NORWAY — Voters will choose among four candidates Tuesday to fill two open seats on the Board of Selectmen. Each seat is for three years.

Voting is from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Norway Fire Station, 19 Danforth St.

Selectman Mike Twitchell is not seeking re-election and is running for House District 71, which includes Norway, Waterford, West Paris and Sweden.

Longtime Selectman Bruce Cook is seeking re-election. In addition to his time as selectman, Cook has served on the Budget Committee, Planning Board and Norway Comprehensive Planning Committee.

He is treasurer of the Norway Opera House Corp., Norway Downtown, and Shepard’s Lane Association. He is also a board member for Responsible Pet Care. He is a former member of the Rotary Club of Oxford Hills and served as president and treasurer for Norway Lakes Association.

Cook doesn’t believe there are any major issues facing the board or town, because “the town is operating pretty smoothly right now with an experienced town manager and staff,” he wrote in his candidate’s questionnaire.

Instead, Cook said he wants to look to the future when it comes time for longtime Town Manager David Holt to retire.

“I feel with my experience in the business world hiring staff, I could serve the community in the selection process,” he said.

Cook said if he had the option to put money back in the budget, he would use it for upgrading streets and sidewalks, along with areas of the Town Office.

“We are doing an OK job but are barely holding our own,” he said about Norway’s streets. “Money could also be used to expand the Town Office (the vault) and a larger area for the Norway Police Department.”

Current Budget Committee member Tom Curtis, also vying for a seat on the board, believes the biggest issue facing Norway is for the town to realize its full potential.

“The town of Norway, this little bit of Heaven at the brink of the Appalachian foothills of Maine, is a diamond in the rough,” he wrote. “The lake and ponds draw innumerable souls to them and could help to drive this town to much greater heights.”

To do this, Curtis thinks selectmen “should take the lead in bringing together all forces that wish to have a voice in the remaking of Norway from a sleepy, but harmonious town to one where all recognize and work to fulfill the potential that it has.”

He believes his free time as a retiree and experience on the Norway Downtown Economic Growth Committee and Norway Lakes Association make him the right candidate to do so.

If Curtis could put money back in the budget, he would allocate for roads and bridges, and he said they’re in serious need of repair.

“Their upgrading would also be beneficial to the long-term financial well-being of Norway,” he said.

In addition to serving on the Budget and Norway Downtown Economic Growth committees, Curtis is vice chairman of the Norway Memorial Library board of trustees and Oxford County Republican Committee, president of the Diane E. Curtis Medical Scholarship Committee and a member of the Maine Music Society and First Congregational Church Choir.

Corey Roberge, a Budget Committee member, is also running for a seat on the board. He is self-employed and works for Ride Source Inc.

The biggest issue facing the town is the potential loss of state revenue-sharing in 2017, he said. For 2016, Norway received $429,000 from the state.

“(Gov.) Paul LePage is looking to get rid of revenue-sharing in the state of Maine, the way I understand it,” Roberge said. “It’s a lot (of money).”

Roberge said if money could be added to the budget, it should be put in reserves because of the uncertainty of the future of revenue sharing.

If elected as selectman, Roberge would like to help combat heroin and alcohol addiction and teenage pregnancy. He said he sees a lot of people struggling with these issues every day in his job, and noted has the energy to help others.

Also concerning Roberge is the impending invasion of the emerald ash borer that local experts say will devastate Norway’s ash tree population once the invasive insects reach Maine. Roberge wants to work with Jeannie Federico of Oxford County Soil and Water Conservation District to minimize the impact and is willing to volunteer his time to do so. 

Allan Moone, Budget Committee chairman and a Senior Solutions engineer, is also running for selectman.

The biggest issues facing the board are increasing property taxes and an unbalanced budget, according to his questionnaire. He advocates for a comprehensive review of departmental capital and operational expenses.

“To balance the budget we, as a community, have two choices; increase revenue or decrease expenses,” Moone wrote. “1. Increasing revenue results in higher property taxes for all citizens of Norway or attracting more business development for a stronger commercial tax base. 2. Decreasing expenses requires a thorough review of anticipated capital expenditures, departmental budgets and town of Norway debt services.”

Before Moone would add money to budget, if allowed, he’d rather take more time crafting the spending plan.

“We need to first fully understand our revenue and expenses, balance the budget and seek ways to be more economically efficient,” he said. “Once we achieve that, then we can responsibly look at where additional spending is needed and explore ways to fund it.”

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