Tuesday, March 10, 2009

In tough times, fewer candidates for town meeting

Dozens of town meeting seats up for election in communities from Arlington to Winchester will have no candidates on the ballot in the coming weeks, signaling a shortage of office seekers that local officials say could affect legislative representation amid declining revenues and widespread budget cuts.

Officials blame the shortage of candidates on a variety of factors, from hectic work schedules and waning interest in local affairs to the fiscal realities of these harsh economic times.

"I think it's going to be an unpleasant time to be in a legislative body, because unlike when you can vote on budgets that are moving the community forward, here we're voting on budgets where you're standing still, and that's not a lot of fun," said Reading Town Manager Peter Hechenbleikner. 

"The other thing is, I think as a society, we're more focused on other things right now - like having a job."