Candidates compete for Yarmouth Water District seat
YARMOUTH — The only contested race in the June 8 municipal election will be for the Water District Board of Trustees.
Incumbent William Reinsborough and challenger Patricia Ramsey are vying for a seat on the five-member board.
While there are two, three-year seats available on both the Town Council and School Committee, only three people returned nomination papers for the four spots.
Incumbents Art Bell and Abigail Diggins returned nomination papers for their seats on the School Committee, and only Steven Woods returned nomination papers for one of the two available Town Council seats. The other seat will have to be filled by a write-in candidate.
Patricia Ramsay, 67, is a resident of Sligo Road. She is married, has three daughters and seven grandchildren.
Originally from New Jersey, Ramsay attended Mount Holyoke College and received a bachelor's degree in political science. She later attended Columbia University, and received her master's degree in international security from the School of International Affairs. She worked in public relations for non-profit organizations such as Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union, Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club, and is now retired.
Ramsay and her family moved to Yarmouth nine years ago. She volunteers to help with reading at the Rowe School, and as a knitting teacher at Yarmouth Elementary School. She serves on the Yarmouth Arts board, and has volunteered at the Food Pantry and for Yarmouth United for Change.
Ramsay said she became aware of the Water District's role as the town and the district board began to plan for a new facility next door to her house. She attended the meetings, and said as she learned more about the district she became interested in running for a seat on the board.
"I could be a new set of eyes," she said. "I have a lot to learn about the Water District, but also have a lot of ideas and questions."
Two issues important to her, Ramsay said, are environmental efficiency and government transparency.
She said the new facility could be an excellent opportunity to use sustainable materials and energy-saving devices, but she was surprised they were not included in the construction plan. She said she is not interested in spending more or less money, "just smart money."
"There are numerous funding sources to help with this type of building project. With an increase in citizen awareness, new information and technological advancements, it is possible to build in an environmentally efficient manner," Ramsay said. "To me, the building is a metaphor for forward thinking, the future, renewable resources, and an opportunity to become more environmentally aware. We could be a leader, and the building could be a demonstration of our environmental efficiencies."
Ramsay also said she would like the board to be more transparent. She said it would be good for the Water District to have a website and to offer ratepayers the opportunity to pay their bills online.
"I'm not looking to have the public vote on every decision, but think it is important to have transparency, pubic input and citizen involvement," she said. "It's good business practice."
William Reinsborough, 58, has served on the Water District board for 27 years. He said his father, Lawrence Reinsborough, previously served on the board and invited him to a few meetings. He eventually decided to follow in his father's footsteps.
He attended Yarmouth schools, then Cheverus High School. After a few years at the University of Maine at Orono, Reinsborough said he spent two years in the U.S. Army. He currently works for Irving Oil Co.
Reinsborough has lived in Yarmouth his entire life, is married and has a 13-year-old son. The family lives on Cousins Street.
He said he finds his duties on the quasi-municipal board important to the community and wants to continue in that role.
"I want to continue to take care of the most precious commodity we have in the world," he said. "It is important to me."
Reinsborough has served as a volunteer firefighter, on the Bartlett Circle board of directors, the Harbor and Waterfront Committee, and the Open Space and Land Acquisition group.
"Water and politics are separate entities," he said. "I enjoy the way we operate. We are a quiet entity, and allow the superintendent to do his job and deal with the day-to-day operation. We meet monthly to make decisions on finances, land acquisitions and future goals."
He said he wants to continue to work on the long-term goals of the district, including upgrades to the infrastructure and acquiring property in order to protect resources.
"Overall, our goal is to provide good, clean water and keep the rates at a reasonable level," he said. "I would like to stay involved and continue to do what we do best."
Election Day is June 8, and voting will take place at the AMVETS Hall on North Road from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or firstname.lastname@example.org