MEXICO — Five residents are vying for two seats on the Board of Selectmen in Tuesday’s elections.

Voting will take place from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. June 10, at the Calvin B. Lyons Hall in the Town Office. Along with the state primary ballot will be one for the 2014-15 town budget.

Incumbent Peter Merrill is unopposed in his bid for a third-consecutive term.

Albert Aniel, Richard Briggs, Andrew Dupuis and Jack Gaudet are seeking the seat held by George Byam, who is not seeking another term.

Gaudet, who recently retired from the military after 36 years of service, said he grew up in the River Valley, went into the Army “right out of high school,” then lived in Virginia.

“However, I received the Sun Journal and the Rumford Falls Times while I lived in Virginia and was able to keep up on the local news,” Gaudet said.

Gaudet said he has never served as an employee of town government, but has experience sitting in on boards for the military.

“I just like to be involved,” Gaudet said. “From what I’ve seen, I believe the Board of Selectmen right now is looking out for the town’s best interests. I think that the town manager has done a good job of keeping the town afloat.”

Regarding the budget, Gaudet said he wishes taxes were lower but it can be difficult to figure out where cuts should be made.

“If you start cutting services and lowering the budget year by year, you’re going to create trouble and will have to regrow,” Gaudet said. “I know we’ve got to make cuts, but the question is where? What services do we get rid of? You can’t just cut without thinking, or you get yourself into trouble.”

Dupuis said he has experience in town government, serving as selectman from 1991 to 1994.

“While I was selectman, we switched from a three-man board to a five-man board, which is what we have today,” said Dupuis, who owns a salvage yard on River Road.

“I feel like we accomplished a lot during those three years, and I think if I’m elected, we can accomplish a lot again,” he added.

Dupuis said he has “invested a lot” in the town since 1978.

“I have a business here, and I have three children who all have homes in Mexico,” he said.

Briggs, who is married to state Rep. Sheryl Briggs, said he has never run for selectman before. “At this point in my life, it’s the right time to step up,” he said.

“I really want the best for Mexico,” Briggs said. “We need to stop the finger-pointing. We must find a way to get through these tough times together.”

He said if he’s elected, he will strive to unite the board.

“I want to help the people in Mexico,” Briggs said. “We need to work together to bring the community back together, and we can’t do that if we stay divided. We aren’t going to go anywhere if it’s us versus them.”

Aniel has served on the Planning Board and Budget Committee. This is his second time running for selectman.

The “No. 1 reason” for running, he said, is to “bring the respect of the voters back to town government.

“The town passed an ordinance with the intention of capping the budget at a set amount, and the selectmen ignored it,” he said. “There may have been some issues with the ordinance, but the intent was very clear. The town manager found a way to circumvent the ordinance.

“I want to bring back a certain honesty to town government that has been missing,” Aniel said. “If you speak to any realtor, they’ll tell you that our taxes are extremely high. In order to bring back businesses to the area, we need to lower taxes.”

Aniel said one idea is to “consider giving tax benefits, like they do in the state of New York.

“Some of the businesses that have been here for awhile may think, ‘Why are these new businesses moving into town getting breaks,’” Aniel said. “We have to start somewhere. If we can get a good business to move into town, then it should spread to the other businesses in the area, according to the trickle-down phenomenon.”

Aniel also wants the regionalization efforts that Rumford and Mexico have been working on for the past year to “move forward.”

“I love this town and its people,” Aniel said. “I’ve been here for over 33 years. A lot of people here have to make the choice between paying for heating oil or paying for medicine and taxes, and that’s not right. The town needs new ideas and new people.”

Merrill, who is seeking his third-consecutive term, said he “came to the town 17 years ago as an outsider.

“The first thing I looked at when I came in, like anybody else, was the schools,” he said. “I looked at the churches, the library, whether the town has a good Police Department and Fire Department. I’m running for selectman again because I won’t stand by and watch our recreation center and our library be boarded up.

“We need a workforce here, and we need to find a way to keep our kids in these communities,” Merrill said. “You don’t do that by cutting services left and right.”

Merrill said he saw Mexico and Rumford as “two different towns and one community” and he believes sharing services will be a “step in the right direction.”

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