Merrimack bid for new highway garage fails; incumbents keep seats on Town Council

The highway garage and the Town Council will remain the same after Tuesday’s election.

A proposal to raise $3.3 million for the building of a new highway garage in town was defeated. Article 2 on the town ballot needed two-thirds majority to pass but fell considerably short with 1,093 votes in favor of the new garage building and 808 against.

Town Councilor Nancy Harrington said she was disappointed in the results of Article 2 and didn’t understand why the article failed.

“Two-thirds majority is a hard bar to reach,” Harrington said. “This is not the end of it. The building is still unsafe.”

Harrington said town officials “did everything we could to educate” voters about Article 2 but the councilor speculated some voters still may not have understood the question.

“Did they not understand it or was it just the money?” Harrington asked.

Both incumbents in the race for two seats on the Town Council, Bill Boyd and Finlay Rothhaus, edged out state Rep. Lenette Peterson for three-year terms.

Rothhaus topped the ticket Tuesday, April 8, with 1,205 votes. Close behind was Boyd, who collected 1,110 votes. Peterson had 908 votes.

“I’m excited it was close,” Rothhaus said, adding that his goals in the coming term will be to maintain a stable tax rate in town and increasing focus on infrastructure.

Boyd said he didn’t expect to win when the votes were counted.

“Lenette (Peterson) is a very respected public servant, and I supported her twice,” Boyd said. “I hope she’ll get involved again.”

Boyd said he intends to focus on keeping Merrimack affordable, attracting new business to the town and improving infrastructure.

Another contested race on Tuesday’s ballot was between two candidates for one seat on the school board.

Incumbent George Markwell was unseated after falling 60 votes short of Cinda Guagliumi. Markwell had 820 votes to Guagliumi’s 881.

The town’s proposed operating budget of $31,979,257 narrowly passed with 999 votes in favor and 888 against.

Article 4, a proposal to establish a capital reserve fund to buy mapping equipment, passed. Article 5, a measure to raise $5,000 for dispatcher training, failed.

On the school ballot, the only failing article was Article 4. The article proposed eliminating the school district budget committee in favor of increasing the size of Merrimack’s school board from five members to seven. Only 632 residents voted in favor and 1,250 opposed the initiative.

Bradford Randall can be reached at 594-6557 or brandall@nashua Also, follow Randall on Twitter (@telegraph_bradr).