READFIELD — Four candidates are running for two three-year terms on the Board of Selectmen.

Incumbent selectmen Peter Davis and P. Greg Durgin and challengers Anita Buss and Sue Reay — along with lone school board candidate David Greenham — will speak and answer questions at a candidates’ night on Thursday.

The forum is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Gile Hall and will be televised. Members of the public may submit questions for the candidates to [email protected]

Buss, a Navy veteran who is on disability, has run unsuccessfully for the select board three previous times. She said the town needs more long-term planning and to follow through on it.

Buss also wants the selectmen to work more closely with the Readfield’s various committees and promote the work those volunteers do for the town, such as for trails and the library.

Davis, a veterinarian who owns Pine Tree Animal Hospital in Augusta, was elected last year to fill a vacant seat on the board. He had been on the town budget committee and said his primary interest in running for selectman was making sure taxpayer money is spent properly.

He said the selectmen are doing well in that regard.

“Our municipal budget went down this year,” he said. “Unfortunately, taxes will probably go up because of the school budget.”

Davis said he doesn’t have a hidden agenda and will make fair and objective decisions based on what the majority of people in Readfield want.

Durgin, a former English teacher now working as an education technician at Maranacook Community High School, said he has learned a lot about town government in his first three-year term and has enjoyed working on projects such as emergency planning and a new ball fields complex.

Durgin said that as a selectman, he tries to listen to residents, do their will and avoid taking sides.

Reay is a first-time candidate who frequently attends select board meetings. With a professional background in accounting, she owns and operates Reay Excavation and Trucking with her husband.

“I think I can bring my common sense and life experiences as far as being able to run a business,” Reay said. “I think that will help me with the budget part of working for the residents of Readfield.”

Reay said she wants to keep residents’ taxes as low as possible.

A discussion is emerging about whether Readfield needs a town charter. Davis, Durgin and Reay said they need more information about a charter’s purpose and what would be in it before forming an opinion.

Buss, however, said she is in favor of a charter that establishes clear procedures for residents to have their concerns addressed by the town government, other than organizing a petition to send an issue to a referendum.

Readfield residents took two such votes last year relating to the dissolution of the Public Works Department, which stirred division and hostility.

“If you have no charter, the only way that a resident or residents can do something is what happened with the public works, which got very mean and nasty,” Buss said.

Buss said the select board needs to improve its transparency and communication with residents to help the community heal.

Reay also said she’s committed to reuniting the town after the public works debate, in which she was an active participant. She said promoting citizen engagement in town government and distributing more information to the public would help.

“We need to produce more information to the residents as to what is taking place, what we’re proposing to do, and how we plan on funding it,” Reay said.

Durgin said it’s important for Readfield to move forward and also favors greater transparency and listening to residents.

“I think I’ve been a good listener, but I can probably improve on that,” he said.

Davis said the selectmen have moved past the public works issue, tackling several other matters such as the sidewalk that’s being built along Route 17, a proposed addition to the fire station and the question of whether Readfield should have a fireworks ordinance.

“It’s our job as a select board to carry forward, and we’ve done that,” Davis said. “There’s still a lot of feelings out there, but that will take time for those feelings to go away.”

Susan McMillan — 621-5645

[email protected]

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