DIXFIELD – Selectmen on Tuesday unanimously voted to advertise for an operator of the town’s water and sewer departments. They hope a suitable candidate can be found before Feb. 28.

That’s the date the Mexico Water District will end its contract with Dixfield to operate the town’s water department.

A hiring committee comprising Selectmen Brenda Turbide and Brad Dyer, two members of the town’s Water Advisory Committee, and the Dixfield town manager will be formed.

Mexico has been running the Dixfield water department for nearly a year, and recently signed a contract to continue operating it.

However, the contract has a clause that allows either party to end the agreement with 30 days notice.

Mexico Water District trustees were upset when they learned that Dixfield Town Manager Jeff Jacobson was tentatively considering offering the job of superintendent of the water and sewer departments to Jim White, Mexico’s water district water operator.

Trustee David McDonald said other issues not related to Dixfield, which he declined to name, were also factors in not continuing the arrangement.

Dixfield selectmen’s chairwoman, Bettina Martin, said on Wednesday that she believes hiring one person to run both departments will work out.

“We’ll advertise and get a trained candidate,” she said.

Before the arrangement between Dixfield and Mexico, Dixfield had one person to run both departments. Then, the duties of the sewer department were given to public works just before Mexico took over as operator of the water department.

In other matters, the board voted to dedicate this year’s annual report to former selectman and chairman Eugene Skibitsky. He was chosen from a field of five nominees.

Skibitsky served for nine years as a selectman, ending his tenure in 2006.

Also on Monday, police Sgt. Mark Dow announced that the department is looking for donations from residents to help with the purchase of Drug Abuse Resistance Education T-shirts for the town’s fifth-, sixth- and seventh-graders. Donations may be left at the town office or at the police station.

Patrolman Eric Bernier is leading the D.A.R.E. Program.