OAKLAND — Two Oakland Town Council veterans are seeking one open seat in the Nov. 8 election.

Ralph Farnham Jr., who was on the council more than 30 years before placing third last fall in a four-way race for two spots, faces incumbent Mark Fisher, who has served on the board the last nine years.

Farnham, 74, said if returned to the council after a one-year absence he’d make sure every dollar would be spent wisely.

“I’d love to see the tax rate kept as low as possible,” Farnham said, “but I’m not so naive as to say ‘cut, cut, cut.’ That just destroys what you’ve already accomplished.”

The 1956 graduate of Williams High School in Oakland said he considers what is necessary to maintain a good working community. “You can cut maintenance of the roads, but you end up spending two or three times as much later if you don’t take care of things when you need to.”

Before making decisions, the retired repairman and manager from National Cash Register said he listens to and heeds opinions of residents.

If a natural gas pipeline runs through the community, Farnham said, when it’s time to replace public works vehicles, they should be switched to trucks that use natural gas. “I think it would be a good savings,” he said.

In October, House Speaker Robert Nutting presented a Spirit of America Foundation award to Farnham for his service to community.

“I’m not one to toot my own horn,” Farnham said, adding he has a lot to offer the townspeople of Oakland.

Fisher, 41, also enjoys serving others and has received the President’s Call To Service Award and the gold Presidential Volunteer Service Award for 500 or more hours of service.

The self-described fiscal conservative said that if he’s re-elected, one of his top priorities would be to maintain the property tax rate.

Fisher said he’d also push for Oakland to be more involved with organizations, including the Central Maine Growth Council, the Small Business Administration, the Kennebec Valley Entrepreneurial Network and Colby College’s Entrepreneurial Alliance, to promote local job creation.

In the past decade, the foster parent to eight special-needs children and a host father to 12 exchange students from the former Soviet Union said he would pursue grants to construct a police, fire and municipal facility. He said his goal would be to have it built without increasing residents’ property taxes.

“Like a family, I believe that government works best when government works together,” he said.

Polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Election Day, next Tuesday, at Williams Elementary School.

Beth Staples — 861-9252

[email protected]

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