Greenfield voters head to polls
Five races for five Town Council seats
GREENFIELD — Shortly after 8 tonight, voters will have spoken and there will be five town councilors, either re-elected, newly elected or a combination, who will take their seats on July 1.
Town elections will be held today from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the Guiding Star Grange Hall, 401 Chapman St.
There are five races for five seats on the Town Council — something that hasn’t happened since 2008.
Voters from precincts 2, 4, 5 and 6 will elect their councilors, while voters in all precincts will have the opportunity to select the only at-large councilor in this year’s election.
But, the five Town Council candidates, along with 51-year-old Maryelen Calderwood of Sanderson Street and 32-year-old Adrienne Marie Nunez of Conway Street, who are both running unopposed for the pair of seats on the Greenfield school board, won’t know whether they are going to serve only a year-and-a-half or a full three-year term until election results are in.
The town has placed a binding question on the ballot that asks voters whether they’d like to see their town councilors and school board members, as well as the mayor, serve four-year terms beginning in January 2016 or continue serving three-year terms.
If voters switch to the four-year term of office for those seats, this year’s winners will serve only until December 2015 to facilitate the transition. They will have to run for re-election next November, because the town would switch its annual elections from June to November and would only vote during odd-numbered years.
Incumbent Town Council President Mark Wisnewski will face former At-large Councilor Isaac Mass as challenger for the position today at the polls.
Wisnewski, 49, of Montague City Road, said implementing the town’s new sustainable master plan, restoring teen services and finding a bigger and nicer space for the town’s senior center are the most important issues facing the town.
Mass, 37, of Linden Avenue, said the most pressing issues are getting a discount department store built, economic development and creating jobs, and the opioid addiction epidemic.
Other candidates this year are incumbent Alfred Siano and challenger Ronald Weaver in Precinct 2.
Siano, 73, of Meadow Wood Drive, said he is most concerned with schools, implementing the town’s new sustainable master plan and creating new jobs.
Weaver, 68, of Rockland Road, said education, diversity, growth and energy efficiency are the most important issues facing Greenfield today.
In Precinct 4, incumbent Steven Ronhave is facing challenger Thomas DeHoyos, who currently serves on the town’s Conservation Commission.
Ronhave, 66, of High Street, said he thinks turning Greenfield into a destination, creating jobs and economic development are important to Greenfield.
DeHoyos, 57, of Silver Street, said he believes fighting the addiction problem in Greenfield, creating jobs and supporting schools are important.
Newcomers Penny Ricketts and Robert Wainstein are vying for the seat in Precinct 5 being left vacant by former Council President David Singer, who decided not to run for re-election this year.
Ricketts, 54, of Main Street, said rising property taxes, jobs and improving services for the town’s young and aging populations are the most pressing issues facing Greenfield.
Wainstein, 63, of James Street, said the most important issues are economic development in Greenfield’s downtown, jobs and public safety.
In Precinct 6, incumbent and current Town Council Vice President Hillary Hoffman will face challenger Christopher Miller.
Hoffman said she wants to see the town’s new sustainable master plan implemented, wants to see plenty of support for education and the town’s youth and wants town leaders to concentrate on Greenfield’s finances.
Miller said the addiction crisis, a compromise to get a big box department store built in Greenfield and the town’s tax base are what he plans to concentrate on, if elected.
Many town leaders, and the 10 candidates for Town Council positions, have said they hope turnout at the polls is good this year. Some years there has been as little as 10 to 15 percent turnout of Greenfield voters.
Wisnewski defeated his opponent Cameron Ward by 14 votes three years ago, while Hoffman and Ronhave ran unopposed. Ricketts and Wainstein have never run for a Town Council seat, and Siano, who ran against Mayor William Martin in the mayoral election five years ago, was appointed to the Precinct 2 seat late last year. He had previously served as an at-large councilor.
Many have complained that running unopposed, being appointed or winning by a small margin does not constitute a mandate and that’s what they would like to see come from this year’s election.
There will be free public transportation provided by Franklin Regional Transit Authority to and from the polls.
From 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., FRTA will pick up voters on the following schedule:
∎ Weldon: 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m.
∎ High-Rise: 10:02 a.m., 12:02 p.m. and 2:02 p.m.
∎ Court Square: 10:03 a.m., 12:03 p.m. and 2:03 p.m.
∎ Mill House south entrance: 10:05 a.m., 12:05 p.m. and 2:05 p.m.
∎ Greenfield Gardens rental office: 10:10 p.m., 12:10 p.m. and 2:10 p.m.
∎ Elm Terrace Community Center: 10:15 a.m., 12:15 p.m. and 2:15 p.m.
∎ Leyden Woods: 10:25 a.m., 12:25 p.m. and 2:25 p.m.
The bus will return for voters after at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. after they vote.
For more information, call FRTA at 413-774-2262 or visit: www.frta.org.