MANCHESTER — Nearly a month has passed since anybody registered to vote in Tuesday's town election.
But that's hardly surprising, considering MayorEarl A. J. "Tim" Warehime Jr. is running unopposed for the $1,200-a-year post he's held since December.
Councilman John A. Riley and political newcomer Joseph Gayer alsoare running virtually uncontested for two Town Council seats, with Planning and Zoning Commission member Robert Kolodziejski mounting a last-minute write-in campaign.
"It's been real quiet," said KathrynL. Riley, town clerk/treasurer.
She said the last time a residentstopped by the Town Hall to register was on April 15; 1,145 of the town's 2,689 residents are eligible to cast ballots in next week's election.
Turnout is expected to be light, she and others said.
The issues facing residents here are the same as they've been for the last five years: growth, the $10 million sewage treatment plant expansion and transportation needs.
Warehime, a 45-year-old Colonial Pipeline Co. technician, is a lifelong resident who replaced Elmer C. Lippy Jr. as mayor when Lippy became a county commissioner last year. Warehime, a former councilman first elected in 1983, has supported creating a town manager position.
It was under Warehime that David Warner was hired to a $400-a-week post as projects administrator, with duties similar to those of a town manager. Warner, while saying he isnot interested in becoming town manager, has over the past several months been working to simplify town building permit applications, clarify policies and consolidate records.
Whether a full-time manageris needed for Manchester is still a matter of debate among Town Council members.
Two of the five council seats are open this year, andone ap
pointed incumbent -- Riley -- is running again.
Riley, who last night was among those who passed the town's $829,869 budget for the year beginning July 1, advocates hiring a full-time town manager.
The 62-year-old has been town manager of neighboring Hampstead since 1984.
Riley said a town manager is most capable of dealingwith growth, sewage and other ongoing problems that are too complex to be fully understood in twice-a-month Town Council meetings.
A proposal to build town houses and single-family dwellings in the northwest section of town met with heavy opposition from residents last year, despite support for the project among town officials. The project-- slated for the Dell property along Bachman Road -- was scaled back from 266 homes to 179 single-family homes as a result of protests from town residents.
Development is a mixed-bag here, where, to keep costs down, the town needs as many new homes as possible to hook upto its $10 million sewage treatment plant.
Controlling growth is important to Gayer, a 44-year-old horticulturist who owns a floral consulting firm in town.
Gayer, who has lived in town for a year, isreluctant to endorse a town manager, believing that less government is better government.
Kolodziejski, the wild card in Tuesday's election, said he is in the race to offer residents a choice. He said hedecided to run after the filing deadline last month because he wantsto be more intimately involved in how the town manages growth.
Residents can vote from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday at Town Hall, 3208 York St.