There are two contests on the ballot for town offices this year in Rome, and one former selectman has mounted a write-in campaign to try to return to the board.
The elections, 1-7 p.m. Friday at the Town Office/Community Center on Mercer Road, kick off the Town Meeting in this rural community, which became famous last year as the dwelling site of Christopher Knight, the North Pond Hermit.
The business portion of the Town Meeting begins at 10 a.m. Saturday at the same location.
For road commissioner, incumbent Larry DiPietro Jr. is being challenged by Albert Knight (no relation to Christopher Knight).
DiPietro has been road commissioner for the past five years. His father also was road commissioner for a number of years.
“I think I can do a better job and save the town some money,” said Knight, a Rome native who is now retired. “I used to building cellphone towers and roads to get to them plus lawn work on properties.”
DiPietro could not be reached for comment.
For tax collector and treasurer, incumbent Shannon Holt is being challenged by Tammy Lyons.
Holt is completing her fourth term.
“I enjoy the work and it’s very interesting, and it’s nice seeing different townspeople also,” she said.
It’s the first time she’s had an opponent. She won office originally in a three-way contest to fill a vacancy when the tax collector and treasurer retired. Holt is the accounting administrator at Allen’s Transfer & Storage in Augusta and has been doing accounting and bookkeeping for 30 years.
Lyons is a bus driver for Regional School Unit 18, Messalonskee and China schools, and intends to keep that job if she is elected.
“Both are part-time jobs, and I think they would work great together,” Lyons said.
She is completing her schooling in business administration and accounting, and previously worked for 15 years for the state Bureau of Motor Vehicles. She left that job to raise her children and finish her education.
Pamela Knight, who is the wife of Albert Knight, is seeking the third selectman’s seat, which is being vacated by Paul Anderson.
“My opinion is if you’re not willing to do something, you can’t complain about what’s being done,” Pamela Knight said. “You need to be involved. You need to know what’s going on.”
Knight is a bus driver for Regional School Unit 18.
Malcolm Charles has mounted a write-in campaign for the same seat. He previously served six years as second selectman, ending his tenure in 2008.
“Now I’ve decided I would like to get back into it,” Charles said. He had taken out a nominating petition to run this year.
“For some reason, I had the 25th as a date to turn in the petitions, and it was actually the 21st,” he said. “What is infuriating is I had all the signatures that I needed by the 21st.”
Those who opt for a write-in candidate must check a box as well as write in the name of the individual.
At the Town Meeting, residents will gather under a new steel pitched roof at the former school building. The roof cost the town about $100,000. This year some $10,000 is being proposed for building improvements.
On the municipal side, the big ticket item on the Town Warrant is a new pump truck for the Fire Department. The town has saved $140,000 for it so far and the Board of Selectmen and the Budget Committee recommend raising another $120,000 to buy the truck, plus putting an additional $20,000 toward the purchase of a utility backup rescue truck.
The town’s share of Regional School Unit 18 is almost $1.37 million.
Most items carry the unanimous recommendation of the Budget Committee.
First Selectman Kelly Archer said more than 75 people attended last year’s Town Meeting.
The current tax rate — which includes the school funding — is $7.20 cents for each $1,000 worth of value, and Archer said that would rise if everything on the warrant is adopted as proposed. The tax rate in Rome has decreased over the past few years.
If the budget is adopted as proposed it would increase slightly, Archer said.