Harrison will elect five to local offices

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

HARRISON — All five of the candidates for local town offices to be decided by voters next Tuesday, June 12, are uncontested. They are as follows:

• Board of Selectmen — two three-year seats

Bill Winslow is the current board chairman, seeking another term. He was previously on the planning board and the Comprehensive Plan Committee, and was also a member of the Conservation Commission. He also currently serves as superintendent of the Harrison Water District. He and his wife Darcy run High View Farm, offering dairy products for sale at the farm and local farmers markets. Winslow feels the most pressing issue facing the town is dealing with rising school costs and dealing with inequities in the funding formula between the towns and the SAD 17 School District.

Christine Davis is a newcomer to town politics who is currently treasurer of the Harrison Village Library. She and her husband, Averill, own A.C. Construction, where she serves as accountant. She is running because, “No one else would step up to the plate, so I felt I should,” Davis said. She wants to focus on improving the condition of town roads, and to find ways to deal with school spending. Davis believes the school funding formula hurts Harrison, and would like to see it reconsidered, “because Harrison cannot afford it.”

• Planning Board — two three-year seats

James Dayton was appointed to fill in on the board, and has become more and more active in town politics since moving to Hobbs Hill Lane in 2004. During the past year he served on the Transfer Station Committee and as chairman of the Budget Committee. He and his family also lived in Harrison in the 1970s. He has been in the construction business for 40 years, 30 of them as a self-employed business owner of Habitat Services, which provides handyman and design services for residential and commercial property owners. He also spent 10 years in the corporate world involved with quality control. He said he is seeking a permanent seat on the planning board “because we are the stewards of our resources, and the planning board best serves this goal. My core belief is that growth and resource protection can coexist.” Shoreland zoning has been a pressing issue in town, and Dayton said the board needs to focus on clarifying and updating existing zoning regulations. “This would enable the town to better meet its future needs,” he said.

Gordon Davis is a planning board veteran, having served on the Bridgton Planning Board for eight years before moving to Harrison. He also chaired the Bridgton Budget Committee for two years. He currently works as an auditor and trainer for the Maine Workers' Compensation Board in Augusta. Says Davis, “I enjoyed my time on the Bridgton Planning Board, and I am very interested in being involved in economic growth in the area.” He wants to work to foster responsible growth and job opportunities in town, “while maintaining the small town feel and attracting tourism.” Davis would like to see the board focus on “attracting desirable businesses, streamlining the regulatory process, and keeping Harrison attractive to the tourist trade.”

• Board of Zoning Appeals — one five-year term

Jonathan Whitney served several years on the Board of Trustees of the Harrison Village Library and is currently the board's president. He lives on Dawes Hill Road, and works as a real estate agent affiliated with Anne Plummer & Associates in Naples. He also publishes the Greater Bridgton Lake Region Chamber of Commerce's Area Guide, sells advertising for the Oxford Hills Chamber of Commerce's magazine, and publishes a real estate section in Lake Living magazine. Whitney said he enjoys being on the zoning board. “It's something of interest to me that I can do to contribute to my community.” He thinks elected town officials and residents “should always be thinking about what are the responsibilities a town government has to its citizens and community and, consequently, what are our priorities, as a town, regarding spending tax dollars.” He’d like to see more participation by residents, saying, “All of our town elected offices this year are going to be filled in uncontested elections, and I think most voters generally prefer to have a choice. I think the whole town benefits when more of its citizenry is involved in the decisions that are being made, whether it be for an elected office or by serving on a board through volunteering.”

• SAD 17 Board of Directors — one three-year term

Albert Lisowski was a write-in candidate for the school board three years ago. He wants to serve another term “because now that I sort of know how things work, I can contribute more,” he said. During his first term, he served on two board subcommittees. Lisowski moved to Route 35 in Harrison six years ago from Ohio with his wife and two children, and loves the town, especially citing the quality of its recreational programs for children. He is a stay-at-home dad and a volunteer on the Harrison Fire Department. He supports the school budget, and sees the planned consolidation of Harrison and Waterford elementary schools as being necessary, because currently Waterford Elementary School is being underutilized and Harrison Elementary School is overcrowded. “Do I want to see those kids bussed in? I don’t, but what else can we do?” The district will save $90,000 with the consolidation, he points out. His fifth grade daughter was in a portable classroom this year, and his fourth grade son would have to be in a portable classroom next year if the consolidation doesn’t take place. Portable classrooms tend to be “dark and dingy,” and it’s important, if possible, to “bring kids together in one school.” Lisowski definitely supports the town’s efforts to put pressure on Augusta to revise the school funding formula, which is unfair to Harrison, he said. “What I can say to parents is stay involved. It takes a village to raise a child.”

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., and voting will take place at the Harrison Town Office. The town meeting will follow on the next day, June 13, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Harrison Elementary School.

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