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Trustee Rafer Burnham seeks to continue service in second term

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Candidate highlights utility dispute resolution from service on town board

By Ben Wiebesiek

FREDERICK — Rafer Burnham is one of the two incumbents on this year’s mail ballots for the town board of trustees. 

 

And along with Fred Skates, Burnham is touting the work the current board has completed to help improve life for the residents of Frederick.

Burnham said negotiating new lines of ownership with United Power is an example of the board’s accomplishments during his four years as trustee.

“In the last six or eight years, there’s been a lot of confusion between both the town and United Power as to who owns what as part of the power grid,” Burnham said. “Because Frederick has the old town area, so that was undisputed, but then there were these other little areas in between that United Power felt that they owned but then Frederick felt they owned. Well, we got that all resolved recently. We created a new contract with United Power.”

Burnham felt that settling the dispute was a significant step forward for the town in terms of planning for the future.

“Now that we have the boundary dispute resolved, that kind of clears the way for the town to consider purchasing those areas from United Power,” Burnham said. “This would mean a single utility for the entire town. Right now, it’s somewhat divided, we have the old area and the new parts of town.”

A unified town utility gives the board more options for working with a power wholesaler, which in turn could lead to cheaper rates for residents.

“We might be able to have better rates for all the citizens of Frederick instead of just half the residents,” “We’re considering expanding the Frederick utility, but we’re still in our homework phase right now to see if it would be feasible or not.”

Burnham said the board should maintain a “healthy” revenue stream through business in the community.

     “I know that it’s healthy for the existing businesses as well, because one of our focuses is to not have blighted communities in town,” Burnhams said.

Increased economic development helps counter that blight because the increased revenue allows for projects to repair store fronts and other areas where customers shop.

“Attracting businesses is always one of my priorities,” Burnham said.

Burnham, who has lived in town 10 years, is a software engineer by profession.

“I do think it helps with serving on the board, because I get software, and it’s up to me to expose bugs and defects and improve on it and report those things,” Burnham said. “Likewise, when I get an agenda packet and there’s a resolution in there, when I read it, I need to evaluate it to consider it from a resident’s perspective, I have to consider it from a business perspective, I have to consider it from a judge’s perspective.”

During his term, the national and local economy has been turbulent, but he’s encouraged by the positive economic signs in Frederick, including the construction more residential roof tops, which in turn leads to greater commercial investment.

“What makes me a good candidate for the board is that I’m an above-average consumer of the town’s “product,” for the lack of a better word,” Burnham said. “I’m married and I have five children, and two of those kids have graduated from Frederick High, so I’m very involved in the schools and activities the kids are in in the community.”