Royalston readies for annual election, D’Amico runs for second term


For The Athol Daily News
Published: 1/26/2021 3:10:15 PM
Modified: 1/26/2021 3:10:14 PM

ROYALSTON — There’s still time for potential candidates for a seat on Royalston’s Selectboard to come forward but, thus far, the only announced hopeful is incumbent Deb D’Amico. Nomination papers, which have been available for about two weeks, are due back to Town Clerk Barbara Richardson and the Board of Registrars by Feb. 16.

Nomination papers are also available for 12 other elective offices, including: moderator; constable; tree warden; assessor (3 years); assessor (2 years); cemetery commission; Board of Health; library trustee; Planning Board; trustee of the J.N. Bartlett Fund (4 seats, one year each); Royalston representative to the Athol Royalston Regional School Committee; and, Athol representatives to the ARSC (two three-year seats, one one-year seat).

“I am going to run again,” D’Amico told the Athol Daily News, “though it took some mulling over on my part. This position is a tremendous amount of work. The voters put a lot of trust in their Selectboard members, so it is important to do the work with thought and care.

“One big reason to run again is because I have two really great colleagues in Roland (Hamel) and Chris (Long). We work well together and represent a pretty broad spectrum of the town. I believe that is important. I do enjoy the work most days. It feels good to be in a position to make a difference for the town and that matters to me.”

D’Amico is currently completing her first three-year term on the board, having served much of that time as Chair.

D’Amico said the board’s main priority “is always to provide the best services to the town’s residents within our budget, making fiscal and policy decisions that strengthen our departments and spend our resources wisely.”

D’Amico said she would like to see the town secure the services of at least a part-time administrator of some kind.

“The work of municipal government is very complex. It is difficult for a board that is essentially a group of civic-minded volunteers to be able to keep up. In my short time on the board it has become clear to me that, to keep that priority at the center of all we do, Royalston needs to hire at least a part time Town Administrator/Coordinator. So, during a second term, one of my major focuses will be to help the board make a solid case to the voters for hiring a part-time administrator.”

An administrator would, D’Amico argued, assist in addressing the issues that lie ahead for the town of about 1,300 residents.

“Royalston has major projects ahead of us, including the refurbishing of the Raymond Building for town office spaces, the preservation of important town buildings like Whitney Hall, and the oversight of new growth businesses like the cannabis cultivation at Royalston Farms and the solar installation that is slated for our landfill.

“In addition to all of these, we need to stay alert for changes in municipal laws, as well as grant opportunities to support the town’s priorities. All of this would benefit from the oversight of one person well-versed in municipal government who could guide the board.”

D’Amico said she believes some important steps benefitting the town have been taken by the board in recent years.

“We’ve done a lot of good work together,” she said. “Among our accomplishments: handling a wastewater treatment plant emergency that took a year to turn around, and entering into an Intermunicipal Agreement with the Town of Athol for improved operation and maintenance of our plant; focusing on increased public engagement through publishing a Handbook of Boards and Committees and A Guide to Town Meetings, creating a Royalston Facebook page and launching a much improved town website; completion of the elevator at Town Hall; and, for the past year, keeping town business running effectively and safely during the COVID pandemic.”

She added that she and her colleagues have filled three important positions which were left vacant by resignations. These included assistant to the Selectboard, fire chief, and town accountant.

The last day to register to vote in the town election is March 16. Balloting will take place on April 5.

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