FAIRFIELD — An incumbent faces a challenger is the only contested race for a Town Council seat, while two candidates are seeking two seats on the School Board on Nov. 7.

Incumbent Councilor Jeffrey Neubauer is seeking his first full-term seat on the council. He was appointed to the council last winter because former council Chairman Robert Sezak resigned after he was elected a Somerset County commissioner.

Neubauer, a site manager at Matheson Gas, an industrial gases and welding supplier in Bangor, had run unsuccessfully for a council seat last year. He is on the town’s Economic and Community Development Advisory Committee and was previously a member of the School Administrative District 49 board of directors.

Neubauer, who was available only via email Wednesday, said he is running again because he enjoys the work involved with the council. The 43-year-old has lived in Fairfield for 20 years. During his year on the council, he said, he was proud of the council’s work in developing a “fair budget that addressed concerns about raising taxes as well as balancing needs in the town.”

Going forward, he said, he’d like to see the council work on waterfront access, and one challenge facing the town is “using the appropriate approach while bringing new business to town.”

Neubauer’s challenger, Courtney Chandler, is a transplant from Connecticut. The 22-year-old, who has lived in Fairfield for about two years, said she always wanted to move to Maine after visiting the state frequently. She said she has been interested in politics ever since she was young, and became interested in running for the council after she moved to Fairfield and noticed how much poverty there was in the town, which she found upsetting.

Chandler also cited businesses either choosing to leave town or not come at all, as well as poor road conditions, as reasons she wanted to run. She said she was approached by friends at this year’s Town Meeting about running, and when she found out a seat was open, she decided to run.

Chandler said she has been trying to come up with a way for more people to get access to the free lunch and breakfast program hosted at the junior high school in the summer. During the summer, schools in the district provide free breakfast and lunch to anyone who is 18 years old or younger. However, she said many children don’t have a way to get to the school in the summer. She said she wasn’t sure if that should be something the town itself or the school provided, but she wanted to find a way to provide the service.

Chandler also said taxes were an issue, and she wants to ensure the town is spending its money appropriately. She said she’d like to find a middle ground where people are not struggling to pay their bills, but the town is also putting itself in a position to succeed.

Chandler, who works at J.C. Penney in Waterville, said she’d like to see a way to ensure businesses want to come and stay in Fairfield, although she’s not sure how to address that exactly. She said businesses are “cropping up” in Waterville and Winslow, but Fairfield isn’t able to attract them. She cited the Dancing Elephant Indian restaurant closing as another example of the town not being able to retain business. She said she wants to see Fairfield become a destination that people want to go to and not just pass through on their way to another area.

“Seeing the condition of our town, I want to do everything I can to make it as prosperous and beautiful as I can,” Chandler said.

Also, two people are running for two seats on the School Administrative District 49 board of directors.

Incumbent Chairwoman Shelley Rudnicki is seeking a fourth term. Rudnicki, 51, is the owner of Shelley’s Used Cars in Fairfield Center. She has been on the board for nine years and has lived in the town for 29 years.

Rudnicki said she is proud of a number of accomplishments, including getting the board’s meetings televised on CATV, bringing weighted grading to the high school and implementing “a fact sheet at budget time to give the public straightforward information at budget time.”

“I decided to run again because I feel I can still make an impact on the direction of the school district for the future,” she said in an email.

Rudnicki said the biggest challenge facing any school board will be the budget, but she also said a potential new school building in the district could present a challenge.

“In coming years we are also hoping to qualify for a new state-funded elementary school, and that will bring challenges all its own,” she said.

Also running for a seat is Danielle Boutin, who served one term on the board three years ago. Boutin, 35, said she stepped away from the board while her husband was in school, and now she wants to return because she enjoyed her time on the board. Boutin is running for a seat that previously was held by Sherry Thompkins, who did not run again.

Boutin said she is a “concerned mom” who is running to make sure her two children can get the best possible education in the district. She said she was born and raised in Fairfield and works for a few organizations, including Literacy Volunteers in Waterville and Friends of Messalonskee. She said she enjoyed working with previous board members when she was on the board and learned a lot about the district. She said some challenges facing the district going forward include the possibility of building a new school. Earlier this year, the district submitted applications to the state to replace the elementary schools in Albion, Clinton and Fairfield.

The Town Council terms are for three years. The school board terms are for about 2.5 years, which Town Manager Michelle Flewelling said was a transition outlined in the new charter, which will move school board elections to June instead of November.

Election Day is Nov. 7. The town’s polling station is at the community center, at 61 Water St. Polls will be open from 7:30 a.m. until 8 p.m. Absentee ballots will be accepted until Thursday, Nov. 2.

Colin Ellis — 861-9253

[email protected]

Twitter: @colinoellis

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