SCARBOROUGH — Four candidates are vying for three seats on the Sanitary District Board of Trustees on the Nov. 4 ballot.
Newcomer Ronald Bonneau is challenging incumbents Robert McSorley, Charles Andreson and Jason Greenleaf.
Bonneau is a native of Maine, but new to public office.
“This is my first venture into any type of elected position,” he said.
The University of New England alumnus is not new to leadership, however; after graduating with degrees in sociology and history, he worked for the Social Security Administration for 27 years and also served as the director in the administration’s Office of Hearings and Appeals in Portland. In addition, he served as a college recruiter for the administration.
Bonneau oversaw over 50 employees and a legal counsel, he said, and would therefore bring personnel and management experience to the Sanitary District board.
Bonneau, now retired , said he would bring a “sensitivity to seniors in particular,” and that he believes there needs to be a thoughtful process and public hearings before any decisions are made.
“This is an excellent opportunity to become more active in the town I’ve enjoyed living in for a number of years,” Bonneau said. Bonneau lives with his wife, Marla, to whom he’s been married for 43 years.
McSorley is a native Mainer who moved back about eight years ago, after working for 28 years as an assistant district engineer in Florida.
Upon his return, he said, he grew interested in serving his community and felt that, with his civil engineering background, the Sanitary District board would be a good fit.
McSorley said he felt that he and the rest of the board have handled the town’s utilities very well, especially given the impact of the economic recession a few years ago.
“We have a great staff,” McSorley said. “We’re constantly looking for ways to improve our work.”
Although the board had to make the decision to raise rates in 2013, which was the first increase since 2004, McSorley said Scarborough continues to have the lowest rates in the region.
The board funded operations from reserve funds from the economic downturn until about 18 months ago, he said and, going forward, it’s important for the board to “build reserves in order to handle renewals and replacements.”
The candidate said that keeping rates affordable throughout the next few years will be a challenge, but that the board is in “pretty good shape right now.”
McSorley, who has three sons with his wife of 21 years, Denise, admitted that being a trustee is “not a glamorous position,” but that’s also not why he does it.
“I’d like to continue to serve my community on this board,” McSorley said. “I think we’ve done some good and we’ll continue to in the future.”
Andreson has lived in Scarborough for 39 years, and said he has no plans to leave anytime soon. He and his wife, Cynthia, raised their three children in town, which Andreson said “runs the gamut of quality attributes.”
Andreson has served the town in multiple roles, including as town engineer and town planner, superintendent of the Sanitary District for 10 years, a town councilor, and as a member of the Sanitary District board since 2000. He currently serves as the board’s clerk.
Andreson also worked as city engineer/public works director in Sanford, and in the private sector as a civil engineer.
Andreson said the board’s function is all about affordability for residents, and he feels he brings to the board an “in-depth understanding of the finances of the district and the need to achieve sustainable fiscal policy.
The current utility cost for a single-family residence is approximately $396 per year, and keeping this unchanged is critical in the future, Andreson said. He also said that affordability of utilities is also an important aspect of commercial and business attraction for the town.
Andreson echoed McSorley’s concerns about rebuilding the district’s reserve accounts, preferably without bonding or borrowing. Reserve monies are crucial to the completion of necessary improvement initiatives, Andreson said, citing the $1 million in trunk lines that were replaced on Black Point Road several years ago using only reserve funds.
Maintaining aging infrastructure, including approximately 70 miles of gravity sewer, 23 miles of force main, 23 pumping stations and a plant that treats 2.5 million gallons of sewage each day, is another reason why replenishing reserve funds is so crucial, Andreson said.
Greenleaf is, in his own words, “Scarborough born and raised.” He lives in town with his wife, Jennifer, and their two children.
He ran for trustee position in November 2008, after a neighbor serving on the board suggested Greenleaf do so. Greenleaf, a civil engineer, was elected and has been involved with the district for the past six years. He has served as chairman for the past two.
The candidate, who also serves Scarborough as a volunteer firefighter, currently works for Hunter Panels, an energy-efficient insulation company in Portland.
“I bring a lot of experience in the civil engineering realm,” Greenleaf said.
He added that he and the rest of the staff are also skilled at budgeting and managing aging infrastructure, despite recession complications.
“The staff is exemplary,” Greenleaf said.
Like his colleagues, Greenleaf said the district’s main focus going forward should be keeping rates as low as possible while still upholding “superior operational efficiency.”
“I’ve enjoyed my service on the board and I look forward to continuing to serve the ratepayers,” he said.