CHINA — China will see three familiar faces back on its Board of Selectmen. In a close race, incumbents Jeff LaVerdiere and Donna Mills-Stevens and one-term former Selectman Ron Breton defeated Wayne Chadwick. LaVerdiere received 1,142 votes, Mills-Stevens received 960, Breton received 966 and Chadwick received 945.

The winners were elected to three-year terms expiring in 2021.

“I’m looking forward to another two years,” Mills-Stevens said. “I’m ready to get to work on Tuesday.”

The town’s bi-weekly selectmen’s meetings, usually held on Mondays, will take place on Tuesday next week, because Veterans Day falls on Monday.

LaVerdiere, 57, is a small-business owner. Mills-Stevens, 50, owns a dairy farm and works as a regional vice president for Skowhegan Savings Bank. Breton, 68, is retired but once worked as an inventory management specialist supervisor for the Department of Veterans Affairs. Chadwick, 52, runs his own construction company.

Voters at the polls on Tuesday noted that picking three of the four candidates was challenging.


“I feel like we’ve had the same people for a long time, and I know we’ve had some of these people on the ballot the last two years, but it’s still refreshing to see some fairly new names,” China resident Jason Grotton said. “There are things I like about all the candidates, so it was difficult to choose only three.”

Many voters did not want to discuss whom they chose to support for the selectmen’s race.

“I’m just in favor of getting things done, people being reasonable and getting things done,” China voter Shari Mather said.

Residents spoke more passionately about the five referenda that they voted on.

The town’s Question 1 asked voters whether they supported repealing the Quorum Requirement Ordinance. The rule currently states that at least 4 percent of China’s registered voters must be present at Town Meeting in order for the meeting to begin. The proposal was rejected, 1,241-505.

Mather said she thought that eliminating the minimum attendance requirement for town meetings would reward political disengagement wrongly.


“I think the quorum is good,” she said. “I think we need to get people more involved so that we get our quorum. Let’s not accommodate people not getting involved; let’s get people more interested in getting involved in our town and our community.”

Grotton noted that while he understands opposition to repealing the ordinance, he ultimately supported the effort.

“I was very excited to see the quorum amendment on the ballot,” he said. “I see both sides of the issue, but ultimately I’ve seen what a headache it can be for the town to have to put (a Town Meeting) together and then not get enough people and then have to set up and take down and do the same thing again a week later. My personal feeling is: If you’re not comfortable with only a handful of people making decisions, then show up.”

Grotton is the son of one of China’s deputy town clerks, Kelly Grotton.

Mills-Stevens said she was pleased with the outcome of the vote.

“Either way, it really was up to the people on what they wanted,” she said. “Either way has worked well in the past. We were just trying to find a new idea (for Town Meetings). I’m happy with the way it came out, and I would have been happy if it went the other way too.”


Voters handily approved the town spending $5,000 of TIF funding to have a developer conceptualize an emergency services complex and a community center on vacant town-owned property. The vote came to 1,240 in favor to 657 opposed.

On Tuesday evening, several voters supported allocating funds to explore the idea further.

“I moved here from Portland, and the town is so great, but there really is a need for more dependable services. And the idea of some place where there’d be some sort of community center — even if it was a room — was really exciting to me, just to meet other China residents, that sort of thing,” said a South China resident named Margie.

Michelle Sepulvado agreed.

“I thought it was a good idea. It’s needed,” Sepulvado said.

The property is located at 571 Lakeview Drive and is 39.11 acres.


There were three other ballot questions in this year’s municipal election.

Question 2 — which passed 1,003-804 — gauged the town’s interest in sending a resolution to the state Legislature suggesting that it amend state law to allow municipalities to choose not to collect business personal property taxes.

In Question 4, residents chose to allow the Board of Selectmen to use profits from foreclosed property sales to cover expenses incurred from expanding the hours of two transfer station employees. The vote was 1,173-743.

Residents opted not to authorize the board to spend up to $100,000 a year of TIF funds on projects approved by the TIF committee but not specifically approved by citizens at the Town Meeting. That measure, Question 5, was rejected in a 1,102-788 vote.

“Again, I’m happy either way with how it turned out,” Mills-Stevens said, regarding the Question 5 results. “It’s what our people want. It was something that was brought up by citizens asking us to put that on the ballot. We’re just following their lead.”

Six races in China were uncontested. Toni Wall will represent District 2 on the town’s Planning Board. Thomas Miragliuolo will represent District 4 on the Planning Board. Thomas Rumpf and Timothy Basham will sit on the Budget Committee, representing districts 2 and 4, respectively. Neil Farrington was voted the director to Regional School Unit 18. Jean Conway will renew her term as the Budget Committee secretary.


Write-in results for at-large positions on the Planning Board and the Budget Committee — races no candidate entered — have yet to be reported.

Polling took place on Tuesday at the portable building near the Town Office.

Meg Robbins — 861-9239

[email protected]


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