Montague sees 3-way race for selectman post
MONTAGUE — There are three contenders for the three-year seat on the Board of Selectmen to be awarded in the regular town election Monday.
Monday’s election is the first of two scheduled with a bearing on the board’s membership; longtime Selectman Patricia Allen has announced her resignation and a special election June 25 will select a candidate to fill the year remaining in her term.
The candidates in that election are Jeanne Golrick of Millers Falls and Michael Nelson of Montague City.
Running in the regular election are incumbent Christopher M. Boutwell Sr., Jacobo A. Roque and Matthew M. McMullin.
The selectmen’s race is one of two on the ballot in all six precincts, the other being for a five-year Housing Authority seat between Karen Casey-Chretien of 27 Union St., McMullin, of 19 Canal St., and Richard C. Thayer, of 28 Sunrise Terrace.
Precinct 1 is the only precinct with a race for town meeting seats. Nine residents are vying for seven seats: Kathleen S. Burek of 4 Burek Drive, Marlyn H. Reynolds of 62 East Taylor Hill Road, Sharon L. Kennaugh of 118 Taylor Hill Road, Michael J. Langknecht of 14 North St., John L. Reynolds of 62 East Taylor Hill Road, Raymond F. Sebold of 130 Meadow Road, Thomsa C. Kurtyka Sr. of 426 Turners Falls Road, Christine M. Mero of 31 Court Square, and Casey-Chretien.
Precincts 2 and 4 lack one candidate each for three-year seats, Precinct 3 has six candidates for seven regular seats and none for three partial one-year terms. Precinct 5 has three undesired three-year seats and Precinct 6 has four, both with two empty one-year seats.
Town Clerk Debra Bourbeau requested that any voters who know of anyone, or have family or friends who might be qualified, write those people in on the ballot.
Also to be decided Monday, on a separate ballot, is a three-way race for two seats on the Gill-Montague Regional School Committee.
Polls will be open Monday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in:
∎ Precinct 1, Montague Center: Montague Center fire station, 28 Old Sunderland Road, Montague Center.
∎ Precinct 2, Millers Falls: Highland School Apartments community room, 446 Millers Falls Road, Millers Falls.
■ Precinct 3, the upper hill section of Turners Falls: Hillcrest School auditorium, 30 Griswold St., Turners Falls.
■ Precinct 4, the second level of Turners Falls: Hillcrest School auditorium, 30 Griswold St., Turners Falls.
■ Precinct 5, downtown Turners Falls: Montague Senior Center, 62 Fifth St., Turners Falls.
■ Precinct 6, the South End and Montague City: Public Safety Complex community room, 180 Turnpike Road, Turners Falls.
Candidates, in the order they appear on the ballot:
Christopher M. Boutwell Sr.
Christopher M. Boutwell Sr. of 28 Sunset Drive, Turners Falls, is a longtime town meeting and Board of Health member looking to secure a second term on the Board of Selectmen, of which he is currently chairman.
“I just want to continue the work that the board has been doing for the last three years and bring some of these projects to completion basically, and deal with the problems as they arise,” Boutwell said.
Boutwell said he has been a town meeting member for close to 20 years and served on the Soldiers Memorial Committee and Board of Health for about 15 years each, as chairman of the Board of Health for a decade before joining the selectmen.
Boutwell identified the town’s greatest need as an end to the construction that has limited traffic on the Gill-Montague Bridge to one-way for years, and periodically closes the bridge entirely.
The multi-million-dollar state project began in 2010. The state Department of Transportation in 2011 updated it’s estimated completion date to the fall of 2013.
In terms of things the town government has control over, Boutwell said he is interested in disposing of the town’s several disused properties, which include the former Strathmore Mill, the Montague Center School and a handful of buildings in downtown Millers Falls.
“We unfortunately own a lot of town-owned property, and we have some things that are in the works with a few of these properties and I’d like to see them come to reality in the near future,” Boutwell said.
Boutwell said he would like to relieve the taxpayers of the costs of those properties and return them to the tax roles.
Boutwell said he is also interested in advancing the town’s planned Turnpike Road Industrial Park.
“I can hardly wait for us to start getting some business in there so we can recover some of the money that the town’s invested in it and we can get some businesses on the tax roles and take some of the burdens off some of the residential (taxpayers),” he said.
Matthew M. McMullin
Matthew M. McMullin, 47, of 19 Canal St., Turners Falls, is a longtime resident and former member of the Montague Housing Authority.
“I’ve been trying for years to get on the selectboard because I’m actually interested in what they do,” McMullin said.
“I’ve gone to a lot of selectboard meetings so I know the procedure, between them and town meeting members I know everything that needs to be done to a certain extent,” he said.
McMullin has a number of projects he would like to see financed through grant money.
McMullin said he has heard a lot of complaints about the brick sections of sidewalk on Avenue A, which he said are difficult to walk on and for people in wheelchairs, and would like to have the brick removed and replaced with concrete.
“Also, and in my opinion the town’s doing a pretty good job of it and hopefully it will go through, is getting rid of that eyesore that sits right across from where I live, and that’s the Strathmore Paper Mill,” he said.
McMullin said he hoes the prospective buyer currently studying the complex will take it off the town’s hands.
McMullin would also like additional help for all town departments, pointing to the fire chief’s posters around town calling for call force volunteers.
A downtown foot or bicycle police patrol on a varied schedule and a new home for the Department of Public Works are also among McMullin’s priorities.
McMullin said he has heard talk of including a new garage in the Turnpike Road industrial project and would like to see that become a reality.
All of his suggestions, McMullin said, are dependent on finding grant funding.
“I don’t want nothing done that’s going to cause taxes to be raised, that’s not what I’m looking at,” McMullin said. “The elderly and the handicapped that are homeowners are paying enough already, they don’t need to pay more.”
Jacobo A. Roque
Jacobo A. Roque, 35, of 20 Bridge St., Millers Falls, is running on the slogan “Look to the road of the future.”
Roque said he has been in public service as long as he can remember, first as a member of the Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps in high school, then the Civil Air Patrol.
“Soon after I was also a Springfield special police officer and I was also the first Latino constable to be appointed, by Mayor Albano,” he said.
Unlike Montague, where the role of the constables is limited to posting official town meeting warrants and delivering ballots, Springfield constables serve arrest warrants and receive training as what Roque described as a cheap solution to policing.
Roque later moved to Amherst where he said he joined the fire department, and most recently worked in assembly in Deerfield.
He and his family have now lived in Millers Falls for nearly two years.
“I always have to do something for my community, I can’t just sit down and watch it and do nothing,” he said.
Roque believes it should be possible to increase police patrols without increasing taxes, possibly by utilizing reserve officers, and would also like to do something about the litter in Turners Falls and Millers Falls.
“One plan that I do have is to establish some organization to come in once in awhile and clean up, make the town look presentable,” he said.
Roque said he is pro-school and praised the Turners Falls High School, where his daughter is a student.
Roque said he believes his age makes him more connected to the present and the possibilities of the future.
“If you vote me in I will do my very best, my ears are open, my email is open; firstname.lastname@example.org, just let me know ... any time your time is available I’m available,” he said. “I’m here for the community equally, not ‘you’re not my race’ or ‘you’re not my political party or beliefs.’ We’re all equal.”