CAPE ELIZABETH — A $25.4 million school budget passed by a comfortable margin Tuesday, when Democrats also chose Anne Carney as their candidate for the state House of Representatives.
Carney received 1,387 votes for the nomination in House District 30, which includes most of Cape Elizabeth. Her opponent, Mary Ann Lynch, received 774.
Charles Peter Rich, of Cape Elizabeth, was unopposed for the Republican nomination and received 674 votes.
The seat is held by Rep. Kim Monaghan, a Democrat who has served four consecutive two-year terms and could not seek re-election because of Maine’s term limit law.
Carney on Wednesday said she was honored and grateful for the support she received from the electorate.
“It was a privilege to be one of two passionate female Democratic candidates eager to represent our town in the Maine Legislature, and the primary was truly a ‘win-win’ for Cape,” she said.
Lynch congratulated Carney Wednesday morning on Facebook.
“Anne ran a great campaign and has earned this victory. She will serve Cape Elizabeth well in the Maine Legislature,” Lynch said. “… Although I came up short, I was reminded daily that this is the most wonderful community and I am so blessed to live here.”
Carney, 55, has lived in Cape Elizabeth for about 28 years. She practiced law at Norman, Hanson & DeTroy for 18 years before becoming an in-house volunteer attorney with Pine Tree Legal Assistance for almost eight years.
Her profession, she said, has taken her to “every corner of the state,” representing municipalities, companies and individuals.
For nine years, Carney also volunteered for the Cape Elizabeth Land Trust, where she served as board president for three years. She has also served on the town’s board of appeals, library board and the Two Lights Road Bicycle Path Committee.
This is her first time running for elected office. Her campaign focused on issues such as protecting the environment, in part by promoting renewable energy; improving the state’s funding formula for education; growing Maine’s economy through job creation, and providing access to quality, affordable health care.
The $25.4 million school budget passed 2,219 to 1,483. According to the town’s website, 3,784 ballots were cast.
In a non-binding advisory question, 1,685 voters thought the proposed fiscal year 2019 budget was too high, 1,453 called it acceptable, and 478 said it was too low.
With an increase of approximately $515,000 from current spending, the adopted budget will increase the school’s portion of the tax rate by 9.6 percent.
An $875,000 cut in state aid, or 40 percent drop in revenue, led to a difficult budget season for the School Committee and Town Council. Initially proposed was a $25.6 million budget, which included a $249,000 engineering and architectural feasibility study of future school facility improvements.
After the council on May 14 voted to send a $25.4 million budget to voters, rather than the $25.6 million requested, the School Committee decided to take the study off the table, instead of trimming the budget in any other area.
The $39.5 million combined town, school and county budget poses a 6.6 percent increase to taxpayers, up $1.19 to $19.19 from this year’s $18 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.
On Wednesday morning, interim Superintendent Howard Colter said the School Department is “thrilled” by the outcome of Tuesday’s voting.
“Very appreciative of the support for our schools,” he said. “We thank the taxpayers and voters.”