Election could remake Scarborough Town Council

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SCARBOROUGH — Three incumbent town councilors face three challengers hoping to unseat them Nov. 7.

Voters will decide whether to re-elect council Chairman Shawn Babine, of 1 Summerfield Lane; Vice Chairwoman Kate St. Clair, 41 Woodfield Drive, and Councilor Peter Hayes, 5 Indian Hill Lane.

Challenging them are Jean-Marie Caterina, 311 Gorham Road; Timothy Downs, 10 Dunstan Ave., and Benjamin Howard, 7 Windsor Pines Drive.

Three seats on the Sanitary District Board of Trustees are also on the ballot. Incumbents Charles Andreson, of 4 Val Terrace; Jason Greenleaf, 2 Clay Pits Road, and Robert McSorley, 2 Chestnut Drive, are challenged by Judith Cavalero, of 1 Overlook Drive.

Council candidates were asked to identify the biggest challenge facing Scarborough, their goals for the Town Council, and what they would like to see happen at Scarborough Downs, which is under contract to be sold to Maine-based Crossroads Holdings LLC and is part of the town’s bid for Amazon’s HQ2 project.

Shawn Babine

Babine, 51, who was last elected in 2014, also served three previous terms on the council, beginning in 2002. He is married with one adult daughter, and has also served on the school board.

Babine works as a commercial underwriter in the banking industry. 

“I’m going to work hard. I do my research. I examine the impact of my decisions and I am extremely consistent in my approach,” Babine said. ” The citizens know exactly what they are going to get. I try to be level-headed.”

Babine said economic development and growth are the biggest challenges facing Scarborough. 
 
He said there needs to be a “complete property re-evaluation” and that residential properties are taking on a larger tax burden when they should be taxed less. 
 
He said there has been significant development in Scarborough and taxes need to be reassessed.
 
Babine said it would be great if Amazon chose Scarborough Down for its second headquarters, but he’s not expecting it to happen.
 
More realistically, he said, the Downs could be the “new center of Scarborough.”
 
“We will have to wait and see what the developer proposes,” Babine said.

Peter Hayes

Hayes, 61, is married, with four children. Three are adult children and one attends Scarborough High School. He is founder and principal of Healthcare Solutions, and co-founder and past president of the Maine Health Management Coalition.

Hayes is chairman of the  council finance committee and serves as a liaison to the Shellfish Conservation Commission, Coastal Waters and Harbor Advisory Committee. He has served on other committees and volunteers with the Scarborough Land Trust. 

“I think one of the biggest challenges is we are a growing community with a very diverse population,” Hayes said. “How do we come together as a community and have a respectful dialogue, to build consensus and make decisions together to balance everyone’s’ needs?”

Hayes said he would like to ensure that the town works to preserve its marshes and beaches.

Regarding Scarborough Downs, Hayes said he would like to see the property re-developed to have a “walkable, village feel.”

Hayes said it could be a mix of affordable housing, other types of housing and restaurants.

Kate St. Clair

St. Clair, 40, is a mother of four children. She is serving her second consecutive term on council. She is chairwoman of the Communications Committee and serves on the Ordinance Committee, ad-hoc Public Safety Building Committee and others. 

She is president of the nonprofit Team Kyle Foundation, named for her late son, whose mission is to identify and meet needs of local children with illnesses and disabilities.

“Clearly we have issues around the budget, but on the flip side I’m very concerned about housing and affordable housing,” St. Clair said.  “My goal is to have the council get out more in the community. I think we have sat behind the bench too long.” 

On the Scarborough Downs property, St. Clair said she would “love to see a community built on it.”

“Ideally I would love to see a hockey rink, pool, senior center, community center, a town village started there,” she said. “There are so many things that can bring a community closer together.”

Jean-Marie Caterina

Caterina, 62, is married and has an adult daughter. She previously served on the council from 2013-2016. She is a real estate broker and owns the Caterina McClain Group. 

During her tenure on council, she was elected vice chairwoman and chairwoman of the Ordinance and Firing Range committees. She served as liaison to the Long Range Planning, Conservation, and Personnel Appeals committees. As a councilor, Caterina also was a member of the Maine Municipal Association.

“I am looking forward to continuing my service to the people of Scarborough,” Caterina said. “My platform is simple: Minimize property tax increases through prudent spending. Support our future, our children, through maintaining quality schools. Support our seniors through continuing the property tax rebate program and expanding programming to benefit that segment of our population.”

Caterina said she would like to expand the senior tax credit, and see a revaluation of property throughout town.

Caterina said a “mixed-use planned development” would make sense at Scarborough Downs, similar to the Daniel Island development in Charleston, South Carolina.

Timothy Downs 

Timothy Downs, 56, is married with two adult children and one granddaughter. He previously served one three-year council term in the early 2000s and then a one year term afterward to fill a vacancy. During the four years he served, he said, he only missed one meeting.
 
Downs has been a commercial shell fisherman for 43 years and has been clamming since the age of 12. 

He is commander of the Sons of the American Legion Post 76, and a member of the Scarborough Lion’s Club.

“We maintain a small-town appeal, but we are one of the largest towns in the state, which isn’t a high hurdle,” Downs said.

Downs said the biggest challenge facing Scarborough is taxes.

“There are a lot of people struggling to pay their taxes, a lot of people on fixed incomes and Social Security, and their incomes don’t go up as fast as the taxes,” he said.

Downs said he’s lived in Scarborough all his life. “I know a lot of people and can give a different perspective,” he said.

Downs said he would like to see harness racing make a comeback at Scarborough Downs, but he doesn’t expect that will happen.

“There’s 100 million things that could be done there, and as long as it was done right I would be happy with any of them,” he said.

Benjamin Howard

Howard, 24, single, is a chemical engineer who works as a controls engineer for AEC Engineering in Freeport. 
 
He frequently speaks at council meetings, and said he has only missed two meetings in the past year. His governing experience includes the student council at the University of New Hampshire.
 
Howard said he wants to approve a budget that will be acceptable to older and younger generations, and would base his decisions on thorough research.
 
“I don’t want to make decisions based on my opinion. I always want to use data to make decisions,” he said.

Howard said he wants to make Scarborough more attractive to younger residents and increase the population of 18- to 29-year-olds by trying to provide more affordable housing.

“There are really no starter houses in Scarborough,” he said.

Howard said Scarborough Downs has potential, but he would like the property to remain in private hands.

Melanie Sochan can be reached at 781-3661 ext.106 or msochan@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter @melaniesochan.

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Caterina

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