RUMFORD — Five candidates for two Board of Selectmen seats spent 70 minutes answering questions and sharing opinions Thursday night about why they want to help run the town for the next three years.

They are: Selectman Brad Adley, former Selectman Frank DiConzo and newcomers Chris Brennick, Lynden Clarke Jr. and Mary McPherson.

Former selectman and town moderator Kevin Saisi hosted the event, which was videotaped to be telecast on local access Channel 7 prior to election day on June 11.

Saisi had each person state why they are seeking election, then asked each of them five questions selected at random from a list of 20. No one responded to the same question. Each candidate then had five minutes for closing statements.

DiConzo said he’s running for office “because I love my town and I always have.”

He said Rumford residents can no longer afford to fund the current level of services and employees, especially when knowing that the town’s largest taxpayer, the NewPage paper mill, is struggling.

DiConzo said he would work to cut municipal spending and pare services to affordable levels.

“If we don’t act now and cut taxes and reduce our level of services to a sustainable level, we will lose our town,” he said.

Clarke said the town needs to make a lot of changes if it is to remain viable in the future.

“I think we need to get control of the town and cut spending,” he said. He said he would strive to do just that if elected.

McPherson said she sees plenty of unrealized potential that Rumford must tap into, market and develop, such as natural resources, to grow the economy. She said she has many ideas and would like the opportunity to bring them to fruition, reduce the town’s debt and bring money into Rumford.

Adley said he had originally chosen not to seek re-election, and then changed his mind because he believes he can help guide the town through “the big changes” coming by drawing on his six years as a selectman.

The big changes, he said, are the potential disruption in state revenue sharing and whether the paper mill remains a viable business in town.

The candidates responded to questions pertaining to town governance, of which they had no inkling until Saisi gave them each a list.

DiConzo’s first question asked how should Rumford approach implenting the Downtown Revitalization Plan.

He said the town must invest in repairs to the island to make it safe for pedestrians, examine traffic patterns and promote Rumford’s beauty to attract visitors to spend money here and hopefully decide to stay.

“If they see what they see now, they won’t come,” DiConzo said.

Clarke was asked to share his ideas about improving economic development and expanding the tax base.

He said the board needs to work with department heads to cut the municipal budget 15 percent to reduce the tax burden on residents and businesses. He said selectmen must work with business owners to help grow their businesses.

Clarke said that before Rumford can consider economic development, it must make it feasible for businesses to come here.

“The taxes are too high and we need to drop that down,” he said.

McPherson was asked what areas of municipal government should be cut, spared or even increased.

“I hate to see anything cut out,” she said.

She doesn’t see cutting as an option. Instead, McPherson said more money needs to be invested to revitalize the town.

Brennick was asked to state his thoughts on the economic development group Envision Rumford, the Maine Downtown Project and how they can help revive the local economy.

“I think the zip line is a great idea,” Brennick said. “It’s something we can build around.”

Adley was asked to state what changes must be made to the town charter.

“The charter needs a thorough going over,” he said. “It’s really restrictive.”

Two things Adley said he’d like to see changed is a rule that states one selectboard can’t bind the next board by approving things such as multiyear grants that make good fiscal sense. He also wants the bidding process changed.

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