Four vying for one seat on Newport Selectboard

Doug Ring (Courtesy photograph)

Doug Ring (Courtesy photograph)

Keith Sayer (Valley News photograph)

Keith Sayer (Valley News photograph)

Bert Spaulding (Valley News photograph)

Bert Spaulding (Valley News photograph)

Herb Tellor (Courtesy photograph)

Herb Tellor (Courtesy photograph)


Valley News Correspondent

Published: 05-09-2024 6:01 PM

Modified: 05-09-2024 6:41 PM

NEWPORT — In the only contested race on the annual Town Meeting ballot, two former Selectboard members and the owner of a local business are challenging the incumbent for a three-year term on the Selectboard in Tuesday’s election.

Also on the ballot is an $11.5 million budget and appropriations for capital reserve funds.

Keith Sayer is finishing his first term on the board. Former board members Bert Spaulding Sr. and Herbert Tellor Jr., and Doug Ring are hoping to replace him.

Ring, 50, ran unsuccessfully for the Selectboard in 2022 and 2023. He owns a towing and landscaping business and said he has served communities he has lived in for years and it is something he enjoys doing. Ring said he has experience working for companies involved with infrastructure and wants to use that experience to help the town in its efforts to upgrade its water and sewer systems.

“The town should have set up a plan years ago,” Ring said. “There are a lot of breaks in the water lines.”

Sayer, 62, said he has learned a great deal in first term and believes that experience warrants another term.

“My personal goal is I don’t want to see the property tax become more than half the payment on a home,” Sayer said.

When someone proposes an appropriation with a “nickel on the tax rate,” Sayer said, he is likely to vote against it.

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“I’m opposed to increases in taxes,” he said. “I want to be sure to keep the property tax rate at reasonable level for taxpayers.”

Herb Tellor Jr., who is retired, served one, three-year term on the board before losing his seat in last year’s election.

Tellor said his involvement in Newport’s government gives him a clear understanding of what is going on in town. He is a member of the Planning Board, Heritage Commission and was chairman of the Budget Advisory Committee this year.

He has also served on the Zoning Board of Adjustment, the Recreation Advisory Committee, the Airport Advisory Committee and Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Planning Commission.

“I still feel I have something to offer the town,” Tellor said. “I had a perfect attendance record (on the Selectboard) and feel I did a decent job.”

As a member of the board, Tellor said he was proud to support the new recreation center, which is under construction. But he did not like the way the board dismissed former Town Manager Hunter Rieseberg.

Rieseberg left in July 2023, but the town paid him through the end of the year.

“They should have let him work,” Tellor, 60, said. “It cost the taxpayers a lot of money.”

Spaulding, 77, is retired. He previously served on the Selectboard and has also been on the Planning Board and School Board.

He declined to comment on his candidacy.

The 11 warrant articles on Tuesday’s ballot include an appropriation for the recreation department of $1.01 million.

Of that amount, only $10,000 come from taxes with the remainder, which was added at the deliberative session in April, to be paid from “grants, donations and other sources,” the article states.

The money will fund the ongoing construction of the new community center and be repaid with an $1 million grant from the state’s InvestNH fund for the more than 100 new workforce housing units in town.

The governor’s Executive Council approved the InvestNH money for Newport last month, Newport Finance Director Paul Brown said Wednesday.

The $11.5 million budget, which includes water and sewer expenditures, includes a $9 million general fund operating portion, which is up about $450,000 from the budget voters approved last year.

Expenses for insurance and in the welfare budget, along with pay increases under union contracts make up most of the budget increase, Brown said previously.

Should the proposed budget fail, the default budget of $10.8 million would be implemented.

Several articles on the warrant are appropriations for capital reserve funds, including $100,000 for property revaluation and $75,000 for the ambulance fund.

If voters approve all the articles, the town tax rate is projected to increase from $7.62 per $1,000 of assessed valuation to $7.85, or 23 cents.

That would add $53 in taxes to a property assessed at $230,000.

Voting is Tuesday, May 14 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Newport Middle High School on North Main Street.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at