Selectman to resign over health issues

Selectman Al Merritt announced that he is resigning effective Monday due to ongoing health issues that he said would require his attention. Merritt was elected in 2008 and reelected in 2011. He served twice on the Finance Committee, in the 1980s and 1990s, and chaired both the School Building Committee, beginning in 2001, and Economic Development and Housing Advisory Committee, beginning in 2005. In his work on these committees and as a selectman, Merritt was instrumental in gaining approval from voters for additional funding for the renovation and expansion of the town’s two elementary schools, a renovation of the high school, and the building of the middle school when initial funding estimates were found to be too low. The School Building Committee then saw the building project through, on time, within the revised budget, and with reimbursement from the state. As chairman of the Economic Development and Housing Advisory Committee and as a member of the Board of Selectmen, he was instrumental in the negotiations and approval process for the Market Street development, which is expected to provide a significant expansion to the town’s commercial tax base, help it address its affordable housing requirements, and provide many other benefits to the town.