved around Town Creek,” Pearson said.
Over the years, Klima, a retired corporate lawyer, used his legal talents to the town’s advantage.
“Jerry Klima has saved this town so much money in legal fees,” Selectman Henry Richenburg said. “He brought the town his gift of being a lawyer. “
Selectman Donald Beaulieu said it wasn’t that Klima eliminated the need for the town to seek expert legal opinions, for he didn’t. What Klima did that saved money was to review issues and do the legal groundwork before the town took issues to its paid legal experts, he said.