Soares keeps Candia selectman seat amid political sign controversy
CANDIA - Overcoming a difficult week on the heels of the Candia sign controversy, Amanda Soares retained her seat Tuesday on Candia Board of Selectmen and will be joined by former selectman Cartlon Robie.
At the town election, Robie received 630 votes, with Soares getting 529. Current chair Joe Duarte received the lowest number of votes, 464, with Mark Pepper receiving 476.
Soares faced steep criticism from some Candia residents at the selectmen's meeting on Monday after an attorney general's report confirmed that she, as well as Robie, had been involved in the controversial taking down of signs referencing quotes made by Soares during a discussion on cost of living pay adjustments last year. Residents at that meeting pressured her to resign. Soares has drawn supporters for what they see as her fierce fiscal conservatism. She was one of the most vocal critics of the selectmen's original plan to close the town's incinerator, for instance, arguing for an alternative plan involving local contractors, geological testing, and a more limited scope of work that she argued would save the town money.
A $163,500 warrant to renovate the Smyth Memorial Building, the town's old library, and reopen it as a multi-purpose community center failed 752-347. A petition warrant to rezone two lots on the Raymond border from residential to commercial, allowing Raymond Sand & Gravel to begin quarry work on its property there again, also failed 617-476. The proposed operating budget of $2,339,546 passed 614-465.
Two petition warrants elicited some controversy when they were amended by the deliberative session to read in the reverse of their original intent also pass. One, originally to abolish the conservation commission, changed to a vote of "continued support in the Conservation Commission," passed 682-403. The other, originally to set determined hours for the town clerk's office amended to allow the clerk to set their own hours, passed 615-474.