WILTON — Three men are vying for a seat on the Board of Selectpersons in next week’s election.

Balloting will be held from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 5, at the Town Office.

The vacancy was created when Paul Berkey Jr. resigned in the fall.

Recently, the candidates shared their thoughts about the town and serving on the board.

* Irving Faunce, 70, is the administrator of Maplecrest Rehabilitation & Living Center in Madison. He served as a selectperson from 2007-2011. He has also served on the Planning Board and Finance Committee.

He said he wants to contribute his leadership and management experience to help the town deal with the Forster mill site and town taxes.

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“The community needs to demolish the mill building,” he said. “It is a pressing issue for Wilton.”

Creation of a strategic vision for the downtown village, including demolition and development of the Forster site, was one action he previously endorsed working on, if elected.

After taxes on his Wilton Blueberry Farm went up $900, Faunce also voiced concerns about the burden on property taxpayers. State revenue-sharing is down, raising the amount local taxpayers bear, he said.

Faunce wants to see Wilton thrive over the coming years as a safe and secure community where residents can afford to live comfortably, he previously said. 

Faunce was recently named a board member for SeniorsPlus. He is a member of the Friends of Wilson Lake, the Foothills Land Conservancy and the Farmington Rotary Club. He and his wife, Jan Collins, own the Wilton Blueberry Farm.

* Gerald Whitney, 60, is road foreman for Livermore. This is his third bid for selectman.

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‘They say the third time is a charm,” he said.

Whitney worked for 30 years for the Wilton Public Works Department. He said he realizes how all towns are struggling to maintain road conditions. They can only go so far and then there is no catching up, he said.

Whitney said he’s concerned about the costs for the town to take down the Forster building, the lack of business in town, the rising costs for Regional School Unit 9 and rising taxes for the working man.

“Taxes are terrible,” he said. “We need to cut back and curb spending.”

One area of the budget that concerns Whitney is RSU 9.

“We need to pull in the reins,” he said. “RSU 9 is out of control. They keep spending.”

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Times are hard, especially now, for the working man who is paying taxes, he said.

He would like to get more people involved. He said, “Even one vote . . . some may think it doesn’t count but it does.” He advised voters to “Go vote and make a change.”

*Jeffrey Rowe, 59, is employed by Ridley Trucking. He also runs a small motorcycle repair and mowing business. He is a member of the Wilton Fire Department.

Rowe said he feels there are some difficult issues facing the town and he has the time and experience to help. He previously served four terms on the board, a total of 12 years, he said.

“The Forster building is first and foremost on everyone’s mind,” he said. 

It needs to be torn down, he said, but realizes the town may not have a lot of money to spend on it.

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Since there are no big businesses left, Rowe feels the town needs to lean toward attracting smaller ones, businesses that would allow people to work in Wilton so they would not have to drive an hour, he said.

The costs of schools is also a concern. 

“We need to educate kids but they spend a lot of money,” he said. “Everything is going up – where do we make cuts? We need to be mindful of what we spend and live within our means.”

Rowe said, “I’m not a suit and tie man. I show up wearing a clean Harley T-shirt . . . I don’t pretend to be what I’m not. But, I do have a vested interest in this town.”

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