Sunday May 13, 2012

GREAT BARRINGTON -- Two incumbents and one challenger are vying for seats on the Finance Committee.

Town elections will be held on Monday, with polls open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Great Barrington Fire Station and Housatonic Community Center.

In the lone contested race, Walter F. "Buddy" Atwood III of Maple Avenue, Louis J. "Jim" Stark of Main Street North and Sharon M. Gregory of Hollenbeck Avenue are vying for two, three-year terms on the Finance Committee. Atwood and Stark currently serve on the committee.

Stark is coming to the end of a three-year term and said he’s running again to keep the town’s budget in check.

"I find that taxes, and especially the taxes when combined with the sewer rates, are just too much of a burden for many people," said Stark.

Stark, owner of LJ Stark Real Estate, is a member of the fire department and is coming to the end of a term on the Board of Library Trustees.

Atwood has a long record of serving on municipal boards and committees, including the Select Board and Berkshire Hills Regional School Dis trict’s Committee. He was appointed to the Finance Committee in 2011 to complete the term of a resigning member. This is his third stint with the committee dating back to the late 1970s.

"I just try to keep taxes as low as we can," said Atwood.

Atwood is also chair of the Great Barrington Fire District’s prudential committee.

Gregory, vice president of corporate development and planning for Iredale Mineral Cosmetics, served as co-chair of the ad-hoc committee that crafted the downtown overlay district and more recently served on the town’s parking task force.

Gregory said she’s running because she wants to begin the budget process earlier and bring more focus to establishing priorities within the town budget. She said she wants to do that by providing information to the public in a more relatable manner and by using quantitative analysis of the town’s expenditures in relation to other communities.

"I really believe in this town," said Gregory. "I believe in the Berkshires and I feel that the whole budget planning process needs to be better focused."

In notable uncontested races, Deborah Phillips of Highland Drive and Sean Stanton of Hart Street are running for re-election to the Select Board.

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n What: Great Barrington town election. The lone contested race is for two seats on the Finance Committee, with Walter F. "Buddy" Atwood III, Louis J. "Jim" Stark and Sharon M. Gregory vying for three-year terms.

n When: Monday, polls open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

n Where: Great Barrington Fire Station (Precincts A, C and D), 37 State Road, Great Barrington; Housatonic Community Center (Precinct B), 1064 Main St., Housatonic.