GROTON -- Town Clerk Michael Bouchard has announced that annual Town Meeting has been scheduled for April 28 and the town election for May 20.
Nomination forms for town officials seeking re-election as well as other residents interested in running for office will be available through March 28.
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 1.
Open seats on various boards and committees include two three-year terms on the Board of Selectmen with seats currently held by Peter Cunningham and Anna Eliot; a single three-year term on the Groton-Dunstable Regional School Committee currently occupied by Jon Sjoberg; two terms on the Planning Board currently occupied by Jason Parent and Scott Wilson; and one three-year position on the Board of Health currently held by Jason Weber.
Also open are seats on the Board of Assessors, with one three-year term currently occupied by Garrett Boles; the Commissioner of Trust Funds, with one three-year term currently occupied by Thomas Hartnett; the Sewer Commission, with one three-year term currently occupied by Thomas Orcutt; the Water Commission, with one three-year term currently occupied by James Gmeiner; and the Electric Light Commission, with one three-year seat currently occupied by Chris Christie.
Other positions open to challenge include two three-year positions on the Parks Commission currently occupied by Jonathan Strauss and Laurie Smigelski (who has chosen not to stand for re-election); a third single-year term on the Parks Commission held by Gineane Haberlin is also open to contention; two three-year terms on the Trustees of the Groton Public Library currently occupied by Susan Hughes and John Kelly; and two seats of five- and three-year terms on the Groton Housing Authority currently held by Brooks Lyman and Kathryn Dawson, respectively.
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 at the annual election and Town Meeting is April 5.
To vote on election day, residents living in precinct 1 must cast their ballots at the Senior Center located at 163 West Main St. in West Groton.
The location of polls for voters residing in precincts 2 and 3 is under review.
For many years, voting for the two precincts took place at the Groton-Dunstable Regional Middle School building but following a shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut last year, it was decided to seek another location to hold elections that would not put children at risk.
Voting for precincts 2 and 3 was held briefly at the former Prescott Elementary School but issues of parking and access as well as the potential of its being sold in the near future made the site unsatisfactory in the long run.
As a result, late last year, a Polling Location Committee was created by the Board of Selectmen to look into the matter and come up with recommendations for alternate sites. As yet, the committee has not reported back to the board with its findings.
According to Bouchard, the intention of the committee is to have a site selected by the end of March to allow at least 30 days notice to inform voters of the location.
Town Meeting will be held at the performing arts center at the Groton-Dunstable Middle School Auditorium located at 344 Main St.
For information, residents can contact the town clerk by telephone at 978-448-1100 or on the Internet at firstname.lastname@example.org or for a complete list of available openings, go to townofgroton.org.