PARIS — The Board of Selectmen opted Tuesday not to fill Gerald Kilgore’s seat until next summer.
Kilgore resigned two weeks ago for health reasons. His three-year term was due to expire in June 2015. He was not at Tuesday’s meeting.
Kilgore, 72, said in a phone interview that health problems forced him to make the tough choice to bow out. A six-term selectman, Kilgore has been at the helm overseeing town decisions for nearly 17 years.
He said he’s tried to vote against certain purchases, but it hasn’t always been easy.
“Some people have good jobs, but what about the guy making $10? This is why I get frustrated. I wouldn’t come down off my property here if I didn’t have to put gas in my truck,” Kilgore said.
A contractor, horse breeder and jockey, Kilgore said he’s worked two jobs for as long as he can remember and has found it frustrating not being able to do as much as he he’d like.
“I put an ad in the paper: I’m not dead. I’m not retired. I’m a busy guy,” Kilgore said.
On a personal level, he said it’s been difficult to watch taxes rise on his neighbors.
“I didn’t want to be on the board when we kick someone out of their home because they can’t pay their taxes. We haven’t done it yet but it seems that’s the way it’s going,” he said.
For over four decades Kilgore has been breeding and racing horses on short tracks across Maine. At one point he had over 20, but now has two. He still runs them on the half-mile track around his home in South Paris.
Two weeks ago he raced in Cumberland.
‘I said put me down, I’ll drive her. They asked me, ‘Are you sure you’re up to this?’ I said I’m standing here, ain’t I? I did all right. I held my best against the best of them.”
Horses, he said, are like people.
“You can’t fly off the handle and yell at horses. You have to be patient. Dealing with them has taught me as a selectman to mellow out with people.”