Hermon to vote on council, school board seats Tuesday

By Dawn Gagnon, BDN Staff
Posted June 10, 2011, at 11:19 p.m.

HERMON, Maine — Voters here will fill two Town Council positions and one school committee seat during local elections set for Tuesday. The polls at Hermon Elementary School will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

In a three-way race for two council openings, incumbent Councilor Anne Freeman is facing a challenge from two former members, Anthony Reynolds and Donald Pelletier.

Following are brief profiles of each of the candidates:

— Freeman has served four nonconsecutive  three-year terms going back to the 1980s, she said this week. The owner of a long-arm machine quilting operation, she said she is seeking re-election because of her interest in local government.

“I’m civic-minded. I like to stay involved,” she said. “I want to know what’s going on in town. I’m pretty much known for standing behind what I say. One of my strongest desires is to be of use to the communitrey.”

Freeman said that if she is re-elected, keeping the property tax rate in check would be among her top priorities. “I think we’re doing great,” she said, adding that Hermon’s tax rate, which now stands at $11.54 per $1,000 in property valuation, is the lowest in Greater Bangor.

“I want to make sure that Hermon is affordable for people who live here and I want to make sure we continue to be careful with our tax rate,” she said. “I think it’s important because it’s a financial struggle for people on fixed incomes.”

— Pelletier, who owns a local construction and excavation company, was elected to a three-year term in 2004.

Pelletier said this week that his decision to return to the council was made with some reluctance.

“I really had no intention of running but seeing what’s happening with our taxes made me change my mind,” he said. If elected, he said, his goal is to bring more transparency to local government and do away with what he believes is unnecessary spending.

Among his concerns is an 11 percent raise town councilors authorized for the town manager a few weeks after last year’s meeting, during which he said voters already had authorized a 3 percent raise.

“Nobody I know of is getting these kinds of raises,” he said. He said he also questions raises authorized for other town administrators.

He also opposes plans to put $160,000 in reserve for possible emergency rescue needs connected to the town’s effort to determine how that service will be provided in the future. The town now is served by Hermon Volunteer Rescue but is also looking at a fire-based model.

“I feel we already have a good rescue service. We don’t need another one.”

— Reynolds served two back-to-back terms on the council before reaching the town’s term limit rule last year, which requires a year off before serving again.

Like Pelletier, he said this week that he did not intend to run again until recently.

The manager of Longrale Park, a 107-unit apartment complex in Bangor, Reynolds said he is dissatisfied by what he sees as local government’s lack of transparency and the same budget problems raised by Pelletier, namely the rescue service issue and raises for municipal employees he believes are out of line.

Reynolds and Pelletier teamed up this week to send out a mass mailing to residents in which they criticized a number of recent council actions.

“We can have lower taxes and still provide the same services for the town of Hermon,” he said. “It’s a tightrope walk but I think we can do it.

No one has stepped forward as a candidate for Ralph Carr’s expiring school committee seat. It likely will be filled through a write-in vote, Town Manager Clinton Deschene said earlier.

CORRECTION:

A previous version of this story stated that Donald Pelletier resigned his council seat six months before his term was up. Pelletier wrote a letter of resignation, but withdrew the resignation.

An earlier version of this story that said former Hermon Town Councilor Donald Pelletier, who is a candidate in Tuesday’s council elections, resigned from the council in February 2007 was inaccurate. Pelletier said he left during a heated discussion and despite a news report published at the time did not in fact resign. He completed his three-year term.

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/06/10/news/bangor/hermon-to-vote-on-council-school-board-seats-tuesday/ printed on August 27, 2014