DEXTER — Finding a reliable industry to fill the economic void that will be left with the closure of Dexter Shoe Co. is a top priority of the four candidates vying for the three Dexter Town Council positions.
Municipal elections will be conducted during the general election on Nov. 6.
In addition, because school costs require more from property taxes each year, each of the candidates believe that school officials should search and investigate all options, including consolidation at somelevel.
Incumbent Roger Brawn, who has served on the Town Council for about 23 years, said he has collected a wealth of information over the years and has the experience to help lead the town through the difficult times ahead with the closing of Dexter Shoe.
Brawn, who owns Brawn Real Estate, believes the next few years will be challenging, years that the town will be forced to find solutions to create employment and fill the void on the tax roll left by the shoe company.
“I’m willing to put in whatever time is necessary to get the job done,” Brawn said.
Incumbent Fred Banks, a local tree farmer, said the council needs to work diligently to fill the buildings that will be vacated by Dexter Shoe. The town should keep the tax rate down to entice industry and needs to quickly find new jobs for those affected by the shoe company’s closing, he said.
His background as an air traffic controller and in management will be an asset to the council, Banks believes. “I have experience in management and with working with people,” Banks said. Of the 31 years he worked as an air traffic controller, 15 were in public relations and management, he said.
Allen Ross, a retired educator who serves as a family mediator for the court system, believes it is time for a change on the Town Council.
“I’m afraid there’s going to be major problems with budgets in the future [because of Dexter Shoe Co. closing],” he said. He fears the town will see a big drop in taxes when the industry leaves town. His experience working with budgets and his long-time residence in the community will be advantageous to the council and town, he said.
“I think I have a finger on the pulse of the community and what the problems are and what the people feel,” Ross said.
Sharon Mountain, a secretary in the Dexter Regional High School guidance department, said she had been thinking for years of running for a seat on the council. After the loss of Dexter Shoe, her concerns include the need to fill the empty storefronts that exist in the village.
The former head teller at Skowhegan Savings Bank said she is well-known in the community and is known to fulfill her tasks.
“I’m willing to listen if residents have problems or concerns and I can bring them to the council for review,” Mountain said
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