Letter to the Editor: An introduction from Farmington select board candidate Dennis O’Neil

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I live in Farmington. I chose to live here 17 years ago and I care for the town that I chose. I have been involved in the community since I got here, and I believe there is room on the board for divergent opinions. I am a team player in working on solutions for problems. I have always been involved in the towns that I lived and worked in. I believe in giving back and being a problem solver. I would like to contribute to Farmington, for it to continue to be a great place to live. I need your help to do that.

I believe the big picture issues facing the Town and area in general are Transportation, Housing, Food Insecurity, Medical Coverage Access, Drug Abuse and Lack of Social Services. These are all complex issues that need to be addressed on the State, County and Local level. They are expensive issues to resolve. We will not be able to solve them alone but we cannot afford to ignore them either.

The issues that deal more specifically with town government and need to be addressed are the revaluation of all property, retaining quality employees, job description updates and salary scale determinations, accountability through the budget process, a review of the town meeting procedures and everybody’s favorite, road improvements.

An RFP has gone out to solicit bids for the much-needed revaluation so that process has begun. It will require board support to be properly done and implemented.

Much discussion has taken place regarding salary scale and job description. The discussion needs to be clarified and implemented. Qualified and quality employees are important to the success of the town. Not just anybody can do any job, and we have to recognize that and treat the employees respectfully and fairly. We have lost several very good employees in recent months.

The budget needs to be evaluated to determine that we are getting our bang for the buck not just total dollars. Are we getting what we pay for? Do we only care to get services and product for the lowest dollar possible? You can only do more with less for so long, and then you do less with less. What services do we need to eliminate to cut taxes? That answer varies depending upon who you talk to.

I believe the town meeting process needs to be evaluated. How is the meeting to be run? What rules do we follow? Are the citizens able to be heard, even minority opinions? We must do better than we did last year.

Roads have long been an issue. They have been neglected for too long. Everyone agrees and yet every year money is deferred, projects are deferred and the roads decline.

I’ve been involved in local town governments for over 50 years. I worked in residential construction for 15 years. I worked in municipal finance for 25 years. I am open-minded. I listen. I asked questions. I can make tough decisions. I do my homework. I understand numbers and budgets. I have a sense of humor.

I currently serve on the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Assessment Review Committee and the Transportation Committee. I previously have served on the Budget Committee and the School Committee. I belong to several local civic and charitable organizations that serve the community. I try to add value to my community.

I care and I ask for your vote if you care too.

Dennis O’Neil
Farmington, Maine

Opinion pieces reflect the views of the individual author, and do not reflect the views of the Daily Bulldog, Mt. Blue TV, or Central Maine Media Alliance. Publication of an opinion piece does not equate to endorsement of the content of the piece.

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