FREEPORT — Six people are running for four seats on the Sewer District Board of Trustees.
Three positions are three-year terms and one is a one-year term. Michael Ashby, Andrew Sachs, Sara Randall and James Harriman are running for three-year terms on the board.
Clinton Goodenow Jr. running for the one-year seat against Wilson Woodbury, who declined to be interviewed.
No one is running for one, three-year seat on the Water District Board of Trustees.
The polls will be open from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. on Election Day at Freeport High School. Absentee ballots are available at Town Hall; the deadline to request one is Oct. 29 at 6 p.m.
Ashby, a commercial clam digger, has lived in Freeport since 1959. He served two terms on the Sewer District from 2008-2014, and lost a re-election bid last year.
Ashby said he wants to run again because he thinks the board’s work is important.
“I want to make sure we have clean water for everyone,” he said.
Ashby said he wants to work with the board to continue to upgrade the sewer system to keep viruses out of the Harraseeket River. He said he also wants to continue reducing the sewer district’s carbon footprint and fossil fuel emissions.
“My idea would be to have the best plant in the state so we can be the most conservative,” he said.
Ashby said recently there have been complaints of sewer odors in town and he’d like to take care of that.
“I want to make sure that’s contained,” he said.
While most residents are on septic systems, Ashby said around 800 people pay for the town’s sewer service.
“I want to keep the rates reasonable for everyone,” he said. “Being a rate payer, I want to make sure there are no problems.”
Ashby said he also wants to work on opening more clam flats in the Harraseeket River so locals can harvest there.
Sachs, a disaster consultant who provides assistance to state and local governments, has lived in Freeport for eight years. He has never held public office, but said he’s done a lot of volunteer work in town and is a former president of the Freeport Economic Development Corporation.
Sachs said through his work he has collaborated with many water and sewer districts on various grant proposals.
“I think I’ll be able to contribute in a unique way,” he said.
Sachs said the primary issue he cares about is clean water. He said he wants to work with the community on planning, so there is a “lasting and significant impact.”
“I recognize there’s a very significant link between strategic planning of a Sewer District and the cost of its operations,” he said.
Sachs said it’s important to expand the Sewer District so future homes and businesses can get sewer service. He said he wants to link the “investment and maintenance of the sewer infrastructure with the community’s priorities and plans for development.”
“The town has done a great job developing growth, but that doesn’t match up with sewer service,” he said.
Randall grew up in Freeport and moved back to town in 2013 after she left following graduation from Freeport High School. She is an environmental consultant specializing in science, policy and management of fisheries and other natural resources, as well as local food systems.
Randall has also been working as the scientific coordinator for the Freeport Clam Experiment for the past two years. She said she wants to serve on the Sewer District Board because she cares about Freeport’s water.
“I grew up on the shores of the Harraseeket River and I’m running to ensure that Freeport remains a beautiful and healthy place to work and live,” she said.
Randall said clean water is important to her because Freeport residents, as well as the fishing and tourist industries, rely on it.
“If elected, I will assist the Sewer District in maintaining and improving coastal water quality, as well as finding ways to bring additional resources to the District to keep user rates affordable,” she said.
She said keeping the sewer rates low is important, especially as other costs are rising for residents.
“It’s important to keep local costs, such as Sewer District rates, down as much as possible so that citizens can continue to afford to live here,” she said.
Harriman, a shellfish harvester, has lived in Freeport for over 20 years. He has never held public office and serving on the Sewer District Board interests him because of his line of work.
“The sewer treatment plant affects my work quite a bit,” he said. “I thought it’d be a good board to sit on.”
Harriman said being on the board would also be a good way for him to decide if he wants to go into politics. Despite his lack of experience serving on a board, he said his work has given him a lot of knowledge that’d be useful to the Sewer District Board.
“I’m going to learn as I go, and I think I’m a good candidate because I work on the water,” he said.
Harriman said he’d also be good for the board because he’s not running on any particular issue and he’s a good listener.
“I’m pretty open-minded,” he said. “I’m not hardheaded either way. I’m willing to work with people.”
Harriman said he cares about the Harraseeket River and keeping it clean. He said being on the Sewer District Board would allow him to see “where they’re going to go in the future in terms of growth and how it’ll affect the Harraseeket River. I believe growth is inevitable.”
Goodenow, a fisherman and clam digger, has lived in Freeport for 45 years and is the treasurer of the Maine Clammers Association. He served on Freeport’s Shellfish Commission 25 years ago.
Goodenow is ending a three-year term on the Sewer District Board and is now running for a one-year term.
“It’s really going very smooth down (at the sewer treatment plant),” he said. “I’d like to see that continue.”
Goodenow said a lot of new people are running for seats on the board, and he’d like to stay on for another year to help the newcomers.
“Sometimes bringing in all new people could work well because they’re all bringing in new ideas, but it also slows things down as they try to get going,” he said. “I’d like to stay on for another year and help them stay on track.”
If re-elected, Goodenow said he wants to continue working on a five-year plan and an emergency plan, which would be used if anything were to go wrong at the treatment plant. He said there’s been nothing to suggest a problem will arise, though.
“The plant seems to be running perfect,” he said. “The sewer district does a great job.”