New England News
6:00 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Berkshire County Towns Vote at Annual Meetings

Anne Skinner, President of the Williamstown League of Women Voters says that in New England, it’s a long-standing tradition for towns and town residents to make big decisions together at the yearly event.

Because of the tradition and gathering of people, Anne Skinner says that town officials are often chosen in May, rather than November, unlike cities in New England, or adjoining states.

Berkshire County is home to many communities classified as towns and many new positions were filled.

In Williamstown about 13 percent of registered voters came out to the polls. Voters chose to elect Thomas Sheldon to another term on the board of selectmen. The town also elected members of the planning board, a new library trustee, and elementary school committee.

In Lenox, two three year terms on the Select Board were up for contest among five eligible candidates. Edward Lane and Channing Gibson received the most votes and were worn in to their new positions.

In Adams, Arthur “Skip” Harrington held onto his place on the Board of Selectmen, and John Duval, a former long-time member of the School Committee, was also appointed to the board. Three other candidates were defeated. About 25% of town voters contributed to the election.

Several other Berkshire County towns including Mount Washington, Ergemont, and Monterey held elections at their annual meeting.

In Great Barrington, this week, voters struck down a title recognition of being declared a “Compassionate City” in a campaign from Seattle-based Compassionate Action Network. The Berkshire town was recently recognized by Smithsonian Magazine as the #1 Small Town in America. A majority of voters decided that the city needn’t the distinction, a recognition of values such as support for volunteer programs.

Select Board Chair Sean Stanton says that he was surprised that voters turned down the title recognition.

In communities across the state, towns also decided on major purchases, budgets, and  other various town positions.