GROTON -- With spring approaching, can annual town elections be far behind? The answer is no, as news from the town clerk's office reveals that the town election has been scheduled for May 21.
Town Clerk Michael Bouchard has announced that nomination papers for town officials seeking re-election as well as other residents interested in running for office will be available starting Feb. 4.
According to the law, those interested in having their names placed on the ballot on election day must first collect the signatures of at least 49 registered voters in town. The signature requirement applies both to incumbents and newcomers and must be returned with nomination papers for certification to the Board of Registrars at the town clerk's office by 5 p.m. on April 2.
Open seats on various boards and committees include two on the Board of Selectmen for terms of three years each currently held by Joshua Degen and Stuart Schulman; two seats on the Groton-Dunstable Regional School Committee for terms of three years each currently occupied by John Giger and Leslie Lathrop; two seats on the Planning Board for terms of three years each currently occupied by John Giger and George Barringer; and one three-year position on the Board of Health currently held by Robert Fleischer.
Also open are one seat on the Board of Assessors for a term of three years currently occupied by Rena Swezey; the Commissioner of Trust Funds with one three year term currently occupied by Diane Hewitt; the Sewer Commission with one three-year term currently occupied by James Gmeiner; the Water Commission with one three-year term currently occupied by appointee Martin Shaefer; and the Electric Light Commission with one three-year seat currently occupied by Rodney Hersh.
Other positions open to challenge include two three-year terms on the Parks Commission with seats currently occupied by Donald Black and Jeffrey Ohringer; two three-year terms on the Trustees of the Groton Public Library currently occupied by members Gerath and Nancy Foley Wilder; and one five-year term on the Groton Housing Authority currently held by appointee Ronald Peck.
Although potential candidates have yet to withdraw nomination papers, it was learned that Degen at least intends to do so. If he does, it will be Degen's third run for the office.
Degen confirmed his re-election bid on the floor of the Jan. 26 special Town Meeting.
Also at that event, Schulman, the board's current chairman, confessed that he was not sure about seeking reelection.
Currently finishing up his second term as selectman, Schulman had earlier expressed the thought of calling it quits after six years.
To help guide the prospective candidate, the town clerk's office will make available information from the state's Office of Campaign and Political Finance regarding campaign-finance regulations and practices. Candidates are reminded that before incurring any expenses or receiving any campaign funds, they must first file a Statement of Organization.
Nomination papers can be obtained from the town clerk during business hours on Mondays between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m., Tuesdays through Thursdays between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., and Fridays between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m.
The deadline for registering to vote in the annual election and at Town Meeting is April 9.