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YARMOUTH — Contested elections for the Town Council and School Committee were settled Tuesday, when residents also approved a $28.4 million school budget and added a recall provision to the Town Charter.
Andrew Kittredge and Meghan Casey were elected to three-year terms on the council, replacing David Craig and Jim MacLeod, both of whom had reached their term limits.
Kittredge and Casey received 1,725 and 1,463 votes, respectively, according to unofficial results provided by Town Clerk Jennifer Doten.
Their opponents, Matthew Gredler and Bill Ralph, received 1,230 and 594 votes, respectively.
Incumbent Laura Coroi, political neophyte Katherine Barker Shub, and former Brunswick Town Councilor Newell Augur were elected to three-year terms on the School Committee.
Barker Shub led the winners with 2,094 votes, followed by Augur with 1,498 and Coroi with 1,374; Jeffrey Kew trailed with 1,345 votes.
Committee Chairwoman Jeanne Rapone and Tim Wheaton are stepping down from the board.
Thomas Brennan ran uncontested for a seat on the Water District Board of Trustees and received 2,539 votes.
Kittredge has lived in Yarmouth since he was 6 years old and served on the council from 2011-2017, the last year as chairman. He is vice president of CPM Constructors and serves on the Shellfish Commission and Yarmouth Community Center Steering Committee.
A tired, yet enthused Kittredge said on Wednesday morning after learning the results that he was looking forward to getting back to work for the town.
“I’m thrilled and honored that the citizens of Yarmouth elected me to another term,” he said.
This was Casey’s first time running for elected office. She has lived in Yarmouth for 13 years and teaches Latin at Yarmouth High School.
“I’m particularly happy because I think all four of us ran good, issue-oriented, respectful campaigns,” Casey said. “I look forward to getting to work … and learning the ropes of the Town Council and listening to and learning from (seated councilors).”
Throughout the campaign, Casey faced questions about whether a School Department employee could legally serve on the council, despite an opinion from town attorney Shana Cook Mueller, of Bernstein Shur, in August 2017 that said there aren’t any fiduciary conflicts of interest particular to Casey candidacy.
“I was confident in the attorney opinion and the Yarmouth electorate,” Casey said. “I think my perspective as an educator will be a benefit to the council and I think voters recognized that.”
This will be Coroi’s second three-year term on the committee.
“I’m excited for the next three years to see what new projects we have, especially the school facility project,” Coroi said Wednesday morning.
All eight candidates for both panels stood outside the AmVets Hall on North Road Tuesday to greet voters. Augur noted that at 7:30 p.m., a half hour before polls closed, there was still a line of voters out the door.
“I’m thankful to all of the folks that came out and voted and am really excited to get started,” he said. “I’m looking forward to working with Kate, Laura and the rest of the committee … (and) I hope Jeff continues to stay involved with the school and other town issues. He’s a good guy. When you stand outside of a polling place for 11 hours, you learn a little bit about other folks.”
Coroi also said she was impressed by the camaraderie she saw among candidates at the polls.
“Everyone was supporting one another. There was no animosity,” she said. “That told me that no matter who was elected, they’d be good team players.”
Barker Shub on Wednesday morning said she is honored to join the School Committee.
“I have loved this town and these schools my entire life,” she said. “… Yarmouth has given me and my family so much over the years and I feel very fortunate I can give back in this way.”
The approved school budget, up about $932,000, or 3.9 percent, over current spending, received support from 2,268 voters, while 817 voted against it. According to Town Clerk Jennifer Doten, 89 budget validation ballots were left blank.
When combined with a $12.4 million municipal budget and the county’s net tax rate, citizens can expect a tax increase of 3.9 percent, or 67 cents, from $17.16 to $17.83 per $1,000 of valuation.
The majority of the budget is dedicated to “Priority I,” or “level services,” which allows the School Department to maintain its current level of services to a growing enrollment, funded at around $809,000 more than fiscal year 2018.
The recall provision to allow removal of town councilors through a citizen process passed by a vote of 1,706-1,058.
A petition signed by 500 residents last fall launched the drive after a debate around a resolution drafted by Humphrey, Shannon and Craig in reaction to racially charged violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Shannon, Humphrey and Craig opposed the provision. The council voted 4-2 April 26 to add the question to the ballot.
Town Manager Nat Tupper said the provision will be effective immediately.
Mirrored after one in Falmouth, it requires a recall election after certification of supporting petitions with signatures from at least 20 percent of the town’s registered voters. A recalled councilor can still run as a candidate in a special or regular election to fill the remainder of their term.