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Freeport councilor resigns; candidates slow to take out nomination papers

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Freeport councilor resigns; candidates slow to take out nomination papers

FREEPORT — Town Councilor Genie Beaulieu on Tuesday announced she will resign from the council effective Nov. 10.

Beaulieu, who represents District 1, said she and her husband did a lot of soul searching, but finally decided it was time to travel.

She said she retired last year from the Cumberland County Sheriff's
Department as the fiscal officer, her husband retired a few years ago
from the state Department of Transportation, and this winter seemed like the right  time to visit
family and friends. She said they have a house in Florida, and sons in California and Ohio.

"I absolutely hate resigning, in fact I don't think I've resigned from
anything in my life," Beaulieu said. "But it is not fair for me to pretend I
am representing my constituents if I am travelling and out of town all
winter."

Beaulieu said it would be unfair for her to miss numerous council meetings when her constituents need representation during the budget process.

"I examined ways I could do both, but I cannot make it work," she said. 

Beaulieu served 11 years on the council and will leave a year before her term expires.

Town Clerk Beverly Curry said there will be no problem adding another council vacancy to the Nov. 3 ballot and no need for a special election. Candidates for the one-year term must submit nomination papers signed by 50 registered voters by Sept. 9 at 6 p.m. 

In addition to Beaulieu's District 1 seat, there are two other Town Council seats, three seats on the Sewer District Board of
Trustees and one seat on the Water District Board of Trustees to fill in November. 
All of those are for three-year terms.

As of Tuesday, Aug. 11, only one person has returned nomination papers for the Nov. 3 municipal elections, when seven offices will be on the local ballot.

The only resident to have collected the required signatures and returned the papers is Charlotte Bishop, the incumbent councilor at large. Papers have been available since July 27.

"The lack of response may be because of summer vacations," Curry said, "but there has also been a lot of time spent at the polls here in Freeport."

Because of the new Regional School Unit 5 election procedure, residents have had to nominate and vote on new school board members, attend town meetings and vote on a budget with their school consolidation partners, Durham and Pownal. Since the RSU 5 school budget failed the first time, residents had to go through the procedure twice. 

"They may be a little tired of the polls," Curry said. "Maybe they are taking a break."

Candidates for the District 4 Town Council seat held by Councilor Jim Cassida must submit 50 signatures. According to Curry, Cassida picked up nomination papers, but has not returned them as of Monday, Aug. 10.
There are no term
limits in Freeport, so both councilors are eligible to run again. 

The three seats available on the Sewer District Board of Trustees are held by Leon Arsenault, Don Bail and Brenden Alterio. No one picked up papers for those seats as of Monday.

The Water District position is held by incumbent Maryann Schwanda. Curry said Schwanda has picked up, but not returned her nomination papers. Candidates for Water or Sewer districts must submit only 25 signatures.

Nomination papers are due back at the Town Hall, 30 Main St., no later than 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 9.

In addition to the municipal election, voters will decide four statewide referendums: an act to repeal the school consolidation law, an act to promote tax relief, an act to establish the Maine Medial Marijuana Act and an act to decrease the automobile excise tax and promote energy efficiency.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net.