NEWS
(from the December 2010 Maine Townsman)

From Around the State and City Hall                                                        NEW ON THE WEB

Following are some of the municipal referenda or charter changes voted on by Mainers on Nov. 2:

Biddeford: Voters easily passed a proposal to allow slot machines at a commercial harness racing track, known commonly as a “racino.” The only other municipality that hosts a racino is the City of Bangor. The Biddeford project will cost an estimated $125 million and will be located on 88 acres of city-owned land.

Statewide: Voters approved a proposal to build a casino resort in the western Maine town of Oxford. The Oxford casino, subject to a recount challenge (at the time of the Townsman’s deadline), is expected to cost $165 million and create 1,700 jobs.

Dixfield: Voters rejected a proposal to virtually ban wind energy projects. A Massachusetts firm has proposed erecting up to 13 turbines on a ridge in town and plans to get moving on the project now. The proposed ban was the result of a citizen petition. Meanwhile, voters in Rumford, which abuts Dixfield in western Maine, also defeated a virtual ban on wind development. A project also is being planned for the mill town.

Mechanic Falls: The end of an era passed on Election Day, when voters easily approved a charter change to replace the annual town meeting with town-wide referendum voting. The vote was 816-398.

Peaks Island: Residents elected three write-in candidates for the island’s advisory board, leaving the seven-member council with four vacant seats. There were no official candidates on the ballot. One of the winning write-in candidates received four votes and the other two received three votes each. The remaining vacancies occurred in August when three councilors resigned, followed by the council chairman. The island, part of the City of Portland, created a council three years ago that serves in an advisory capacity to the Portland council.

Portland: The mayor of Maine’s largest city will now be elected rather than appointed – for the first time in nearly 90 years – following passage of a city charter change by a vote of 12,957 to 11,821. The change will take effect next November. The mayor will receive an annual salary of $67,000; the city manager-council form of government will remain unchanged.

Following are among the municipal officials elected during Nov. 2 balloting. Results of unopposed races are not listed.

Augusta: Mayor Roger Katz defeated incumbent two-term state Rep. Patsy Crockett for a seat in the Maine Senate. Katz, a lawyer, has resigned as mayor after four years, thereby ending his municipal service career for now.

Bangor: City Council incumbent Susan Hawes won re-election to a third term with 5,335 votes, while incumbent Hal Wheeler was defeated by newcomer Charles Longo by a vote of 4,150-4,601. Longo, 21, is reportedly the youngest-ever Bangor councilor. Newcomer Nelson Durgin won the third open seat with 4,433 votes.

Belfast: Incumbent City Councilors Roger Lee and Marina DeLune won re-election, Nancy Hamilton held off a challenger to win the third open seat. Each incumbent faced a challenger.

Brewer: School board member Kevin O’Connell and Mayor Arthur “Archie” Verow won two of five open seats on the city council. O’Connell received a high vote of 1,739. Verow, former city clerk for 40 years, collected 1,687 votes to win re-election to the board. Incumbent Manley DeBeck was among the three other candidates. He received nearly 1,000 votes. Former mayor Gail Kelly also was defeated.

On Nov. 16 the City Council voted to have Joseph Ferris serve as Mayor and Jerry Goss to serve as Deputy Mayor from 16 Nov. 2010 to 16 Nov. 2011. Also Kevin J.M. O’Connell beat incumbent Manley DeBeck Jr. and Arthur Verow retained his seat in the Nov. 2, 2010 municipal election.

Brunswick: Town Councilor Margo Knight kept her seat after defeating a challenger by a vote of 449 to 303.

Buckfield: John Lowell was elected with 515 votes to fill the unexpired term of Floyd Richardson, who recently resigned. Lowell will serve for six months. He handily defeated two challengers.

Calais: City Councilor Joseph Cassidy ran unopposed to replace his father, Vinton, as mayor. William Howard III collected the most votes in a three-way contest for two, three-year terms on the council with 778 votes, while incumbent Christopher Bernardini won the second seat with 702 votes.

