LISBON — Controversy between the Town Council and the School Committee over the proposed school budget for 2015-16 has townspeople feeling the need to get more involved, candidates at Tuesday night’s Meet the Candidates forum said.

Candidates for three seats on the seven-member council said they bring the skill of collaboration to the table and it’s one of the main reasons they are seeking election Nov. 3.

Candidates are: Ward 1 Councilor Mark Lunt and challenger Kasie Kolbe; Ward 2 Councilor Dillon Pesce and challenger Allen Ward; Councilor at large: Michael Hebert, Richard Nadeau and Normand Albert Jr.

Running for the Water Commission are Steven Warren and Marie Hale.

Councilor At Large

“Everyone needs to make sacrifices and come together as best we can,” Hebert said.

He joined the U.S. Army at age 19, became a squad leader at age 21, and was responsible for more than $1 million in equipment, he said. He worked for his family’s construction business during the recession, during which time the company prospered. He then started his own company, he said.

Hebert said his priorities would include exploring the addition of a scale house at the dump to make money. He would also like to see townspeople put more pressure on the Legislature to fund 55 percent of education costs.

Nadeau said his experience on the council and the School Committee will shorten his learning curve if elected to the at-large seat.

“We need to work together,” Nadeau said. “I won’t be a yes man, but I won’t vote against all the time, either.”

Fixing town roads would be a priority, he said, adding that it’s a major factor in attracting new businesses.

Making some small cosmetic changes, such as adding signs, could make a significant impact, he said. Nadeau also said he wants to hold the line on taxes to “what we can afford.”

Albert said fixing a deficiency in the town charter is a priority for him. Past changes left a gap that gives the townspeople no recourse if they disagree with the council. He wants to restore that voice to the people, he said. Public service, economic development and maintenance are areas Albert said he sees as a way to prioritize issues before council.

Albert has 13 years of experience in customer service.

“I want to work with others to bring forth the best resolution,” Albert said. His experience sitting on a board for a nonprofit includes traveling to Washington, D.C. to move forward legislation to help families dealing with with Down syndrome, he said.

Ward 1

Kolbe said she will work hard, is familiar with laws and is open-minded. She said she is running because she felt townspeople were not being listened to during the controversy between the School Committee and the Town Council over the school budget.

Kolbe is running against Lunt, who was one of the two councilors who voted against the school budget proposed by the council.

Lunt has been a councilor for six years and sits on a state-level committee for the town.

“I have a proven track record of working together, even if we don’t agree,” he said.

Lunt is seeking re-election, he said, because he didn’t like the way things were going during the past budget season and people asked him to run again.

“It takes two to three years to really learn this,” Lunt said of being a councilor. “Don’t change horses in midstream,” he said.

Ward 2

Pesce has served on the council for three years, the past year as chairman.

He graduated from Lisbon High School in 2012 and recently earned a criminal justice degree.

“I taped council meetings for three years before serving,” he said, “and still was not prepared for all the behind-the-scenes stuff that goes on outside of the meetings.”

Pesce said, “I won’t change my perspective just to sit on the board. If we share the same principles, a conservative, common-sense approach to move the town forward, then vote for me.”

He said, “On average, I spent 28 hours per week preparing for meetings” and other council business.

Working on the burdensome tax rate has been and will continue to be a priority, Pesce said.

His challenger, Allen Ward, said running for the Town Council is the “right thing to do,” given his experience in finance. He has an accounting degree, 17 years of experience as an auditor and risk management experience.

Micromanagement is best left to the town manager, he said. His priority would be for the council to plan policy and mend the division with the School Committee.

Water Commission

“I hope you will think about the importance of water in your life,” Warren told those at the forum.

Warren said he spent a lot of time on water-quality issues, particularly the town’s groundwater. He said he worked with the Department of Environmental Protection on several issues and hopes to continue.

Warren said was encouraged by the former water commissioner to run for the seat.

“We can take pride in our water department. It has been well run, and I hope to continue that and focus on a long-term plan to avoid a crisis in the future,” Warren said.

Marie Hale, who is listed on the town website as a candidate for the Water Commission, was not at Tuesday’s meeting.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday Nov. 3. Ward 1 voters will cast ballots at the Superintendent’s Central Office; Ward 2 voters at the MTM Gym.


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