WINSLOW — Longtime Town Councilor member Ray Caron is being challenged by former Winslow school board member Nancy Aldrich for a three-year term representing District 4 on the Town Council.

Both candidates say keeping property taxes low is a priority for the council in the next three years. District 4 covers a largely residential area of Winslow north of the town’s densely populated core.

Aldrich, 71, is the former owner of a telecommunications consulting firm in Boston. She moved to Winslow seven years ago and bought a house on Victor Terrace to be closer to her sister, who lives in town.

“I think my business experience would be an advantage to them,” Aldrich said. “I’ve run a business, I’m aware of financial issues, management issues, how to work in a group,” she added, “I think sometimes a fresh perspective is a good thing.”

Aldrich was a member of the Winslow school board for three years, before abruptly resigning her seat in April, during a budget fight between the school board and the council. At the time, Aldrich said she felt the budget proposed by the school district was too big and the administration knew there would be cuts.

In a phone interview, Aldrich said she didn’t think her resignation from the school board would be an issue for voters.

“I don’t think anyone had any serious concerns about it,” she said. “People have been in that position. It was understandable that sometimes you feel like your time could be spent more productively somewhere else,” Aldrich added.

Other than the school board seat, Aldrich has not held elective office, but she is the secretary of the Kennebec County Republican Party Committee and said she follows politics closely.

Caron, 59, has been on the council for six years. He first thought he would not run for another term, but decided to get into the race late this summer so the seat wouldn’t go unfilled or to a write-in candidate.

“I was indecisive in the beginning,” Caron said. “I didn’t know anyone else was running until very recently,” he added.

Caron works as a quality laboratory supervisor at the Sappi paper mill in Skowhegan, where he has worked for 37 years. Before being elected to the council, Caron was a longtime member of the town’s Parks and Recreation Committee and the Fort Halifax committee, and he is now on the Solid Waste Committee.

Money will be the biggest issue facing the town in the next three years, Aldrich said. She thinks the council and town administration have done a good job keeping taxes low and being fiscally responsible, and she wants to make sure that trend continues, especially to avoid putting financial pressure on the town’s many senior residents.

“Controlling those costs is one of the things the council has been good about, and I’d like to continue that, make sound decisions and use the funds as best we can,” Aldrich said.

Caron said the council has been “fiscally responsible” and hadn’t increased taxes for the last five years, but the town’s use of reserve money to offset taxes is a concern. He was the was the only councilor to vote against this year’s budget because he preferred a tax increase over using more reserve money.

“I’m concerned about taking out of contingency and not having more money for emergencies or unforeseen projects that aren’t budgeted for,” Caron said. The council and the School Department also will have to tackle maintenance issues at Winslow Junior High School in the next three years, which could mean using reserve money for engineering reports and other services, he said. Widening Roderick Road, in District 4, so residents can walk safely on a paved shoulder, is another goal Caron has, but he hasn’t gotten funding for the improvements in the last three years, he said.

Changes to the town’s trash and recycling system are also top issues for the candidates.

Caron, who sits on the committee that will propose new rules, said the town must deal with solid waste before fees increase in three years. He is still weighing whether a pay-per-bag program like Waterville’s would work for Winslow and hasn’t formed his “final opinion,” Caron said.

Aldrich is in favor of boosting recycling in town, but she doesn’t want it to cost taxpayers extra money. She said she always recycled when she lived in Massachusetts and when she moved was surprised to find Winslow didn’t have a strong recycling program.

Although the candidates are running against each other, it doesn’t seem that either would mind if the other won the election.

“I think he does a great job” on the council, Aldrich said about Caron. “He’s been there quite a while and he knows the ins and outs.”

In fact, Aldrich decided to campaign only because she heard Caron would not seek re-election this year.

“Had I known he was going to run, I wouldn’t have,” she said.

For his part, Caron said he is happy to have an opponent.

“I’m really glad someone else is running. Anytime people come out and are part of the process and put themselves out there to be an elected official is a very positive thing,” Caron said. “I feel that if Nancy won, the town would be very well represented,” he added.

In other races on the Nov. 3 ballot, Councilor Ben Twitchell is running unopposed for re-election to his District 2 seat, and incumbents Betty Perry and Judy Ellis are running for new terms as library trustees. All terms are for three years.

Peter McGuire — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @PeteL_McGuire


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