Election Day 2019: Roads, taxes, and schools; residents drawn to the polls

Democrats, including Crystal St. Lawrence, left, kept control of the board of eduction. The GOP kept control of the council, but Jesse Gnazzo, right was the highest vote getter. (Photo by Janelle Morelli)

By TAYLOR MURCHISON-GALLAGHER

STAFF WRITER

The Plainville Democratic and Republican Town Committee headquarters were abuzz with excited chatter as poll results began to trickle down. Just after the polls closed, on Tuesday, Nov. 5, four women sat in a makeshift quilting circle in the municipal center, hunched over long strips of ticker tapes tallying the results from Plainville’s four polling locations.

Republicans kept control of the town council. Kathy Pugliese, left, and Jacob Rocco campaign at Wheeler School. (Photo by Janelle Morelli)

Included on the ballot was the sole referendum question, “Shall the town of Plainville appropriate $5 million for the Phase II Road and Related Improvements Program, and authorize the issue of bonds and notes in the same amount to finance the appropriation?”

The referendum was passed by voters, with 2,310 voting “Yes,” and 688 voting “No.”

It’s hard to tell if the referendum was what brought so many voters to the polls. During the 2017 municipal election a total of 25.28% of registered voters cast a ballot, but that ballot did not contain a referendum question. In 2019, 29.2% of registered voters participated, with just shy of 20% of that pool voting in favor of the project.

The “road bond project” as it’s come to be known was just one of the many topics that brought voters to the polls.

One such resident, Juan Gaud, said that one of his main reasons for casting his vote was to keep taxes low, which is why he voted against the appropriation, saying that he thinks the roads are in “pretty good” shape. Others, like William Ouellette, believed that the roads could use improvement, and voted in favor of the appropriation.

Similarly to Gaud, the topic of taxes galvanized many residents such as Taylor Perun, who said he was concerned with “making sure the money being appropriated with the town is being used appropriately and responsibly.”

Others still were brought together by their concerns regarding Plainville Community Schools, such as Alyssa Roy, who said, “I think we have a great one [school system] in place so far, but they could use some improvements—everything can be improved. I really hope that focusing on the younger generations will help create a better future, not just for Plainville, but for our state and nation.”

Resident Betty King echoed Roy’s sentiments, but instead of focusing solely on the younger generations, felt that the town should cater to all ages of residents.

“I think for people who are looking at the growth and development of Plainville, what’s going forward, and as senior citizens we would like to make sure that any decisions are made across the age spectrum, not just for one age group,” said King.

King said that she hopes the new council can bring “a bit more contemporary vision of where we should be going.” She said that, while Plainville is a nice, small town, it needs to grow and work with surrounding towns in order to support projects and initiatives.

Securing seats on the town council were Democrats Rosemary Morante, Jesse Gnazzo, Christopher Wazorko, and Republicans Deborah Tompkins, Ty Cox, David Underwood, and Katherine Pugliese. The BOE is now comprised of Democrats Becky Tyrrell, Kathy Wells, Foster White, Rebecca Martinez, Crystal St. Lawrence, Brent Davenport, and Republicans Deborah Hardy and Laurie Peterson.

The BOE met on Monday, Nov. 11, after this article went to press, to swear in the new board, and the town council met on Tuesday, Nov. 12, for their swearing in ceremony. The first regular meeting of the town council will be held on Monday, Nov. 18, in the Plainville Municipal Center, 1 Central Sq., and the next scheduled meeting of the BOE is set for Monday, Dec. 9, in the Plainville High School cafeteria, 47 Robert Holcomb Way.

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Taylor Murchison-Gallagher, email her at TMurchison@PlainvilleObserver.com.