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GRANVILLE — When residents head to the polls for the annual town election on Monday, April 8, the only contested seat is on the Selectboard, with incumbent and current board Chair Nicole Berndt being challenged by Anthony “Tony” Novak.

Other than asking Berndt to provide what she considers her accomplishments while a member of the board, both candidates were asked the same questions that included biographical information, reason for running, vision or future of the town, and any additional information about their backgrounds.

Berndt, 40, was first elected to the Selectboard in 2018 and successfully ran for reelection in 2021. She grew up in Holyoke, attending local public schools and graduating with high honors. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in animal science with a concentration in dairy science.

She spent several years managing dairy farms in Vermont before heading back south in 2010 for a position as herd manager for Rockwood Farm.

Berndt got involved with town politics in 2017 when she fought to keep the Granville Village School from closing. The effort was unsuccessful.

However, as result of her activism, Berndt wrote, the Selectboard chose her to serve as a member of the Granville Village School Future Use Committee, which was charged with looking for options for the building once the school district vacated.

Berndt said she is running for reelection because she believes there is more work to be done.

“COVID really derailed everything for more than two years,” she wrote.

She said that while serving her first term as chair of the Selectboard, nearly all of her attention was focused on helping the town and its residents navigate the coronavirus pandemic.

“I feel like 2023 was the first time we really got to turn our attention back to trying to make progress instead of just putting out fires and navigating the day to day,” she wrote.

As for her accomplishments, Berndt was proud of helping residents get vaccinated, which included calling every senior in town to learn if they were interested in getting the vaccine and establishing and manning a hotline for to ask questions, get tips on how to get appointments or her still scheduling them appointments when needed.

Other accomplishments she mentioned were successfully transitioning the leadership of the Police Department and DPW, renegotiating the lease of the village school to more efficiently cover the cost of keeping it open.

She also pointed to her support of providing local funding for the children’s program at the town library, organizing the annual Granville/Tolland Townwide Cleanup, and supporting the Planning Board’s development of the town’s Accessory Agricultural Uses bylaw.

She also wants to reestablish the town’s Council on Aging¸ explore tax abatement options for veterans and low-income seniors, and find ways to allow for new and smart growth that fits with the character of the town.

Berndt said residents should support her reelection because she will “show up.”

“At the end of the day, I care very deeply about the town and her people, will always show up to help, listen and do what I can to make things better and move us forward,” she wrote.

Novak, 60, has served on the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals for 16 years, but this is his first attempt at elected office.

He first arrived in Granville in 1998 to restore an 1850s carpenter gothic home near Town Hall, before moving to Crest Lane, where he built a new home.

Novak earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston and then a master of business administration degree from the University of Dallas.

He’s running for the seat because he would rather be part of the town’s administration, “rather than sit idly by if I see issues not being handled properly.”

Novak’s vision for the future of the town is to continue promoting the agriculture and artisan environment of the community.

“I want to promote and expand farm-based retail opportunities, like micro-breweries and wineries,” he wrote.

Novak also wants to promote repurposing existing structures when they become available, so they don’t fall into disrepair, pointing to the current condition of the West Granville School. He is asking for residents’ vote by pointing to his 16 years on the ZBA,

“I have a track record of volunteering on the ZBA, helping to keep projects or problems in town resolved so they fall in line with current zoning or through our appeal process with negotiated approvals that fit withing the nature of the neighborhood they are in,” he wrote.

Novak said he was proud that he raised his children in town who attended the now-closed Granville Village School and participated in various extracurricular activities including Christmas productions. He added that his daughter has recently returned to Granville to start a family.

“I want my grandkids to have the same quality of life my kids did. That requires working for what is right for the town,” Novak said.

There are no other contested seats on the ballot. Incumbents running unopposed for reelection are Richard Pierce for moderator, Christina Teter for town clerk, Christopher Bouwer for assessor, April Lebreque for library trustee, Pamela Petschke for School Committee representative, and five members seeking reelection to five seats on the Recreation Committee: Robert Beckwith, Linda Blakesley, William Blakesley, James Daley and Theodora Daley. Selectboard member Scott Bergeron is the only candidate for a one-year term as town constable. There are two open seats on the Planning Board; Pierce is running for one, and town officials are encouraging write-in votes to fill the other.

Polls will be open noon to 8 p.m. Monday, April 8, at Town Hall, 707 Main Rd., Granville.

cclark@thereminder.com | + posts