Originally published in The Weekly Packet, February 16, 2017
Two seek road commissioner post in Brooksville
by Rich Hewitt
There are two candidates running for the one-year post of road commissioner. Long-time incumbent Mark Blake is being challenged by Matt Dow, who is also running unopposed for fire chief.
Mark Blake, incumbent
Mark Blake has served as road commissioner for about 30 years, following in the footsteps of his father who also served the town as road commissioner.
“It’s something I like to do,” he said.
Although the work hasn’t changed much over the years, the two challenges for the roads are the increased traffic and the town budget. Blake said he has to balance the needs of the town roads with the budget the town approves.
“They only raise so much for the roads,” he said.
The job remains pretty much the same, he said, except that there are more people using the roads, which makes it more of a challenge to keep up with the needs of them.
“People are building everywhere and there are trucks going everywhere now,” he said. “There used to be a lot of roads that we didn’t use in the spring. People just stayed off of them. Now, they want to go year-round.”
Despite that challenge, he said, “things seem to go pretty good.”
Matt Dow has served as the town’s fire chief for the last few years, but has been a part of the department much longer. A Brooksville native, he recently moved back to town and said he wanted to get involved in town affairs.
Dow said he has the background and experience to do the job, including working with his father in his earthworks business, L.A. Dow & Son, in town, where he’s had experience working on roads. He also has state Department of Environmental Protection certification for erosion control, which he said has been a benefit with his work on the fire department and would help him as road commissioner.
“I’m looking to bring in new ideas for better and cost-efficient ways to work on the roads,” he said.
The key challenge for the road commissioner, Dow said, is to keep up with the general maintenance on the roads. He said he’d like to see the town use equipment in different ways to maintain the roads and the shoulders. In particular, he said, he’d like to see more trimming of trees along the sides of town roads.
“We’ve done some of that,” he said. “But I’d like to get the trees cut back and open it up a little more.”
There is no legal restriction that would keep Dow from serving as fire chief and road commissioner, and he said he did not think one role would interfere with the other.
Uncontested municipal positions up for election include:
Selectman, Richard Bakeman; Town Clerk, Amber Bakeman; Tax Collector, Yvonne Redman; Treasurer, Frieda Peasley; Fire Chief, Matt Dow; Planning Board, Denis Blodgett and Phil Wessel; Budget & Advisory Committee, Matt Freedman and John Kimball.