MEXICO — Three people are seeking election to the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday.

Incumbent Reggie Arsenault is seeking his sixth term, while former Selectman Peter Merrill and newcomer Caroline Mitchell also are running for seats. All terms are three years.

Selectman Byron Ouellette is not seeking re-election.

Arsenault is chairman of the Planning Board, vice president of the Med-Care Ambulance Board, vice chairman of the Northern Oxford Regional Solid Waste board, and president of the Post-Polio Support Group of Maine.

Mitchell has served on the town Budget Committee the past two years. She has been president of the Mexico Historical Society, treasurer of the Mexico Bicentennial Committee, an administrative assistant and computer skills instructor. Additionally, she has served as an enrichment teacher, a college and career adviser at Vocational Region 9 Adult Education, a Mexico Free Public Library Advisory board member and volunteer, and was Mexico’s 2017 Volunteer of the Year.

Why are you running for selectman?

Merrill: He said he decided to run after numerous calls from people asking him to do so. “We’ve got to keep spending in check. There’s a lot of people of fixed incomes. Very shortly, I’m going to be one of those people!”

Mitchell: “I see a need for change in our elected officials. The other persons running for this position have been selectmen for combined decades of serving, and have an entrenched resistance to change. There is great need for change in our elected officials as our population is changing. We need a modern, forward-thinking voice on our Board of Selectmen. I believe I am the voice for those who are not represented by our current select board.”

Arsenault: “As always, trying to do my best for the town. Represent the citizens and try to keep the vital services of the town at the best cost we can do.”

Why should the voters choose you to represent them?
Mitchell: “I am a hard worker and determined to help our town in positive, pro-active ways. I have experience in a wide variety of areas, will work hard to help all of our neighbors, and run our town in an efficient, unbiased way.”

Arsenault: “I think over the years I’ve used common sense in making decisions on what we’re voting on, and also not only looking at what we’re doing now, but what affect it’s going to have years down the road. I try to do my best to represent the taxpayers.”

Merrill: “I’ve done this in the past and I think my experience and my voting pretty much speaks for itself. The town can’t let its buildings get in disrepair and not fix them properly. For example, the highway garage. The first time it was looked at, it was a $5,600 fix. But it ended up being a $72,000 fix because we waited and waited. Let’s fixed it when it’s inexpensive and not expensive. The infrastructure has to fixed, regardless.”

What is the most important issue in your town?
Arsenault: “Taxes. Hopefully, we’ll get some relief from the school budget that I hear is coming in a few hundred thousand dollars lower than last year. And I know Maine Municipal Association and the Legislature are trying to get revenue-sharing back up to where it will be more beneficial to small towns like Mexico that have little tax base.”

Merrill: “I think just keeping people in their homes. A lot of them are retired and on a fixed income. Not putting people out of their home for unnecessary spending.”

Mitchell: “Economic development. We need to attract new people and businesses to replace the older, retiring generation who comprise a good portion of our population. I hear from people who say that this town is dying, and yet nothing changes in our elected representatives. We keep electing the same people expecting different results.”

 What issue do you think deserves more attention?
Merrill: “We have to look at doing more for the in-town businesses and keeping them here because they contribute a lot to the tax base. We need to get on board with Rumford. They’re getting a new hotel and there’s going to be a large influx of money into the mill. I see the possibility of keeping things in our town and adding to it.”

Mitchell: “Mexico needs people to move here and open business that serve our population, as well as drive tourism to the area. To drive this tourism and new residents, we need to have the infrastructure to support them. Our library should have extended hours to serve all of our populations. We need recreation activities for all citizens. We need more reliable public transportation. Internet access should reach all residents. Our roads should be maintained. By adding residents and businesses, we add to our tax rolls, which lowers the burden for all.”

Arsenault: “Trying to attract new businesses, not only to Mexico but to the whole River Valley that will be beneficial to everybody.”

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