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Addison race tops Vergennes-area ballots

ADDISON — Barring a write-in campaign the only Town Meeting Day race for a major town office in the Vergennes area will come in Addison, according to petitions for offices filed by the deadline this past Monday.
In Addison multi-term incumbent Selectman Peter Briggs will face a challenge for a two-year seat from Alden Harwood.
Briggs, a farmer who has also mounted challenges for the Vermont House and Senate as a Republican, first won a spot on the Addison selectboard in 2015.
Harwood, who until recently worked seven years as the director of facilities of the Mount Abraham Unified School District, in the past has served as Addison’s zoning administrator. In 2004 he ran an unsuccessful write-in campaign for Addison delinquent tax collector. Harwood won some regional fame decades ago for attempting to pay his Addison property taxes with sheep.
The Independent will reach out to both candidates for interviews before Town Meeting Day.
Elsewhere incumbents and other office-seekers have a clear path to election in March, but there will be a new face on the Ferrisburgh selectboard: Selectman Steve Gutowski has decided to step down after almost six years on the board (see story).
For a time it looked like there would be a race for his three-year term, as both zoning board member Clark Hinsdale III — a former Charlotte selectman and Vermont Farm Bureau president — and another resident took out petitions. But ultimately only Hinsdale filed before Monday’s deadline, and he will face no challenge on the ballot.
Next to him on the Ferrisburgh Town Meeting Day ballot will be incumbent Selectman Jim Benoit, who is seeking a two-year term to return to the board and is also unopposed.
Also on the ballot will be Addison Northwest School District board member George Gardner, an incumbent seeking another three-year term. He faces no opposition.
In all, four terms on the 12-member Addison Northwest School District board are ending on Town Meeting Day, two belonging to Vergennes incumbents. John Stroup is running to return to the board for another three years, but Christopher Cousineau opted not to seek re-election. City officials said Keith Morrill, a Vergennes resident since 2014, filed a petition to get on the ballot for that three-year vacancy. Stroup and Morrill are running unopposed.
Also in Vergennes, as the Independent reported earlier, Mayor Renny Perry decided not to seek a full term in office this March. Perry, then the deputy mayor, took over in February 2018 after Mayor Michael Daniels opted to step down. Perry, who is retired from the human resources position with the Vermont court system he took after leaving his job as Vergennes city manager, cited his years of service and many future travel plans as behind his decision. 
Deputy Mayor Jeff Fritz filed for the two-year term as mayor, and will be unopposed on the ballot.
Also unopposed are elected incumbent Vergennes Aldermen Mark Koenig and Lowell Bertrand, who are each seeking another two-year term; incumbent Aldermen David Austin and David Small, who were appointed to council vacancies in 2018 and are looking for voter approval to fulfill second years of terms; and former mayor and council member Bill Benton, who filed for an open seat and a two-year term.
PANTON
Also running unopposed is Panton selectboard Chairman Howard Hall, who will be on the ballot looking for voter approval for another three years on the board.
This is the first year in Panton that elective positions and spending measures will be decided by town-wide Australian balloting, and not by voice vote from the floor of the annual meeting. According to Town Clerk Pam Correia no other town races are contested.
WALTHAM
In Waltham one term apiece on the selectboard and ANWSD board end on Town Meeting Day. Waltham remains the only town in the ANWSD area to nominate and vote on its town officers from the floor of town meeting,
According to Town Clerk/Assistant Treasurer Mary Ann Castimore incumbent ANWSD board member Tom Borchert would like to be nominated and serve again, and she believes the same is true of incumbent Selectman Tim Ryan.
Castimore added that she and Waltham Assistant Clerk/Treasurer Lucille Evarts, who serve on a year-to-year basis, would also like to be nominated for and voted back into office.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at andyk@addisonindependent.com.

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