A member of the volunteer fire department is challenging an incumbent Friendship selectman in the race for a seat on the board this year.

Timothy McLaughlin is running against incumbent Earl Bachelder for a three-year term on the Friendship Board of Selectmen. Residents will choose the winner in the Monday, March 15 election.

McLaughlin

“I have sat on the sidelines a long time and now is the time for me to step into local politics,” McLaughlin said March 1. “I want to make sure we stick to keeping taxes as low as possible.”

While he describes himself as a fiscal conservative, concerned about keeping taxes down, he is looking at long-term planning to accomplish that. McLaughlin said the town needs to put away money each year in capital accounts to pay for big items that will be needed in the future.

He pointed to the ongoing debate in the town over whether to buy a new snowplow truck. Both McLaughlin and his opponent believe the snowplow truck is badly needed.

Residents will decide at the Tuesday, March 16 town meeting whether to authorize selectmen to borrow up to $150,000 to purchase a new or used snowplow truck and appropriate $32,653 for the first annual payment.

The possible purchase of the snowplow truck was brought up more than once in 2009 and was shot down by the voters last year.

McLaughlin said that when such a big ticket item is put on the warrant for town meeting, people are likely to be worried about spending that much money all at once, but if capital improvement accounts are built up over time, the amount on any one given town meeting warrant is smaller.

McLaughlin has served as a volunteer with the fire department for four years. He works as a juvenile probation officer for the Maine Department of Corrections at the Rockland office. He holds a bachelor’s degree in human services from Springfield College in Massachusetts.

He also works as an emergency medical technician for the Waldoboro Ambulance Department.

McLaughlin has lived in Friendship for about five years. Prior to that he had lived in Bristol since 1987. He is from Massachusetts originally.

Bachelder

Bachelder has served as a selectman for the past three years. He said it takes about two years to learn the ropes as a selectman, and he believes anyone should put in a couple of terms because it takes so long to get up to speed.

He said he has been involved in working on the drainage problem at the recreation field across from the Friendship Village School. At town meeting on Tuesday, March 16, residents will decide whether to approve $10,000 to finish a drainage system for the ball field.

Even after the vote is taken, Bachelder said, leadership will be needed for overseeing how the project will be completed, and he would like to continue that work.

He said there really isn’t any fat in the town budget. He said at the municipal level, taxes are very reasonable for a town the size of Friendship.

On the snowplow issue, he said, “It’s not a want, it’s a need.”

He said the town has lucked out in that it has been an easy winter so far, but Friendship only has two old plows and they have a tendency to break down.

Bachelder has lived in the town for 44 years, he said. He is originally from Avon, Maine. He runs his own business, Earl’s Masonry Service, doing work on fireplaces and chimneys. The company is a family business.

“Friendship has treated me very good,” he said.

He said serving on the Board of Selectmen is his way to give back.

Meetings and elections

The town elections will be held Monday, March 15 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the town office.

Victor Motyka is running for assessor. Mary Genthner is running for school board.

The town meeting will be held Tuesday, March 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the Hahn Community Center.