Two Compete For Orange Board Seat

Ballot voting to elect Orange town officers will take place on Tuesday, March 12, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Town House. Voting on the other articles will be Wednesday, March 13 at the Town House beginning at 7 p.m.

Orange — A two-way race for Selectboard and write-in campaigns for a seat on the Budget Committee are the only contested races this year in an otherwise plain vanilla Town Meeting agenda in Orange.

Incumbent Robert Ells is making a bid to stay on the Selectboard after being appointed last year to serve out the final six months of Linda Giner’s term. Ells will face George White for the three-year term.

Ells said he would like to stay on to address a number of concerns in town, including keeping tax rates low and fixing up Town Hall. The building has no panic devices on the doors or emergency lighting, he said.

“I’d like to see Town Hall brought up to code,” he said.

White has served in a variety of capacities around town, most recently as vice chairman of the Planning Board.

White said he would be an strong voice for the town in dealing with the state. New Hampshire does not consider the interests of small towns when writing regulations, he said, some of which raise barriers for people who want to hold multiple offices.

“I believe the state structure is not set up for small towns,” he said. “I don’t think they make it easy for small towns.”

Voters won’t see any names listed on the ballot for Budget Committee, but two candidates have launched write-in campaigns for the open seat.

Colin Higbie has lived in town for just two years but has been eager to get involved with town finances. His professional background has involved being a senior executive with biotech, videogame and start-up companies. He currently works for Hypertherm.

“Managing budgets and creating solutions is something that I have experience in,” he said.

David Stacy has lived in Orange for nearly 40 years and served as the town’s treasurer, road agent, selectman and Planning Board member. Stacy said the Budget Committee wields a lot of power in Orange and he hoped to use his position to better budget for repairing roads.

“We put a little money away each year, but eventually it will catch up with us and we’ll have to replace them,” Stacy said.

The proposed town budget for 2013 is up less than 2 percent from last year’s. Other spending articles include appropriations of between $500 and $3,000 for various capital reserve funds.

The total proposed spending comes to $227,831, a 2.4 percent increase, according to Budget Committee member Bob Proulx.

The tax impact is not known, Proulx said. Currently, the town portion of the tax bill is $4.10 per $1,000 of valuation, or $820 on a $200,000 home.

“We’ve pretty much level funded all the categories,” Proulx said.

Orange residents are part of the Mascoma Valley Regional School District and elementary school students attend Canaan Elementary and will vote on that budget Tuesday.

Chris Fleisher can be reached at 603-727-3229 or