BEDFORD - The town council will swear in two new members when it meets tonight. Jim Scanlon and Kelleigh Murphy will both take the oath of office.
Scanlon, elected for his second three-year term, has been a Bedford resident for 12 year, and has openly discussed his struggles with blindness. He is a proponent of a proposed dog park in Bedford which has had its share of controversy.
Sixty-two percent of voters approved the building of a dog park on election day last Tuesday, but voted that it be privately funded and subject to a lease agreement with the town.
Friends of the Canine Corner, the group that began as a town committee, has said it does not want to take on the liability of a lease, which Scanlon said will ultimately prevent its construction.
"You have a landslide victory on a dog park that will never be built," he said, but he will continue to support the park in future discussions.
Scanlon said he'll focus on several issues in his second term on the council - the widening of Route 101, the leadership of the council, and working in closer cooperation with state representatives.
"We have a moral responsibility to lead the town," Scanlon said, adding that the council's mission should not simply be to cut the town budget.
"Money is a tool, sometimes it's best left in the bank, and sometimes it's best to put it to good use," he said. "Sometimes you need to create additional taxes."
One issue that impacted Bedford, as well as other towns, is the increase in state retirement costs, which cost Bedford nearly $1 million.
Scanlon hopes to forge a stronger relationship with state representatives in Concord, one of which is his new fellow councilor, Murphy.
Scanlon said he hopes the addition of Murphy to the council will provide a connection between Bedford and Concord.
Murphy moved to Bedford in 2009, and has served on the Board of Mayor and Aldermen in Manchester and the Manchester School Board.
"I've always believed you should get involved in the community you live in," Murphy said.
Murphy, an attorney, said her legal training and analytical mind will serve her well on the council.
Murphy said a decline in home values has enabled more young families to move to Bedford.
"I feel I can do a nice job serving that demographic," she said.
Murphy said she experienced a similar issue with a dog park in Manchester and is interested to see how the issue fares in Bedford.
She and her husband, Keith, also a state representative, own Murphy's Tap Room in Manchester, as well as the New Hampshire Sports and Social Club, an adult sports league. They are the parents of a 2-year-old daughter and 10-month-old son.