By Julia Donnini
The open candidate’s meeting gathered Bill Smith, Bob Lake, Allison Cranmer, and Antoinette “Toni” Supple together on Friday, Feb. 15 at the Dutch Mill in Shelburne. Each candidate had a chance to briefly explain his or her platform for the Shelburne Selectboard. Supple was the first to have the floor.
The current Shelburne Planning Commissioner decided to run when she realized the limitations of the Planning committee. “There are very important decisions to be made this year by the Selectboard,” Supple explained. “And there needs to be better communication between the Board and the townspeople.” She was particularly concerned about the details of the proposed “Loop Road” project, though she stated she was not entirely against it. The devil is in the details and Supple strives to investigate them before a decision is made. Being a part of the Selectboard would allow her to lend insight into the subject.
Smith, six-year Selectboard Chair, is also seeking election for the two-year term. Smith cited his knack for problem solving, stating he “[takes] pride in [his] ability to be objective.” Smith also stressed the importance of the commitment to the Board, explaining that one must treat the position like a job, “solving problems for the best interest of the community.”
Coming from a fiscally-conservative perspective, Lake expressed the importance of affordability, particularly in regard to taxation. A small business owner himself, Lake empathizes on this issue. Additionally, he stated his interest in cultivating passion for town affairs in the citizens of Shelburne. “If we could get as many people to come to budget meetings as there were interested in solving the street light problem that would be ideal. It’s important that the Selectboard get to listen to the common voice.”
The next to speak was long-time Shelburne resident, Allison Cranmer. She views her frankness and background with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) as a major asset to the Selectboard. “I really want to open up communication. Fifteen years of my career with GMCR were in marketing, so I know how to get the word out. The Selectboard needs more transparency to be more collaborative,” Cranmer stated.
One citizen, concerned with future problems concerning “want” expenditures, brought up the issue of the proposed pool. Candidates answered with the idea of balance. Smith’s current membership aided his answer. “It’s definitely a ‘want’ item. It needs to be investigated and closely vetted. Homework is being done.” Similarly, citizens pursued the issue of how to distinguish between “need to have” and “nice to have” line items. Lake encouraged fundraising to back proposals. Residents also addressed another large financial dent in the town armor, the recent outcome of the Wake Robin lawsuit. This was an unexpected hit, totaling about $300,000. Smith confirmed, “It happened at the last minute. We started off with a conservative budget, so it will definitely affect us in the future.”
One last issue addressed was the Selectboard’s relationship with the town manager. Smith and Lake agreed with Lake stating, “I wouldn’t want to get into day to day issues” and Martin furthering, “Rather, we’re looking down the road.” Still, Supple supported a “healthy skepticism” of daily matters handled and Cranmer stated instead that she’d need to “learn the relationship [between the town and the Selectboard]” before giving an informed answer.
Follow suit. Become informed and let your voice be heard; get out and vote on March 5.