MEXICO – The one-year remaining in Selectman Arthur Bordeau’s term drew four contenders, but one announcing his withdrawal from the race Monday.

Bordeau, who has served for many years on the board, resigned as of June 9, the date of the election.

Seeking to finish his term are: former Selectman Reginald W. Arsenault, 56, Meadow Street; former Selectman and current SAD 43 board member Bertha Betty Barrett, 83, Brook Street; and Mabel F. Merrill, 54, Roxbury Road.

Small businessman and former Selectman Andrew Dupuis’ name is also on the ballot. However, he said Monday that he does not want to pursue the seat.

Arsenault served for six years on the board, and currently sits on the Planning Board, Northern Oxford Solid Waste board, and Budget Committee. He also is a committee chairman for the Mexico Boy Scout troop.

Barrett was the town’s first female selectman in the early 1980s. She also sits on the Region 9 School of Applied Technology board, and the Western Foothills School District board from which she will be required to resign if she wins the selectman’s seat. She is also a member of the town’s Budget Committee and is a ballot clerk.

Merrill is making his first bid for an elective seat. She is a former Sunday School teacher for Victory Christian Church, has volunteered at Mountain Valley High School and Mountain Valley Middle School, and is a former hotel supervisor for the Jordan Hotel at Sunday River. Her husband, Peter, is a member of the Board of Selectmen.

All candidates want to keep the existing number of services, with Arsenault saying that two surveys of residents showed that a majority want to retain the current level. None view the library or recreation programs as nonessential.

However, Barrett believes some services could be scaled back.

“I believe the selectmen weren’t paying attention to economics and knew we wouldn’t get the money we would normally get from revenue sharing and the possible excise tax cut,” she said. “They were budgeting as if it was good times.”

She was particularly concerned that after the board cut back the number of police officers from five to four, they authorized the chief to apply for two officers under the federal government’s stimulus bill.

“That is stimulus money and I don’t favor stimulus money. You have to either pay it back or put it in the budget,” she said.

Merrill believes the town should focus on its youth.

“I think Mexico is such a nice town and I’ve lived in both larger and smaller towns. We need jobs and things to keep people here. I have a son in high school and he hears his friends say they can hardly wait to leave,” she said.

Recreational facilities are important, she said.

“We need more activities at the park and in the builidng,” she said.

She sees no conflict serving with her husband if she is elected.

“Peter and I are two different individuals. We’re both opinionated and we don’t always agree,” she said.

To lose the library or recreation program would be a shame, Arsenault said.

“Here are two places our children can go,” he said.

Arsenault favors pursuing a possible police merger with Dixfield. Merrill also views the possibility as a positive. Barrett wants the public to get more answers on costs, effects and other matters before she could agree to a merger of the police or any other department.

Barrett is the mother of six, grandmother of five, and great-grandmother of three.

Arsenault and his wife, Louise, are the parents of two adult children.

Merrill and her husband are the parents of seven children and the grandparents of 10.


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