China News: Seven vie for three selectmen’s seats

by Mary Grow

The Town Line sent the seven candidates for the China Board of Selectmen a short questionnaire. Responses were received from six of the seven and are reprinted below, with minor editing. They appear in the order in which candidates’ names are listed on the ballot.

Joann Austin, Neil Farrington and Robert MacFarland are currently on the Board of Selectmen.

None of the other four has previously been a China selectman.

China polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8, in the former portable classroom beside the town office on Lakeview Drive.

ALBERT ALTHENN did not reply to the questionnaire. Althenn, age 71, lives on Lakeview Drive and has been a candidate for selectman annually since 2010.

JOANN AUSTIN, 77, works full-time running Austin Law Office, in South China, focusing on elder law, real estate and financial advising. She summered in China from childhood and became a permanent resident 36 years ago.

She has been a selectman for the majority of her years in China and sees great value in offering a historical perspective on issues that come before the board.

Three currently important issues, she said, are keeping as much rural ambience as possible as the town grows; creating opportunities for residents to work together and know each other (thus her support for such ideas as a town beach, a central library and perhaps someday a community center); and making it easier for aging residents to stay in their homes or home town. As a selectman, she is working with Vassalboro on possible public transportation for the two towns and studying opportunities for affordable local senior housing.

WAYNE CHADWICK, 50, lives on Dirigo Road and is self-employed as an excavation contractor. He has lived in China 31 years and wrote that he would like to be a selectman in order to “have some input on how our tax dollars are being spent.”

To Chadwick, the major issue facing the town is keeping spending under control so long-time residents can afford to pay their property taxes without being forced to sell family property.

NEIL FARRINGTON, 66, lives on Weeks Mills Road and is a personal care attendant. A China native, he served in the Navy for more than 20 years and returned to China in 1997. Living off Neck Road until his house burned and now in the south end of town where he was born, he feels that he knows “the diverse demographics” of both parts of town.

Farrington would like to continue on the selectboard to use his common sense and support the common good, especially when spending the new Tax Increment Financing (TIF) funds.

The major town priority Farrington cited is providing services, like transportation and health care, to enable older residents to stay in their homes. With younger generations moving out of Maine for better jobs, elders are left alone, and therefore, “The Town needs to help and be their family,” he wrote.

JEFFREY LAVERDIERE, 55, who lives on Fire Road 19, is another China native. He owns LaVerdiere’s General Store just north of China Village and also sells sand, gravel and loam.
He is a candidate for selectman because he believes “it is time for some new members who have experience in other areas and can share our knowledge.” If elected, he wrote, “I will always do what is in the best interest of my fellow China residents.”

To LaVerdiere, the town’s biggest problem is “the topic of spending money around the lake,” an issue on which residents have many opinions. China people “are quite sensitive when it comes to decisions that affect our lake,” he observed.

ROBERT MACFARLAND, 55, the current chairman of the board of selectmen, has been a resident of China for about 10 years and lives on Alder Park Road. He is a self-employed building contractor and does lawn and garden sales.

MacFarland said he is running for re-election because, “I feel it’s important to give back to my community in ways that I feel I can best serve them.” If re-elected, he said, he will continue to do so; if not chosen, he expressed gratitude for being allowed to serve. He also apologized for missing the March town meeting, explaining that he had been ill.

MacFarland agrees with others that providing services for the elderly is important, and also mentioned the need for local services for children, to minimize travel costs for everyone. Therefore, he said, “We need to allow a responsible business community to grow along with us.”
He added, “We also have a lake water quality issue and I have an interesting idea for that too, but it’s too long and early to discuss here.”

RAYMOND ROBERT, 43, has lived on Fire Road 34 for three years. He wrote he has “always worked in the private sector” and described himself as having “a business mindset.” He currently works as a safety professional; he explained that means he works, “to keep employees safe from workplace hazards pertaining to OSHA.”

Robert listed town spending as his major concern: he wants to ensure tax dollars are spent responsibly and thinks the town “in the past has spent excessively on projects that do not benefit all tax payers.” He wrote that any surplus money should go back to taxpayers and not be spent on needless projects.

If elected, he said, “I will do my best to eliminate wasteful spending.” He offered his Twitterfeed, @rrobert7771, for anyone with questions for him.


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