JAY — Two candidates are running for the fourth selectperson seat in the April 25 elections.
Polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Community Building.
Fourth Selectperson F. Timothy “Tim” DeMillo is being challenged by Budget Committee member Ricky Merrill.
They each answered the same questions for the Sun Journal, which included a resident’s questions to candidates.
The town’s biggest taxpayer, Verso Androscoggin LLC, has decreased in value for several years in a row. Candidates were asked how they would address the town’s financial issues and maintain current services.
Merrill said he was running on a platform of trying to cut wasteful spending, listening to residents and the members of town committees. He also wants to try not reduce town services.
Selectpersons have been working the past several years on downsizing all municipal departments, with an eye toward cutting costs while maintain a strong level of service, DeMillo said.
“I plan to continue to do so,” if elected, he said. “However we still need to restore our capital reserves as a way to save money for future equipment and needs going forward.”
They were also asked what their ideas were to make Jay a more vibrant community, a place where people will want to live, work and raise a family.
Merrill said, if elected, he would try to make the opinions of the functioning committee members matter and get them directly involved more. He would also look into ideas that will make the community stronger, he said.
“We have always been a community that has supported our local businesses, with an eye towards economic development,” DeMillo said. “We all need to be open-minded about any potential new business. We already have a good town to live and raise a family. We need to continue to look for ways to attract potential businesses, plus continue to support the local businesses we already have. With that being said, having recreational and educational opportunities, along with a good balance of municipal and public safety services, will be critical to expanding our community.”
Both were asked what type of financial safety net could be put in place in case the paper mill closes.
“I believe the town will run most effectively when the voice of its residents are heard and acted upon,” Merrill said. “I am running for selectperson because I do not believe that it has been happening for the last 10 years.”
To help offset potential future losses, DeMillo said they need to continue as they have.
“There are also several new or expanded businesses in our hometown, DeMillo said. “The ‘safety net’ is also a part of reductions at the municipal level, as is working with Verso over the past several years to more adequately balance values and to reach a settlement that will help them to stay a part of our community.”
Additionally, significant savings from Franklin County and Regional School Unit 73 will have to be recognized, he said.
“Undoubtedly the next couple years will be challenging,” DeMillo said. “I believe in myself and this community to persevere. The catchall, solve-all safety net, quite frankly, is a work in progress.”
Name: Ricky Merrill
Residence: 69 Knapp St.
Occupation: Independent contractor
Experience: Seven years on the Jay Budget Committee; 10 years on the Pine Tree Council District Committee of the Boy Scouts.
Name: Tim DeMillo
Residence: 60 Lucarelli Road
Profession: Property management/Security for MAC Development LLC and Riverside Scrap
Experience: Six years on the Jay Board of Selectpersons; more than five years on the Franklin County Budget Advisory Committee; member of the Chisholm Trails/Androscoggin Land Trust; member of numerous town committees, including the Fire Department, Road, Building, Recycling and Comprehensive Plan committees.