Caribou: David Martin and Kenneth Murchinson Jr. defeated two challengers to win re-election to three-year terms on the council. Also, 13 candidates vied for six seats on the Caribou Charter Commission. The winners were: Roy Alden, Sandra Huck, James Savage, Bryan Scott Thompson, Scott Walker and Ronald Willey.

Dexter: Incumbent Town Councilor Andre Robichaud and newcomers Alan Wintle and Peter Haskell won the most votes in an eight-way race for three council seats. Among those who did not win was incumbent Judith Craig. Wintle was the top vote-getter at 804, followed by Haskell with 636 and Robichaud with 626. Craig outpaced the rest of the field by at least a 2-1 margin with 617 votes, but came up a few votes short to retain her seat.

Eastport: Michael Cummings garnered 254 votes against two other candidates to replace outgoing Councilor Earl Small.

Freeport: James Hendricks defeated a rival to win the council seat being vacated by Chairman Bill Muldoon by a vote of 1,969-1,182.

Gardiner: High school senior Scott Williams, 18, upset incumbent City Councilors George Trask, Kendall Holmes and Robert Johnston for an at-large seat on the council. He received 1,580 votes

Hallowell: Peter Schumacher won a third term on the council, defeating a challenger by a 713-513 vote.

Hampden: Kristen Hornbrook easily defeated two challengers, including former Town Councilor Andrew Colford, to capture the open seat on the council. Hornbrook won 1,424 votes.

Lincoln: Shaun Drinkwater collected 1,009 votes compared to 879 for incumbent Town Councilor Michael Ireland in a four-way race for three council seats. Ireland, as the second-highest vote-getter, won the second seat, while incumbent Thora House was defeated by Curt Ring by five votes, 865-860, for the third, three-year opening.

Lisbon: Incumbent Fern Larochelle defeated two challengers to win with 909 votes.

Millinocket: Newcomers Richard Angotti and Bryant Davis won the two open seats on the town council. Angotti received 1,439 votes and Davis won 1,373 votes.

Portland: Voters returned Ed Suslovic to the city council after a failed bid for re-election in 2008. Incumbents Jill Duson and John Anton defeated a third candidate to easily win re-election.

Scarborough: Incumbent Councilors Judy Roy and Mike Wood defeated a challenger to win re-election to their second, three-year terms. They received 5,220 and 5,411 votes respectively. Meanwhile, Richard Sullivan won a three-person race to fill the one-year vacancy of Shawn Babine.

South Portland: Incumbent City Councilor Thomas Blake received 6,140 votes to defeat a challenger for another term, while school board member, Alan Livingston, also defeated a challenger to win a council seat with 3,858 votes.

Topsham: Incumbent Selectman Sandra Consolini was defeated for a second term by Marie Brillant and Andrew Mason for two seats on the board. Brillant received 2,580 votes; Mason garnered 2,338; and Consolini collected 1,993. Selectman Steve Edmondson did not seek re-election.

NEW ON THE WEB

Here are some highlights of what’s been added at www.memun.org since the last edition of the Maine Townsman.

• 2010 Local Government Finance Survey Worksheet. Be part of the next survey by completing the 2010 Local Government Finance survey which is available online as an Excel spreadsheet. Download the survey and e-mail the file to Kate Dufour at kdufour@memun.org by January 31, 2011.

• Tax-exempt entities. The Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division of the Internal Revenue Service is offering a free webinar about Section 218 of the federal tax code, its legislative history and why it is important to government employers and employees. Find out how to register and attend.

• Personnel Practices. Recent Maine Municipal Association training sessions on Personnel Practices have sold out. Not to worry. Many of the forms required through the Fair Labor Standards Act are now available through our website, and MMA will schedule more courses in 2011.

• Fiscal Survey. MMA’s annual fiscal survey, which allows municipalities to compare themselves financially to peers around the state, has just been posted. This 102-page document provides the most detailed financial data on municipalities available anywhere.

• Our Next Governor. MMA’s question-and-answer session with Gov.-elect Paul LePage from last July has been re-posted and is more relevant than ever. In his meeting with MMA’s Executive Committee, Gov.-elect LePage answered questions about unfunded mandates, transportation financing, revenue sharing and more.