Town roads an issue at Candidate’s Night in Mason

  • Candidate for Mason Select Board Peter McGinnity answered questions from residents during a candidate's forum on Tuesday night. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Candidates for Mason Select Board Peter McGinnity and Chris Guiry answered questions from residents during a candidate's forum on Tuesday night. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Candidate for Mason Select Board Chris Guiry answered questions from residents during a candidate's forum on Tuesday night. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Candidates for Mason Select Board Chris Guiry, left, and Peter McGinnity, right, answered questions from residents during a candidate's forum on Tuesday night, moderated by Jon Green, center. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 2/20/2019 1:54:08 PM

Thirty-five residents turned out to Mason’s Candidate Night on Tuesday, to ask questions of their perspective Select Board members, including how they intend to handle the continuing project of road reconstruction in town.

A field of four candidates – Christopher Guiry, Peter McGinnity, Joanne Birman and Bill Fritz – are seeking to win a seat currently held by incumbent Bernie O’Grady, who is not running for re-election to the seat this year.

Fritz and Birman were unable to attend Tuesday’s forum.

Both Guiry and McGinnity have experience on the Select Board. Guiry, a former career military member, has also been serving on the Mason School Board. McGinnity has a background in retail and is a retired business owner.

Though he could not attend Tuesday’s forum, Fritz wrote in a public post on Facebook that his experience in town government includes chairing the Zoning Board of Adjustment for the last three years. He was an officer in the Army, and a retired engineer in the defense aerospace electronics field.

When asked about what they believe the town’s top issues are, Guiry said the town needs a better contingency plan for emergency events. He also said the town needs to increase its sense of community and continue to work on its roads.

McGinnity said the town should develop a capital plan, to plan out replacement of expensive items such as vehicles or town buildings. He also said the town should keep better records of the maintenance done on its vehicles and buildings. And suggested the town start a capital campaign for the renovation of the Old Town Hall.

Several residents asked questions relating to Mason’s roads. Current Selectman Charlie Moser pointed out the town was nearing the end of a five-year plan of road maintenance and asked what the candidates would do to continue to repair the roads, specifically asking if they felt the town was spending the right amount on roadwork.

Guiry said fixing town roads is not a matter of adding a top coat, saying many of the roads in town were not built inadequate foundation material leading to potholes and deterioration issues. Many of the roads will need to be completely rebuilt with a better foundation, he said.

“A good, gravel road will not rut,” he said. “But this stuff does not grow on trees. It needs a plan and it needs a budget.”

McGinnity said the roads were “100 percent better” than his last stint on the Select Board, after major increases were made to the road budget compared to eight years ago. He said the current level of funding appeared to be sufficient.

The candidates were asked specifically if they would support making roadwork on Abbott Hill Road a priority, as it is highly trafficked and the route taken by school busses to bring students to Milford.

McGinnity said the higher-trafficked roads should be looked at before roads that may be in worse shape, but have a small amount of traffic, and said he would support using a traffic counter to determine whether some roads should get a higher billing.

Guiry said the road would likely need major reconstruction, as it was built on swampy land, but said there could be an expansion of culverts which currently don’t handle the largest rainstorms of the year, and worsen the problem.

Residents can vote for candidates on March 12 at the Mason Town Hall from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.


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