Two vie for New Haven selectboard
NEW HAVEN — When New Haven voters go to the polls on Town Meeting Day, March 2, they will be asked to elect two selectboard members.
The incumbents are both running again: Steve Dupoise for a two-year term and Jim Walsh for a three-year term. Dupoise is running unopposed, but Walsh faces a challenge from New Haven resident Bruce Many.
Walsh is completing his second term on the New Haven selectboard. Before joining the board he served for more than 10 years on the town’s planning commission.
“I chose to seek one more term to continue with my efforts over the past three years to bring high-speed internet service to the whole town,” Walsh wrote to the Independent.
The pandemic has only heightened the need for high-speed internet, he said.
“Without this service, education, property salability and work-from-home employment are severely limited for a significant number of our town citizens.”
Walsh believes his most significant accomplishments on the selectboard have been while negotiating with several businesses to secure maintenance and improvements to the town at low or no taxpayer cost, such as:
• $50,000 from the Vermont Gas pipeline project, which helped fund town building improvements.
• paving of a section of Campground Road at no cost to the town.
• as the result of Walsh’s investigation, a one-time refund of $1,800 and an annual bill reduction of $1,500 from Green Mountain Power for incorrectly billed street lights.
• an agreement from VELCO to facilitate fiber-optic cable access for high-speed internet providers.
• the potential for a significant reduction in town taxes as a result of the VELCO agreement.
If re-elected, Walsh would like to continue serving as the New Haven representative to Addison County’s newly formed Communications Union District (CUD), known as Maple Broadband. He would also continue to ensure that the town’s money is well-spent on infrastructure projects, such as the future replacement of the Dog Team Road bridge.
In January 2020, Walsh was censured by the New Haven selectboard after an incident in which he allegedly threatened town office staff — an incident town officials deemed serious enough to report to the Vermont State Police.
“Regarding the censure last year, that was the result of an unfortunate misunderstanding, which I regret,” Walsh told the Independent. “We all are working on projects going forward.”
Bruce Many has lived in New Haven for the past 10 years and has owned and operated an excavating business since 1994.
He also works for the town road crew during the winter months, plowing and maintaining the town’s equipment.
Last March Many ran for selectboard but was defeated by incumbent John Roleau.
“I believe with the knowledge from operating my business I could be a great asset for the town,” Many wrote in a recent Front Porch Forum post.
He would also bring personal and civic experience to the board, he said.
For several years Many was president of the Snake Mountain Cruisers classic car club, and helped organize the Better L8 Than Never car show, which raises money for Camp Ta-Kum-Ta, a year-round camp for children with cancer.
In his capacity as past president of the snowmobile organization Otter Creek Sliders, Many worked with local landowners to permit and maintain local VAST trails.
Many also feels his experience with roads and infrastructure will be of great help to the board, he told the Independent.
Above all, “I care about the town and what happens to it,” he said. “I think the selectboard has done a good job, and I’d like to help them out.”