A pair of incumbents are being challenged by a pair of newcomers in a hotly contested race for the Republican nomination in Tuesday's primary election for the Boston Town Board.
Damian Wiktor and Dennis Mead are seeking the nomination Tuesday for re-election to the board in this November's general election. They are opposed by residents Ralph Gibson and Patrick Kennedy.
Wiktor and Mead have declared themselves running mates in the primary, as have Gibson and Kennedy. Residents will elect two of the four seeking office to four-year terms.
Wiktor and Mead, who have served on the board for four years and two years, respectively, pointed to several accomplishments that the town has realized in recent years as the result of a cohesive Town Board.
Among those accomplishments are the receipt of $50,000 in county and state grants for the purchase of an air tank recycling system for three area volunteer fire companies; the consolidation of the town's parks and highway departments at a $24,000 savings to the town; and lower speed limits on Boston State Road and West Tillen Road to promote safety.
The board has also assisted in making water improvements; secured $17,000 in Community Development Block Grant funding for town hall handicapped access improvements; and reached agreement with WNED-TV allowing the town to use a portion of its property for the placement of a water tank, at a substantial savings to town taxpayers, Wiktor and Mead said.
"We're a small, rural community with diverse areas and people move to these areas to enjoy that lifestyle," Wiktor said. "I want to maintain that vision for Boston."
Wiktor, who has lived in Boston since 1976, is a school teacher who has served as a trustee for the Boston Free Library board and previously served eight years on the town's Planning Board. Mead, a lifelong Boston resident, works with instructional teaching training equipment for educators and is involved with the town's recreation department, chamber of commerce and scouting programs.
"We'd like to keep up the services for the town of Boston, keeping it a bedroom community with some economic development," Mead said.
Gibson and Kennedy are campaigning on a platform that promises to "bring greater accountability" to the Town Board, enhanced road safety, more attention for senior citizens and "a more prudent approach at the way the town grows."
"The thing that is important with me is making sure the quality of life of our citizens and taxpayers in Boston is at the very least at an equal level," Gibson said. "I feel I will make the citizens of Boston happy if I can do, or attempt to do, what they expect of me."
Gibson, a service technician for 27 years, has been a Boston resident since 1983. While he has no previous political experience, Gibson has served as a coach for football, baseball and soccer squads in Blasdell and Hamburg, works with the Republican Club and is endorsed by the Democratic and Independence parties.
Like Gibson, Kennedy is also endorsed outside of the Republican party. He is a lifelong Boston resident and county employee who has served in the town parks and recreation department.
The two have criticized their incumbent opponents for not taking a more active approach to highway safety in the town, including their failure to reduce the speed limit in a local school zone. The challengers also raised questions as to the approval of salary hikes for the part-time supervisor, inequity in zoning law and codes and for having a detached approach to the community at large.
"You don't get as much done being remote and aloof," Gibson said of the town board, promising a more "hands-on" approach to local government.
"If you really make people believe your door is open to them they can talk to you and approach you to discuss their problems."
Kennedy said the board is in need of "much more accountability" -- something he said he and Gibson can provide.
"(The board) should address people's concerns more. They should take it upon themselves to help people," Kennedy said. "I'd like to see the town grow for the better."