Merrimack town council members retain their seatsBy KIMBERLY HOUGHTON
Union Leader Correspondent
April 08. 2014 9:52PM
MERRIMACK — Two incumbent town council members were re-elected to the board on Tuesday, while an incumbent school board member lost his seat to a newcomer.
Councilor Finlay Rothhaus obtained the highest amount of votes with 1,205, while Bill Boyd received 1,110 votes. Their opponent, state Rep. Lenette Peterson, garnered 908 votes.
Meanwhile, incumbent George Markwell was ousted from the Merrimack School Board by newcomer Cinda Guagliumi, a current member of the school district budget committee.
The three town council candidates seeking two spots on the board stood outside of the polls in the rain on Tuesday shaking hands and speaking with constituents.
Boyd, who was running for his second term on the council, described the political process as exciting.
“This is my first time running for reelection, so it is an exciting moment to hopefully receive voter affirmation that I am doing a good job,” said Boyd.
Rothhaus had his 4-month-old grandson at the polls to bring him some good luck on Election Day.
“You never know what will happen, but I am hoping it will be in my favor,” Rothhaus said around noontime.
Peterson was concerned that the rain might lower voter turnout. Still, she said she was feeling good about her campaign and was remaining optimistic.
“Although this would be a different position, I would still be working for the same people,” said Peterson. “My focus would stay in Merrimack.”
Highway garage falls short
Although the majority of voters supported a proposal for a new $3.3 million highway garage with a vote of 1,093-808, it was still not enough support for approval. A super majority vote was necessary — or 1,268 votes — for the proposed bond to be authorized.
Voters did, however, approve a town operating budget of nearly $32 million with a vote of 999-880.
On the school ballot, Guagliumi obtained 881 votes to incumbent Markwell’s 820 votes.
“I believe that I am an independent voice on the board, and I don’t have an agenda,” Markwell said.
While holding a campaign sign, Guagliumi said she was feeling good about the race.
“Voters are talking to the candidates, which is good. At the end of the day, it is the people that choose. It really has been a neat opportunity,” she said.
Residents rejected a proposal to eliminate the school district’s budget committee and in turn increase the number of school board members from five to seven. The proposal received 1,250 votes in opposition and 632 votes in favor.
The school district’s operating budget was overwhelmingly approved.
There are about 18,000 registered voters in Merrimack, and a total of 1,933 ballots were cast.
“We expected it to be slow, but not exactly this slow,” Town Clerk Diane Trippett said early Tuesday afternoon when fewer than 600 voters had visited the polls.
Markwell said he was disappointed with the low turnout.
“It is so important to get out and vote and have a voice in your town,” he added.