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YARMOUTH — Write-in candidate Tim Sanders won a seat on the Town Council Tuesday by 29 votes.
Sanders defeated Randall Bates, also a write-in candidate, 299-272.
The only council candidate who submitted paper to be on the ballot, Steve Woods, was elected to the other open seat with 2,053 votes.
Approximately 23 percent of Yarmouth’s registered voters cast ballots, according to Town Clerk Jennifer Doten, who said she was surprised by the turnout.
“There were about 200 absentee voters, but many people came to the polls,” she said. “They decided to become involved.”
Sanders, 61, lives on Lafayette Street. He is a life-long resident of Yarmouth, a project manager at Reed & Reed general contractors in Woolwich, and served on the town’s Parks and Land Commission.
Sanders said he is looking forward to serving the town.
“I am happy to serve on the board,” he said Wednesday morning. “I will try to make meetings interesting.”
Woods, 50, owns an international event marketing firm, emg3, based in Falmouth and an umbrella company, TideSmart Global, that owns several operating companies, including a new eight-acre business campus on U.S. Route 1 in Falmouth.
After serving three years on the Planning Board, Woods said he is ready to make an even more involved commitment to the community.
“I am excited to serve on the council, and wish Tim Sanders all the best,” he said. “I also hope we see more of Randy Bates in town government, as he is enthusiastic and has a lot to offer.”
Woods said that as the parent of three children, including two in the Yarmouth school system, he hopes to bring a fresh perspective to the council. Also, he said, the next few years will present challenges in regard to the duel realities of revenue shortfalls and rising expenses.
He said the town will have to make difficult decisions about how we it balances short-term sacrifices with long-term objectives.
Woods would like town finances to be the top agenda item for each council meeting and he said town apathy needs to be replaced with active participation.
“It’s unfortunate that I was the only registered candidate for two open council seats this election and it’s equally disappointing that only 55 Yarmouth voters attended our annual Town Meeting, where more than $30 million in fiscal 2011 spending was being contemplated,” he said.
He also said he would like to enhance the programs, services, and teachers within the school system and reverse the trend of reductions in the next budget cycle. Finally, he said he would like to explore new revenue opportunities in Yarmouth beyond property tax increases.
Woods also serves on the Board of Trustees of Big Brother Big Sisters of Southern Maine.
In the only contested race on the municipal ballot, incumbent William Reinsborough will serve another three years on the Water District Board of Trustees. Reinsborough defeated Sligo Road resident Patricia Ramsay, 1,387 to 1,001.
Reinsborough, 58, has served on the board for 27 years. He is married, has a 13-year-old son and said he finds his duties on the board important to the community.
In an uncontested race, voters re-elected two School Committee members: Art Bell received 1,968 votes and Abigail Diggins received 1,905 votes.
Voters also ratified the $19.5 million school budget, 2,152 to 588. The fiscal 2011 school budget does not increase property taxes.
Superintendent Judy Paolucci said the success of the school budget was a team effort.
“Our teachers union came to the bargaining table with an understanding of the district’s needs and a creative, problem-solving approach,” she said. “Our administrators took on the challenge of a flat budget by finding inventive means to achieve increasingly higher expectations. Our parent and booster groups worked hard to fill additional gaps in funding.”
Residents also voted 1,750 to 834 to continue the budget validation referendum process for the next three years.
Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or firstname.lastname@example.org