With four contested races on the ballot, the upcoming town elections are expected to be the most competitive in years.
But in light of mounting concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, it remains to be seen whether the annual balloting will be held on May 4 as scheduled.
Given ongoing efforts to promote social distancing, Town Manager William Keegan this week said he anticipates that Gov. Charlie Baker will sign off on emergency legislation enabling Bay State cities and towns to postpone local elections and town meetings.
In that event, local office-holders would remain in their existing positions until restrictions on public gatherings are lifted and the rescheduled election completed.
According to Assistant Town Clerk Claudine Gover, officials have certified nomination papers filed at the town clerk’s office qualifying 17 candidates to appear on the spring ballot.
They will be vying for available seats on eight town boards, including contested races for the board of assessors, board of selectmen, school committee and housing authority.
On the board of selectmen, David Coffey of 8 Washington St., Jack J. Kerzner of Montgomery Way and Stephanie McGowan of Rhodes Lane are all seeking a single seat currently held by two-term veteran David Feldman.
Meanwhile John Mahoney of Chadwick Road and Daniel Smith of Mill Street will vie for a seat on the board of assessors held for the last 18 years by Thomas Buckley of Hill Street.
A contested race is also shaping up for school committee — with Michelle Raymond of Birch Tree Road and Salina Chowdury of South Street running for a lone seat to be vacated by three-term veteran Beverley Lord.
On the housing authority, incumbent member Thomas Kelley of Centennial Court and newcomer Mary Selig, also of Centennial Court, are both eyeing a single five-year term, while Kevin Powers of Prospect Street and Bethany Robertson of Central Street compete for the remaining year of an unexpired term.
On the planning board, incumbent Gary Whitehouse of Main Street and Jeffrey Peterson of Edwards Road will both run unopposed.
Whitehouse is seeking reelection to another three-year term; Peterson — currently the board’s appointed associate member — is seeking the elected seat now held by outgoing veteran John Rhoads.
Also running unopposed are incumbents Richard Pacella of Thompson Road, Kevin Penders of Highland Street and Paul Steeves of Hill Street — who will ask voters to return them to their existing seats on the board of water and sewer commissioners, Boyden Library board of trustees and board of health, respectively.
Finally, Betsy Alio of Bird Street has secured a spot on the ballot running unopposed for final year of a three-year unexpired term on the board of health.