B y Christina Scanlon

David O'Brien

Dave O’Brien

Hampton Town Supervisor David O’Brien is eyeing a third term, with a building project and major county projects under his belt.

He spoke highly of the success of the new town building construction and the community’s collaboration that brought it to fruition.

“Can we do it ourselves and do we have the resources,” he said he asked himself before launching the project.

Indeed, they did, he said, and constructed a new building at a cost of $85,000, as opposed to the $235,000 estimated had they not sought community support.

It was possible, he said, because they were able to do the construction themselves without having to pay the prevailing wage.

“We did it all without borrowing anything,” he said.

By using local resources and obtaining donations from community such as slate roofing, costs were kept low.

Landscaping came from the community, as well, with dedication plaques footing the bill.

“We’re set up for the next 100 years,” he said of the new structure.

Creativity, he said, is also a major factor. “How can we improve the circumstances with a limited budget? You’ve got to be creative, and be able to find those resources.” A court grant aided in upgrades to technology.

The push to bring broadband access to the area is extremely important, he said, adding that educational and business opportunities can be lost without it.

“People are looking for home business opportunities, the ability to work from home,” he said. Some home buyers could be swayed from buying a home in an area where broadband is not available.

“Home values can go down,” he said. “People want to be connected.”

He said broadband will be used in future delivery of medical services, that residents should not miss out on.

The recent donation of the fire station to the Hampton Volunteer Fire Dept. will keep residents safer, while enabling a reduced cost of homeowners’ insurance, as opposed to if the station was no longer there, he said.

Future projects O’Brien has planned are to continue to clean up and restore cemeteries and find creative ways to improve roads on limited funding.

While state mandates are unlikely to go down, O’Brien said it’s important to continue to find creative ways to use resources, save money and keep taxes down.

Software improvements for the justice system, printing and mailing costs, gas and oil prices and retirement expenses all saw increases in spending. All areas, O’Brien said, were out of the town’s control. In 2013, the town was hit with a $15,000 increase in workers’ compensation costs.

Still, he said, he managed to decrease the tax rate 4.1 percent from 2011-15.

At the county level, he said, the Board of Supervisors is getting to a good place, after some rough years, and going in a good direction.

“We got rid of the money pits,” he said, referring to the former county-owned nursing home and transfer stations.
With the third smallest population of 17 towns, Hampton is at the bottom of the weights for votes when the county, as a whole, is deciding issues.

O’Brien, however, said he makes his vote count by sitting on five committees, and chairing the Personnel Committee.

To stay informed, he said, he also always attends the other four committee meetings, which meet a minimum of once a month, though not as a member.

He’s retired from the software industry, “and I’m a full-time resident,” said O’Brien of his ability to make the commitment on both the town and county levels.

“The decisions made on these committees will impact our youth and business for years to come,” he said.

Lenny Reed

Lenny Reed

Lenny Reed

Leonard C. “Lenny” Reed has thrown his hat in the ring, hoping to regain the seat he left in 2005, having served as Hampton supervisor for six years.

“I’ve never seen so much negativity,” he said in deciding to run against incumbent Dave O’Brien in a Republican primary on Sept. 10.

The sentiment, however, was one he said he didn’t feel at first.

After he stepped down, Reed was succeeded by Skip Clark, who Reed said did a fine job. “He’s a very good man,” said Reed.

Clark left office when he moved to Vermont and Don Sady held the job until O’Brien took over in 2010. O’Brien is vying to keep his seat.

Reed had positive remarks for O’Brien’s first term and the work he did getting a new town hall constructed.

By the second term, Reed said, he was urged to run, but held off.

Now, however, he says he can’t sit back.

He said his plans are to “pick us up by our boot straps and run this town.”

Referring to the handling of an issue last year in which a long-time employee was determined to have disobeyed orders from his superiors and used town property improperly, Reed said, “It didn’t have to happen. People are elected to do their job, they don’t need to be micromanaged.”

He voiced concerns over a possible equipment emergency, if one should arise.

“It’s been 38 years since the town has ever paid interest on a loan,” he said.

He said he is against the town borrowing money for an emergency, acknowledging a $100,000 balance in the capital equipment fund.

He retired from canal work with the state, experience he says will serve him well on the county level, with an ability to work on committees such as public works.

Now 71, Reed recalled an interest in government starting in his early 30s.

He served as a judge for more than 20 years.

What he learned there, he said, he brings with him to decisions he’ll make as a supervisor: “Good common sense and the golden rule.”

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