, Newburyport, MA

May 15, 2013

Merry, Petersen elected in Rowley

Voter turnout was 10 percent

By Michelle Pelletier Marshall

---- — ROWLEY — Just over 10 percent of the town’s registered voters — 440 residents — turned out for yesterday’s annual town election, in which incumbent G. Robert Merry and David Petersen were elected to the Board of Selectmen.

In 2012, 762 residents cast votes in the town election; and the year before, when there was an override question on the ballot, voter turnout was nearly 22 percent.

The race for the three-year selectman seats was among Merry, John Noyes and Petersen. Merry and Petersen, with 312 and 231 votes respectively, beat out Noyes with 199 votes for the two available seats. Petersen had previously been a selectman for seven years and currently serves on the town’s personnel board.

“There is still some unfinished business that I would like to take care of,” said Merry, who is now finishing up his second, though not consecutive, term as a selectmen. I am thankful to the voters for having the confidence to keep me on the board.”

The other contested race on the ballot, for one seat on the Municipal Light Board, was among Robert Snow, who is currently a selectmen, and newcomers Merle Phipps and Kevin Snow (no relation to Robert) and was close across the board. Robert Snow received 149 votes, Kevin Snow 124 votes and Phipps 114 votes.

“The very first thing I will work to do is get the light board meetings to be held at night so that people can attend and have a voice,” said Robert Snow.

The position for the Board of Water Commissioners, though not a contested race, will be one to watch due to the recent issues in that department — DEP fines for water violations, building projects over budget and drastic increases in rates. Stuart Dalzell Sr. ran unopposed and received 342 votes.

“What has been done in the past is done,” said Dalzell. “We have to move forward.” Dalzell said this will be done keeping what’s in the best interest of the citizens in town as the first priority.

“Things simply cannot and will not continue in the fashion that has been going on,” he added.

Dalzell will attend his first water board meeting today at 6 p.m. at the 401 Central St. office. The meeting is open to the public.