Longtime Cheshire selectwoman faces challenge in bid for 10th term


CHESHIRE — A longtime town selectwoman is facing a challenge in her bid for a 10th term on the board.

Carol Francesconi will seek to stave off newcomer E. Richard Scholz to win yet another three-year term on the Board of Selectmen when voters head to the polls on Monday for Cheshire's annual town election.

Polls will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Cheshire Community Center on 119 School St.

Serving on the board since 1989, Francesconi still believes she has a lot to give to the town.

"I have lived here all my life and I'm really dedicated to this town," she said.

Among the critical challenges the town faces now are its education system and its infrastructure, Francesconi said.

Discussions started by the School Committee about potentially consolidating the Adams-Cheshire Regional School District's two elementary schools — Cheshire Elementary and C.T. Plunkett — into a single school already have rippled through town.

While open to the discussion, Francesconi would need significantly more information before supporting the closure of Cheshire Elementary.

"Somebody better give me a cost benefit analysis before I'm convinced," she said.

She also lamented the inadequate state funding for infrastructure. This year, all of the town's roughly $240,000 in state highway funding is expected to be used on repairs to the Sand Mill Bridge — a fix that's only expected to last five to seven years. Then town also needs to address its aging highway vehicles and much-needed road repairs.

"When I first came in every single year we had roads that we would resurface. ... We always had money," Francesconi said. "You can't do what you really want to do. I think it's a constant challenge."

Scholz also challenged incumbent Selectman Paul Astorino, who has served on the board since 2002, in 2014 but was unsuccessful. He did not respond to a request for comment.

The only other contested race in the election is for town constable, which features five candidates running for three open positions. Incumbents Ralph Biagini, Jason Hoellerich and Alison Warner have been challenged by Christopher Garner and Andrew Kachel.

The ballot also will include a non-binding opinion question asking whether the voters believe the Select Board should expand from three members to five.

Other non-contested races include Peter Tatro for Cheshire representative on the Adams-Cheshire School Committee, Ronald DeAngelis for a two-year term on the Planning Board, and Shannon Plumb for a five-year term on the Planning Board.

Contact Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376


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