April 26, 2018
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Old Town seeks to fill two City Council seats

By Meg Haskell, BDN Staff

OLD TOWN, Maine — Voters on Tuesday will choose from among three candidates seeking to fill two vacancies on the seven-member City Council.

The terms of council members Alan Stormann and James Dufour will expire Dec. 1. Only Dufour is seeking a second term.

Others on the ballot are John Fogel and James Lavoie.

Dufour, 46, is a lawyer and a lifelong resident of Old Town. He lives on Rasle Street. He hopes to use a second term to continue working on economic development projects, which he sees as the most important challenge the city faces.

“We’re on the right path in Old Town; that’s why I’m running again,” he said. Business parks under development at the municipal airport and Penny Road already are attracting interest from manufacturing and technology firms, he said.

While he does not support the Taxpayer Bill of Rights measure on next week’s ballot, Dufour said, continued public interest in the tax-cap proposal “sends a clear message that local elected officials need to take control of taxes.” Municipal service partnerships with neighboring communities are one way to hold down city spending, he said.

Dufour said Old Town residents are all affected by the nearby Juniper Ridge landfill and should be part of a broad “public discussion” about the impact on the community of the state-owned facility.

Fogel, 60, lives on Colonial Drive. Recently retired as the city’s postmaster, Fogel said he is “a big-picture” candidate with a strong interest in promoting economic development, maintaining city services and holding down property taxes.

Fogel said Old Town’s population is getting smaller and that the city should explore the possibility of forming mutual aid partnerships with surrounding communities for services and equipment related to police and fire protection. Some public works functions, such as road repairs, could be contracted out to private firms, he said. These arrangements would allow the city to downsize its payroll without losing services, he said.

“I don’t want anyone to lose their jobs, but when someone retires, their position could be eliminated,” Fogel said.

Fogel said the city can attract new businesses by providing tax breaks and by making the downtown more attractive. He also has a strong interest in the welfare of the city’s elderly residents,

Lavoie, 45, lives on Bacheldar Road. A 25-year veteran of the Old Town Fire Department, Lavoie retired in May as chief of the department. He now works for the Office of Remediation and Waste Management in the state Department of Environmental Protection.

“The taxpayers of Old Town gave me the opportunity to build a 25-year career here,” Lavoie said. “I want to give something back.”

Lavoie said Old Town’s economic development plan must aim to attract smaller firms with “long-term commitments” to the area, including technology and manufacturing companies. Expanding and diversifying the city’s tax base is essential to holding down residents’ property taxes, he said.

He said Old Town should look for ways to maximize revenues from the Juniper Ridge landfill and that he would support the future development of a gas-to-energy plant at the facility.

Residents of Ward 1 may vote at the Old Town Elks Lodge at 37 Fourth St. All others may vote at the Knights of Columbus Hall at 5 Gilman Falls Ave. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday.



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