TREMONT — Three candidates are running for two seats on the board of selectmen at the May 11 annual town elections. Polls are open at the town office from 1-8 p.m.
Incumbent Chris Eaton, Kevin Buck and Steve Harper are on the ballot. Eaton and Buck attended a candidate’s forum last week hosted by the Southwest Harbor-Tremont Chamber of Commerce to discuss their positions. Harper did not attend.
Eaton, who has been selectman since 2006 and a former chairman, said he decided to run for another term to maintain stability on the board.
“I feel, in the situation we’re in now, I need to stay here,” he said. “I don’t have any hidden agendas. I try to respond to the residents.”
Buck said he is running to bring a different perspective to the board.
“I think a little diversity would help,” Buck said. “The board needs to be more responsive to the residents.”
Buck is chairman of the zoning ordinance advisory committee and a member of the warrant committee. This is his first attempt at running for elected office.
Moderator Susi Homer noted the turnover among town employees. In the past two years, two harbormasters have come and gone, and a town manager resigned under pressure, leaving the town until recently with a three-day a week interim manager. She asked what the candidates would do to “normalize” operations and rebuild trust.
“It’s going to be tough,” Eaton replied. “We need a balance to the board. None of this happened until the board became unbalanced.”
Selectmen need to concern themselves less with the day-to-day running of the town and instead look at where the town is heading, he said.
“We should do what the board should do and that is to look forward to the future of the town,” Eaton said.
Buck said he thinks the town mostly has been operating smoothly but acknowledged that there have been issues.
“I’d like to see it a little more stable with less turnover,” Buck said of the situation.
The town’s comprehensive plan provides a guide for the town’s future, Buck said, and the town should adhere to the goals of that document. Still, he said, unregulated or poorly regulated development is one of his concerns.
“I think that needs to be watched closely,” Buck said.
Eaton and Buck had similar opinions about the budget for the Tremont Consolidated School, where costs are growing at a time when enrollment is dipping. In the past, there have been talks of consolidating with the Pemetic Elementary School in Southwest Harbor, which has similar budgetary concerns.
Eaton said he believes the school population eventually will drop to a point that property tax payers can no longer support the expense. That point has not been reached, he said. Until then, he said he does want the school to remain open.
School officials are working to keep school costs as low as possible, Buck said.
“You can’t make something 100 percent efficient,” he said.
Both candidates said any decision regarding the fate of the K-8 school should be made by residents.
Three school committee seats also will be filled Monday. In uncontested races, Heidi Lawson and Mike McKee are seeking three-year seats on the committee; Jen Horner is seeking election to a two-year seat.