Baston, Fossel try for Alna second selectman
Alna voters have one contest to decide Friday, March 22. Third Selectman Doug Baston and past selectman Les Fossel are running for second selectman. Ed Pentaleri didn't seek re-election.
Fossel said he wants to cut costs and "stop the food fight." He said the town's politics have gone the way of state and federal politics: People are more interested in fighting than in finding common ground and consensus, Fossel said.
The former legislator also previously served on the Alna School Committee. He serves on multiple organizations' boards, is co-president of The Morris Farm in Wiscasset, and has two businesses, Restoration Resources and Fossel Preservation Partners, LLC.
The self-described fiscal conservative said Alna has a high-cost government. "It's time for change." He has stayed in business so long and been on so many boards because he knows how to cut costs, he said. "My best guess is I can cut at least two mils from the tax rate." How? Incrementally and with good information, Fossel said. The town needs a budget committee, he said.
"If you like high taxes, don't vote for me, and if you like contentiousness, then don't vote for me," Fossel said. "There's a reason I was chair of the moderate caucus in the legislature and it was the largest caucus. We found ways to get together. People don't seem to be interested in that anymore."
When he was president and assistant chief of the fire department, the fire station and a pumper increased fire protection and the average homeowner saved more on their insurance bill over five years than they paid for the truck and firehouse, Fossel said. "And we got the first women as firefighters, not auxiliary, but as full human beings. What a concept."
Baston is seeking his third consecutive, two-year term. He also served on the board in the early 1990s. He enjoys serving, he said about why he wants to keep doing it. "And I like to problem-solve and I think I'm reasonably good at it. And there's a bunch of things in motion that I want to see through to fruition." Those include the new town office and pursuing a ConnectMe cable grant, possible funds from a private foundation to help with the town's old buildings, and possible grants for a trail and an orchard near the new town office.
Among accomplishments in his latest terms, Baston recalled the board getting Central Maine Power's infrastructure revalued "to where it ought to be, because I thought they weren't paying enough. And that lowered everyone's taxes by about 10 percent."
Now, with CMP's planned upgrade that would run through town, Baston said, "I want to be vigilant to make sure we get not only what we should in taxation but in additional benefits from CMP."
Baston said he tries to listen to the community and its subcommunities, "and try to come to a point where if not everybody's happy, at least they're minimally unhappy." The board having the Head Tide Dam committee and working with Atlantic Salmon Federation on the modification project was one example, he said.
Baston was a longtime member of the planning board. He is president of North Atlantic Energy Advisors. He serves on numerous organizations, including being Vice President of the Maine Woodland Owners Association.
Road Commissioner Jeff Verney and third selectman candidate Greg Shute are unopposed on the ballot. Polls are open at the fire station from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.