Two candidates are running to replace Darlene Sanborn, a Monmouth selectwoman who is stepping down from her post at the end of this month.

On June 13, residents will vote for their choice of the two candidates, Harold W. Jones III and Donna M. Seppy.

On that day, voters will also consider a 2 percent increase in town spending and a controversial rule change that would allow residents to own more than five pet dogs, among other proposals.

Monmouth does not hold an open Town Meeting, and on June 13, residents will also cast ballots for several measures.

One of the more controversial will be a proposed repeal of a rule that was adopted 10 years ago — as part of a larger animal control ordinance — that limits residents to keeping no more than five grown dogs as pets, said Town Manager Curtis Lunt.

At a recent public hearing, “that got a lot of debate,” Lunt said. “Some people think it should be limited, some people don’t.”


Current town officials were not aware of that rule until police discovered that a local man was violating it, and in March, the Select Board voted 3-2 to ask voters if they want to repeal it.

Two selectmen, Douglas Ludewig and Schiller, opposed rolling back the limit on the grounds that they’ve received no complaints about it in the past and that it could still prove useful in the future. But other selectmen have said that it’s an unnecessary regulation, given that police will be able to enforce other rules pertaining to nuisance animals.


Two years remain on the seat now held by Sanborn. In March, she told the Kennebec Journal that she was stepping down because she works in Portland and has too many obligations to serve on the five-person board.

Jones, 62, manages trucking fleets for a Lewiston-based bottling company, Boston Brands of Maine, and has served two terms on the Select Board. He ran for a third term in 2015, but lost to current Selectwoman Sandra Schiller in a two-way race.

In his 26 years managing transportation and logistics, Jones has overseen operating budgets that sometimes exceeded $10 million, and he thinks that experience qualifies him to make smart financial decisions for the town.


“I still have something I can contribute, based on my experience in the town government and in the private sector,” he said. “It’s important to control property taxes, and I think the Select Board gives its best effort to do that. I have in the past been able to assist in helping to maintain equipment needs for the town and find creative ways to do that with the least impact to the budget.”

Jones, a lifelong Monmouth resident, used to work as a truck driver before becoming a manager. He and his wife have two grown daughters.

Seppy, 50, works as an administrator for the University of Maine System. She will soon become the system’s director of special projects and initiatives, and has also worked in the mental health field as a guidance counselor. She’s now completing a Ph.D. program in education.

Seppy grew up in a military family and has moved around for her work, but went to high school in Maine and used to work in Orono before relocating to the Augusta area. “I consider Maine my home,” she said.

After moving to Monmouth with her husband and school-aged sons two years ago, she has followed what’s been happening in the town and hopes to contribute to its economic development in a collaborative way, she said. One of her concerns is making sure there are adequate crosswalks in town, so that children can safely walk to and from school.

“I have strong communication and facilitation skills, and everybody needs an opportunity to share their knowledge without feeling their opinions are getting shot down,” she said. “Monmouth is town with a lot of potential. It has lakes and people coming in, and a lot of farms, and I expect with the new (middle) school coming into town, new residents will come. It’s growing.”



Voters will also be asked to approve next year’s budget on June 13.

The town has proposed a 2017-2018 spending plan of $3.22 million, which is up 2 percent from the $3.16 million voters raised this year. The town has spent about $2.2 million, or 69 percent, of that amount this year.

Among the spending proposals for next year is a 58 percent increase in the capital improvements budget. That increase would help pay for a new police car, an expansion to the police department’s garage, new public works equipment, parking at the town beach and repairs to Cumston Hall.

Two other items that residents will be asked to authorize are an expansion of the Cochnewagon Pond boat ramp and the addition of an electronic sign outside the town office.

Last year, voters rejected the sign replacement, which would have increased the budget, Lunt said. But this year, the town is proposing to pay for it with surplus funds that have already been raised.


Voters will also be asked to raise an additional $25,000 to contribute to an expansion of the boat launch on Cochnewagon Pond. The state plans to match that amount to pay for the $50,000-project, Lunt said, and the project would also make the ramp handicap accessible.

The proposed budget would increase the town’s tax rate from $1,655 per $100,000 in property to $1,675 per $100,000, Lunt projected. That projection doesn’t include taxes required by the county and Regional School Unit 2.

The town expects to receive about $4,000 more in revenue from excise taxes next year, and some residents could get relief through the state’s homestead tax exemption, Lunt said. The town’s properties will be re-assessed this summer, which will also affect some residents’ tax bills, Lunt said.

Besides the race for Sanborn’s seat on the Select Board, candidates are running unopposed for several other positions on June 13. Ludewig, chairman of the Select Board, and Selectwoman Diana Boisvert are both running for re-election to three-year terms.

James Grandahl is running for a three-year term on the Regional School Unit 2 board of directors. Candidates are also running for seats on the sanitary district and the boards of Cumston Hall and Cumston Library.

Charles Eichacker — 621-5642

Twitter: @ceichacker

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