AYER -- The number of members of the Ayer Board of Selectmen won't be shrinking this spring. State Sen. Jamie Eldridge said on Tuesday that on Friday, Jan. 18, his office filed the home rule petition passed by Ayer Town Meeting on May 14, 2012, to shrink the number of selectmen from five to three members, as it was until the late 1990s. The measure passed Town Meeting muster by a 10-vote margin, 106 to 96.
Eldridge said on Tuesday that the legislation will now likely be sent to the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government for study. From there, a public hearing may be held in the April timeframe and input will be accepted before the Legislature votes on the Ayer request.
Eldridge said similar legislation passed for the Sudbury, another community in his district, over the last session. For Sudbury, however, the move was in the opposite direction -- expanding its Board of Selectmen from three to five members.
Eldridge said the Legislature also tacked on another requirement for Sudbury, mandating a townwide vote on the issue of expanding the size of that board rather than relying only on the Sudbury Town Meeting vote. Eldridge suggested the same type of requirement could be appended to any resulting Ayer legislation.
Ayer's annual town election is scheduled for the fourth Monday in April. This year that falls on Monday, April 22.
This spring, one selectmen term (each runs three years) expires -- the seat presently held by selectman Frank Maxant. Maxant pulled nomination papers for a re-election run on Jan. 10.
As of Tuesday, Jan. 22, Maxant had not yet returned the papers with the requisite number of signatures of registered voters but weeks remain before such papers are due. There is no other candidate who has pulled nomination papers for the Board of Selectmen.
As of Tuesday, nine candidates have pulled papers for town office. As of noon on Tuesday, only Denis Callahan has returned the requisite number of signatures in his campaign for a repeat three-year term on the Board of Assessors.
Other candidates to have pulled nomination papers include: Stephanie Gintner for a successive three-year term as Ayer town treasurer, Sarah Gibbons for a successive three-year term as a park commissioner, Heather Hasz for a three-year term on the Ayer Board of Health, Tom Horgan Jr. for a three-year term as town moderator, Debbie Pedrazzi for a successive three-year term as a library trustee, James Stephen for a successive three-year term as a commissioner of trust funds, and Patrick Kelly for a successive three-year term as one of three Ayer representatives on the Ayer-Shirley Regional School Committee.
The last day to request nomination papers is Friday, March 1, at 5 p.m. The last day to submit completed nomination papers is Monday, March 4, at 5 p.m. Nomination papers are requested and submitted to the Ayer town clerk's office, first floor of Ayer Town Hall, 1 Main St., from 8:30 a.m. till 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The following offices will be on the ballot: assessor (three-year term), Board of Health (one one-year and one three-year term available), commissioner of trust funds (three-year term), constable (three-year term), Housing Authority (five-year term), library trustee (three-year term), and moderator (three-year term).
There's also: park commissioner (three-year term), Planning Board (five-year term), Regional School Committee (three-year term), selectman (three-year term) and treasurer (three-year term).
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