FREEPORT — There are three candidates running for two seats on the Sewer District Board of Trustees in the only contested race on the Nov. 8 local ballot.
Races for Town Council and the Regional School Unit 5 Board of Directors are uncontested, and no one took out papers for one seat being vacated by Michael Ashby on the Water District Board of Trustees.
Residents will also be asked to vote on a Town Charter amendment that would make it easier for residents to sign petitions. The question went before voters in June, but didn’t pass because not enough votes were cast.
Thomas Hudak, the treasurer of the sewer board, is seeking a third term. The 69-year-old has lived in Freeport since 1972 and has worked in facilities management at L.L. Bean, in the school district in a variety of roles, and as a surveyor.
“I have a great deal of knowledge that comes from being treasurer,” Hudak said. “We’ve been great stewards for the town and I’d like to continue that.”
If re-elected, Hudak said he wants to work on infrastructure projects.
“We’re looking at improving infrastructure and keeping costs down while having a low impact on the environment,” he said. “That’s my goal.”
Hudak said a lot of his energy will be focused on a $3.2 million infrastructure improvement project the district is working on.
“It’ll benefit residents, tourists, and help clammers,” he said.
Challenger Tim Whitacre, 60, is a consulting geologist and has lived in Freeport for 16 years. He previously served on the sewer board from 2011-14, and is hoping to get back on the board because he enjoyed the work and lives in the area served by the district.
“I’m on sewer so I know about rate hikes,” he said. “I’m very cognizant. My decisions impact me as well.”
Whitacre said he wants to help maintain the sewer district’s infrastructure.
“We just can’t be doing patchwork on what they already have,” he said.
Making sure clammers can effectively do their job is important, Whitacre said.
“The clammers are near and dear to me, and I want to make sure the facility runs as smoothly as possible so the guys can continue to do their job,” he said.
Earl Rowe Jr., who is also a candidate for the sewer board, did not return several phone calls requesting an interview.
There are three seats up for election on the Town Council. Councilor Scott Gleeson is seeking re-election in District 1 and John Egan is running for an at-large seat, both for three-year terms. Peter Anzuini is running for a one-year term in District 3.
Gleeson, 47, owns North Atlantic Insurance Associates and has lived in Freeport since 2004. He is the council vice chairman and is running for his third term. During his next term, Gleeson hopes to continue keeping strong lines of communication with residents open.
“I really enjoy trying to have transparency in government, and trying to be as accessible as possible,” he said.
Gleeson said he also wants to continue creating responsible budgets with minimal tax impacts.
Egan, 52, is the head of lending at Coastal Enterprises in Brunswick and has lived in Freeport for 18 years. He has served on the town’s Village Planning Committee and the Freeport Housing Trust. Egan said he’s running for Town Council because he wants to help maintain Freeport’s strengths as a community.
“I’m interested in getting on the council because we have a healthy community and that doesn’t happen by accident,” he said.
Egan said he’s like to explore making Wi-Fi a public utility in town, and help attract a more diverse population to Freeport. He said his background in finance will be useful when creating the town budget.
Anzuini, 69, is a retired financial and manufacturing project manager and has lived in Freeport for 35 years. He said he’d like to serve on the council so he can help residents become more aware of the issues in town.
“I’d like to really understand the issues the town is facing and communicate those in ways people can understand,” he said.
Anzuini said he’d also like to address the concerns of residents in District 3.
“How is the third district really benefiting from tourism?” he said. “How do overall Freeport strategies tie to third district needs?”
There are two seats up for election on the Regional School Unit 5 Board of Directors. Valy Steverlynck, 45, is seeking a third term. She owns and operates an oyster farm and has lived in town for 15 years. She has three children in the school district.
“What I’ve enjoyed most is contributing to the important initiatives before the district,” Steverlynck said. She said this includes state-mandated policies as well as the board’s attempt at having stronger external communications.
In her next term, Steverlynck said she wants to continue bringing together the RSU following Freeport’s failed attempt to withdraw from the district in 2014. She said she wants to “move beyond that and unify the district more.”
Steverlynck said she also wants to see the board continue offering support to the new administrators in place this year, including the new superintendent, Becky Foley. She also wants to see the proposal to create a turf field at the high school approved.
Sarah Woodard, a fundraiser and social worker, is running for the other seat on the RSU 5 board. She has lived in Freeport for four years and has two children, one of whom is a student in the district; the other is not yet school-age.
“As I have young children, helping to improve the school system is personally important,” Woodard said. “As a social worker, I have worked with both younger kiddos and teenagers, and feel I might have something to contribute in ensuring their well-being.”
If elected, Woodard said she wants to work on staff and student retention because the RSU has “been a bit of a revolving door lately.”
“I hope to be a part of an effort to strengthen our schools in order to attract and retain the best teachers and administrators … to retain students who might otherwise go to schools outside of the RSU, and to attract new families to Freeport,” she said.
Woodard added that she supports building a new turf track and field.
The charter amendment included on the June 14 ballot didn’t pass because not enough votes were cast. Residents voted 1,091 to 168 in favor of the amendment, but 1,413 votes were needed for the results to be accepted.
“The law states that no charter amendment may become effective unless the total votes cast for and against the question equal or exceed 30 percent of the total votes cast for the office of governor in the municipality at the most recent gubernatorial election,” Town Clerk Christine Wolfe said in June.
According to Wolfe, 1,314 people voted in June, which is 20 percent of the town’s registered voters.
If the amendment passes, residents would no longer have to go to Town Hall to sign petitions, which could then could be circulated around town. Under the existing rules, petitions have to be signed at Town Hall in the presence of the clerk.