STONEHAM, MA - With a tax referendum question already on the ballot, this spring’s upcoming municipal elections were already sure to draw considerable interest.
However, with five contested race for office, including two challenges for seats on the Board of Selectmen, voters should expect quite a bit of pre-election activity this year.
According to Town Clerk Maria Sagarino, who will run unopposed for re-election after capturing a one-year unexpired term in office last spring, 12 elected offices will be determined when citizens cast a ballot on April 2.
This year, voters are also being asked whether to approve a 1 to 3 percent tax surcharge under the Communities Preservation Act (CPA).
Proponents of the tax initiative, which would create a special fund for recreation, historical preservation, public housing, and conservation projects, have estimated that the average homeowner could expect a $50 increase in their tax bill, if a one-percent surcharge was instituted under the CPA.
That tax increase, which could also be applied to commercial properties, could increase to as much as $150 per year in new taxes, if the maximum surcharge was levied. Any increase in the surcharge rate beyond the proposed 1 percent would have to be approved by voters at the polls during a separate election.
For the Board of Selectmen, incumbents John DePinto and Frank Vallarelli will face challenges from School Committee member Shelly MacNeill and Dean Street resident John Warren, a former Finance Board member who led efforts to have the CPA placed on the election ballot this spring.
DePinto is seeking his fourth term in office, while Vallarelli, currently serving as chairman of the board, would win his third-term, if re-elected.
School Committee member Jeanne Craigie is also facing a re-election challenge from two contenders, including Longbow Road resident Julianne DeSimone and Patrick Circle resident Caroline Colarusso, who currently sits on the town’s Finance Board.
Craigie, having already served as a School Committee member before her most recent stint on the board, is seeking second her second consecutive term in office. It will be the second time Craigie faces a challenge from Colarusso, who lost by just 78 votes to the incumbent in the race for School Committee three years ago.
Town Moderator Laurence Means, just about to finish his first term in office, will square off this April against former Finance Board member John Carino in his bid for reelection.
Meanwhile, Franklin Place resident Michael Rotondi, the 18-year town moderator who lost his re-election hopes to Means two years ago, seeks to unseat Board of Assessor member Anthony Kennedy, himself a former Selectman.
Also this April, several new faces are all but assured victory in their bids for various offices, as their nomination papers were certified without any challengers to face them.
Those candidates include local attorney Daniel Moynihan, who is running unopposed for a five-year term on the Planning Board. That seat was vacated by Congress Street resident Kevin McLaughlin, a longtime Zoning Board of Appeals board member who is now seeking a two-year term on the Stoneham Housing Authority.
Joining McLaughlin in running unopposed for the Housing Authority are Highland Avenue resident Thomas Anderson, who is seeking the seat held by longtime board member Frederick Mosley, and longtime Zoning Board member Gerard Cunningham, who is seeking a three-year term in office.
Library Board of Trustees incumbents Susan Fixman and Susan Doucette are both running unopposed.
© The Stoneham Independent