Challenger adds choice to Scarborough trustee elections

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SCARBOROUGH — Sanitary District Board of Trustees incumbents David Nelson and Herbert “Bud” Waldron were hard pressed to recall the last contested elections for their seats.

But challenger Seth Garrison is making this year’s election memorable.

Garrison is running for one of the two, three-year seats on the sewer board, and for a five-year term as trustee of the Portland Water District, where he faces incumbent Robert McSorley.

Polls will be open 7 a.m.-8 p.m. in the gym at Scarborough High School on Nov. 5. Absentee ballots are available through Oct. 31 at Town Hall, 259 U.S. Route 1, or online at the town website.

Waldron, 64, of 14 Clay Pits Road, was first elected in 1992. Nelson, 66, of 59 Black Point Road, was first elected in 1990.

McSorley, who is also a Sanitary District trustee, is beginning his sixth year on the PWD Board of Trustees. He is the vice president and the only representative from Scarborough.

Garrison, 42, of 5 Leah Lane, is a management consultant at Portland-based Woodard & Curran who has utility consulting experience.

“Water and waste water is not a sexy thing, but it can have a lot of impact on the community,” said Garrison, who is married to Cheryl Garrison. The couple has a daughter.

Waldron and Nelson said board oversight of the district – which has an annual budget of about $3 million and handles about 420 million gallons of waste water annually – requires passion and commitment, although they believe operations are well handled by Superintendent David Hughes and Chief Operator Gary Howard.

“I look at it as giving back to the town in a work-related manner to help things out,” Nelson said. “If everything is going the way it should, no one knows we are here.”

Nelson works in parts and service at Milton Cat, a heavy equipment dealer on Pleasant Hill Road. He is married to Celeste Nelson and the couple has three children.

Waldron, who is married to Elizabeth Waldron and has a son, said being a trustee can be elemental.

“You don’t need to be an engineer or anything else, it is mostly common sense,” he said.

As a Sanitary District Trustee, Garrison said he would take a longer view of how the district is growing and if the routine inspections and planning utilize the best, state-of-the-art approaches.

After a rate increase last April, Nelson and Waldron said they will avoid any more increases and noted the current system is set to handle twice the current capacity. Retiring debt over the next decade will provide more funding for any needed upgrades, they said.

Garrison said serving as PWD trustee will also allow him to add his management expertise, which may be centered more around infrastructure upgrades including water mains.

“The more you can plan, the less you have to react,” he said.

McSorley, 51, of 2 Chestnut Drive,  is married to Denise McSorley. The couple has three children. He is an engineer with Sebago Technics.

He said the PWD trustee role requires a wider vision because the nine-town district includes waste water treatment in four communities. The district operating budget is about $37 million.

He said a primary focus for him will be continuing protection of the Sebago Lake water source, whether from traffic on Route 35 in Standish or the possible importation of Canadian “tar sands” oil through pipelines passing by and through the watershed.

“I’m an overview person making sure the right decisions are being made,” he said.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

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Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.