LIVERMORE FALLS — Five candidates are running for three positions on the Board of Selectmen in the June 13 elections at the Town Office.

Selectman Ron Chadwick is being challenged by Jeffrey Roy and Rodney Heikkinen for a three-year term. Heather Bronish is running unopposed for a two-year term, while Nixon Ortiz is running unopposed for a one-year term.

Four of the five candidates responded to questions, including why they are running, what the biggest issues are for the town and how to afford better roads.

Heather Bronish

Age: 47

Occupation: Unemployed millworker, laid off from Verso. Bronish recently graduated from the University of Maine at Augusta with a paralegal degree.

Why are you running for selectman?

“Somebody needs to because this is an empty seat. I wanted to be involved in the town, and this is a way to do it.”

What are the most significant issues impacting the town?

“Obviously, the mill cutting back. Adult education is a very important way of keeping people in town. I think the lack of industry and jobs and education are the big things. If you live here, you spend money here.”

What can town government do to be more transparent?

“I just think making yourself available and being honest. It’s getting people involved.”

She mentioned that at selectmen meetings, there used to be an agenda item for public comments. That has since been eliminated.

“The feeling is they were ‘gotcha’ questions,” she said. Residents would show up with questions town officials weren’t prepared to answer, and it looked as though the officials were stonewalling them.

What can be done to improve roads at a cost that’s affordable?

“I see, being on the Budget Committee, they have so much money for paving. It’s got to be coordinated with the sewer and water department. The roads are in horrible condition in some places.

“People are doing what they can to look at different grants. Unfortunately, that relies on the federal budget and they’re not releasing any money right now.”

Ron Chadwick

Age: 68

Occupation: Retired

Why are you running for selectman?

“Because I feel that with the economic problems in the area, we’ve lost financial diversification. We’ve got to realize that we no longer have that and are more of a bedroom community. We have to wrap our arms around change or it will be more of the same or a downward spiral.”

What are the most significant issues impacting the town?

“The loss of retail business. I think the cause of that is we don’t have any industry. If you don’t have any industrial growth where you live, you don’t have the income to support retail businesses.”

He also mentioned abandoned buildings. “Empty lots don’t pay taxes. I, as a selectman, don’t want to be in real estate, nor do I want to be a banker.”

What can town government do to be more transparent?

“As a board member that represents a few departments, we’ve got to go to the next level and have more transparency at the meetings, more open meetings. Taxpayers should always feel free to bring concerns to selectmen.”

What can be done to improve roads at a cost that’s affordable?

“I think there’s got to be a percentage of the budget set aside for roads. To stretch that dollar, we’ve got to work with the water and sewer departments. We’ve got to look at every new thought and new product available to help us maintain the roads better when we do rebuild them.”

Nixon Ortiz

Age: 47

Occupation: Maintenance specialist, taking care of building complexes throughout Maine; vice president of the Area Youth Sports board of directors; Livermore Falls Fire Department volunteer.

Why are you running for selectman?

“I don’t want to see my town go downhill. I want to see businesses come to down and let residents know what they are voting for when it comes time to vote.”

What do you see as the most significant issues impacting the town?

He cited renovating the fire station. “Let’s get moving on it,” he said.

He also cited attracting new businesses, particularly with Family Dollar leaving Central Plaza.

“There are a lot of people that can’t go anywhere else,” he said. “If we work together, not just selectmen, but the whole town, we’ll get it done.”

He also mentioned having recreational opportunities for children.

What can town government do to be more transparent?

“Selectmen, if it’s a meeting, when the meeting is over, it’s done,” he said.

He said Maine’s Freedom of Access Act stipulates that town boards and committees cannot meet as a quorum outside of regularly scheduled meetings.

“We have to put our foot down. That’s not right,” he said. “It doesn’t give a chance to the other board members to do what they want to do to help the town.”

What can be done to improve roads at a cost that’s affordable?

“They just repaved Main Street. They’re still working on it, but when you don’t have the budget, you have to get grants to fix them.”

Jeffrey Roy

Age: 25

Occupation: Publisher, Phantom Publications.

Why are you running for selectman?

“I want to make a change in the community and I want to build a better community. From what I’ve heard over the last year, the selectmen are OK with us falling into a sleepy little bedroom community. That’s not going to help our economy. That’s not going to help taxes.”

What do you see as the most significant issues impacting Livermore Falls?

Roy said that many people he has spoken to are concerned about the town’s appearance and unoccupied buildings. Budget shortfalls are leading to cuts in town programs.

“And I also see a loss of culture,” he said. “There’s not really a lot of heart around town.”

What can town government do to be more transparent?

Roy said that one way is for the selectmen to avoid meeting as a quorum outside of regularly scheduled meetings.

“More transparency in where the money is going, how it is spent,” he said.

What can be done to improve Livermore Falls roads at a cost that’s still affordable for residents?

“We should definitely be looking into more renewable material, materials that are cheaper. A lot of our water and sewer lines run under roads, so whenever we replace a line, we have to tear up the road.”

Also, Roy advocated charging a service fee on customers’ water and sewer bills. He explained that the people living in town using town water and sewer would pay an additional amount if work was being done on their road, allowing more money for work on other roads in town.

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LF selectmen’s race1
Heather Bronish

LF selectmen’s race2
Ron Chadwick

LF selectmen’s race3
Nixon Ortiz

LF selectmen’s race4
Jeffrey Roy


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