Lee Ann Dalessandro and Randy Richards

JAY — Two people are candidates for a one-year selectperson’s term at the April 27 annual Town Meeting.

The polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the gym at Spruce Mountain Mountain Middle School.

Lee Ann Dalessandro and Randy Richards are vying for the seat vacated by Judy Diaz last year. She is 62, lives on Belleview Drive and retired in 2018 from banking where she specialized in property financing. He is 62, lives on Bean Road and retired in 2020 as a papermaker.

 

The two answered questions related to town government, including the 2020 rupture of the digester at the Androscoggin Mill and anticipated valuation changes and what it will mean to the town.

“It’s hard to know what the immediate impact of the loss will be until a full assessment is completed,” Dalessandro wrote. “However the town can be proactive in looking at both state and federal programs. Whether from the state’s ‘severe & sudden impact’ (valuation) assistance or from federal programs, we should investigate any means to support the mill and avoid a hit to the town’s budget.”

Losing the ability to make pulp also led to shutting down the wood rooms and the No. 3 paper machine causing a large loss in valuation, Richards wrote.

“Unlike the federal government, the state and local government have to run a balanced budget. So if people want to keep the same level of services the lost revenue has to be made up by other sources,” he wrote. “In the state of Maine the majority of a town’s funding comes from property taxes. As a selectperson I believe we should do all we can to a save money for taxpayers while providing essential services. Selectpersons need to provide good information and choices on a budget and in a democratic government the voters will decide what they want.”

Asked about possible changes to offset the loss of tax dollars, Richards wrote that with recent shutdowns of different parts of the mill over the last several years, town government has already cut back in some areas.

“We need to save in all areas that we can while still keeping essential services. With the passage of the COVID-relief bill there was money in it for state and local government and education funding. The town of Jay and the school system should apply for funding from that bill,” he wrote.

Dalessandro said, “I wouldn’t speculate at this time, but feel it’s important that anything considered must best align and meet the needs of all Jay taxpayers whether its business or residential.”

The candidates also gave reasons for running for office and what skills they have that they believe would benefit the town.

“After the mill explosion I wanted to help in someway,” Dalessandro wrote. “I first volunteered to help count ballots last year to relieve the volunteers who were unable to participate because of the pandemic and that escalated with volunteering on the Budget Committee.

“I’ve attended the Select Board’s meetings since January to see if there were other areas where I could be actively involved,” she wrote. “I retired in 2018 from 40 years in the banking industry, most recently focused in real estate financing. I bring financial, budgetary and property knowledge from my experience to the position, but more personally, I want to be helping within my community. This position would allow me to continue to be directly involved in a variety of areas if elected.”

Richards said he grew up in Jay, was educated in the Jay schools, worked in Jay for many years at the Androscoggin Mill and wants to serve the town again.

“Generations of my family have lived in this town for a long time, with four generations of my direct family currently residing in Jay,” he wrote. “I have run a small business, worked in building construction,  and retired from Androscoggin Mill on Aug. 1, 2020. I also served as a selectperson for Jay during the strike in 1987, which was another tough time in town history, the town recovered from that and we will recover again.”


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