Local Election Results – Georgetown Must Cut Millions

Tuesday May 21, 2024

The Rowley Town Hall

REGIONAL – Town officials in Georgetown are scrambling to cope with being millions of dollars in the red next year after voters turned down a proposed $2.5 million tax increase in town elections last week.
And they will have to slice the town budget, a daunting task anytime, with a deeply divided SelectBoard.
In other North Shore towns, the elections were relatively quiet with voters in most towns returning incumbents to positions on their SelectBoards.
Newbury voters re-elected Geoffrey Walker, who has served 15 years on the SelectBpard, with 1,103 votes and Alicia Greco, the SelectBoard chair, to a fourth term, with 1,066 votes. Jack Rybicki came in third with 816 votes.
SelectBoard Chair Cliff Pierce was also re-elected in the Town of Rowley.
Only the town of Salisbury has a new face on its SelectBoard. Gilbert Mederios, the vice chair of the Planning Board, won a seat with 760 votes, while the voters returned Donna Abdulla with 966 votes. Susan Pawlischek ran third with 564 votes.
Elected to the Triton School Committee were Paul Goldner from Newbury, Kellie Smullin from Rowley and Linda Litcofsky from Salisbury.
Georgetown continues to be the cauldron among North Shore towns. Town Administrator Orlando Pacheco will have to submit a revised budget for next year after the voters turned down a proposed tax increase by 1,194 votes to 950 votes.
Under state law, a town cannot raise its annual property taxes by more than 2.5 percent in one year without a majority vote.
The coming fight to reduce town expenditures appears to pit the schools versus the police and fire departments. Both were hoping for an increase in their budgets, but now may face a flat or reduced budget.
Pacheco, anticipating a defeat in the property tax override, told the finance committee before the election that all departments would likely face cuts.
The Conservation Commission met with Planning Board Chair Harry LaCortiglia after the election to discuss the desire of both boards to have their own staff administrative assistant instead of sharing a single person. The ConCom voted five to one to begin searching for its own assistant, although it was unclear if there would be enough funds to budget a separate staff person.
Veteran Douglas Dawes was reelected to the SelectBoard with 1,197 votes. He will be joined by Laura Repplier, whom Dawes voted two years ago not to reappoint to the ConCom.
Repplier garnered 968 votes to win the fifth seat on the board, only 24 votes more than Michael Donahue, who earlier filed a lengthy complaint against another SelectBoard member Rachel Bancroft.
Bruce Fried, the vice chair of the planning board, won 699 votes. If Fried had joined Repplier on the SelectBoard, they could have formed a majority with Bancroft, who as the vice chair of the ConCom had worked with Repplier.
It is unknown if the newly constituted SelectBoard will continue to consider Donahue’s complaint against Bancroft.
Amy Smith, the SelectBoard chair, did not run for re-election.

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