Written by Jacquelyn Estrella: DEXTER - Vying for three seats on the seven-member Dexter Town Council, six candidates gathered Friday night for Candidates' Night, sponsored by the Abbott Memorial Library in conjunction with the Universalist Church in Dexter, where the event was held. Discussion centered around economics, and the boat launch on Lake Wassokeag and the Town's water supply. About 50 people attended the event.
Topics of discussion included more youth activities, programs for seniors, but economics and the boat launch on Lake Wassokeag topped the agenda.
David A. Clukey, David L. Giles, Peter A. Haskell and Ella L. Munday are running for two three-year terms, one will be left vacant by Councilman Rick Goodwin who has termed out and cannot run again. Councilor, and current chairman, Roger Brawn, joins the four candidates in attempting to get reelected. Anton Larson is running unopposed for the one-year term left vacant by Juanita Taylor when she resigned in September because she is leaving the area. She had served two years of her three-year term.
Larson has a long track record of volunteerism and working with youth, and is currently involved in "reviving" the Town's Totally Teen Club. Retired, Larson also has served on the Abbott Memorial Library Board and the Town's Planning Board. He is also an active volunteer for the Meals For Me program. Regarding economics, Larson said, "Ten percent needs to be cut from every department. We need to be more specific; not have across-the-board cuts." Larson also feels the boat launch should be built on the "big lake" (Wassokeag).
Candidates Giles, Haskell and Brawn, shared Larson's feeling that a boat launch should be built - "somewhere on the lake."
All candidates expressed concern about the economy and the Town's budget particularly. Candidates offered some suggestions savings.
"We have to be careful of budgeting - keeping employees and staff in line with budgets, and looking for places to cut dollars," said Brawn, a 71-year-old real estate broker and owner of Roger S. Brawn Real Estate in Dexter for 15 years.
Haskell, who is retired from the Bangor Daily News after 29 years, said, "No more money out of the citizens' pockets, especially older ones." Regarding economic development he said, "It's tough. We need to fill the stores on Main Street and not focus on a big number of jobs."
Munday, who serves the community on the Appeals Board, Recreation and the library board, also works on the subcommittee for reconsolidating the school districts. She said she had "some budgeting experience." "I've raised four children," Munday said. "I know how to budget. We need a line-item budget," she added.
Brawn pointed out the Town has control over "no more than one-third or 32 percent of the budget. The rest is already spent in taxes and the school district (SAD 46), he said.
Giles, an instructor at the Tri-County Technical Institute at Dexter High School, admitted he's "younger and less experienced" but he said, "I have more energy and vision. I'll have a lot to learn, and I'm willing to do the work." Regarding economic development, Giles said he'd like to see a campground open in Dexter. "We have to highlight our resources - like the Lake."
Giles would like to continue to explore live feeds via computer for various town meetings to include seniors and others who can't come to meetings; he'd also like to see a program teaching seniors how to avoid scams online, on the telephone and by mail.
"We need to find areas to save dollars, not start new projects," Brawn interjected.
Candidates' Night was available for Internet viewing at the dextermaine.org website via a live video stream made possible by
a joint effort between Giles and Judy Craig, the site's Webmaster.
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