Lincoln Town Council candidates offer different approaches

Posted Nov. 03, 2011, at 8:45 p.m.

LINCOLN, Maine — It is time for a new town office.

That was the word Thursday from Town Councilor Marscella Ireland, who is up for re-election to her second three-year term on Tuesday. Ireland, 62, said that getting town leaders to pursue the construction of a new office was at the top of her agenda if she is elected.

She and former council Chairman Steve Clay, 38, are running unopposed for two three-year seats but could face write-in candidates.

Ireland said she will pursue having the council do a study of the present town office on Main Street and determine, among other things, what the town’s present and short-term future needs are and costs of building or renovating other buildings. Councilors also would need to form a committee to discuss siting and designing the building, if a new one were to be built, she said.

“You have to see what [the] town needed for space because the voters would have to vote on it and hopefully some TIF money could be used,” Ireland said Thursday. “You have to be persistent. You can’t give up on it. You can start it and sometimes let it go because there are other pressing needs.”

“Like last year the town wanted another police officer to be hired,” Ireland said of the town’s eventual addition to the police roster of a position that will function like that of a detective. “You never really know what’s going to come up.”

The town office on Main Street has been generally acknowledged as lacking adequate storage space for records, worker space and access for disabled residents. Its landlord has maintained that the rent is more than reasonably priced and that the building is well-maintained.

“The space for storage [at the town office] is pretty minimal,” Ireland said. “The public works building we have now is one problem resolved and [the] town public safety building seems to be adequate.”

Clay is running for a seat he elected not to pursue last election after 12 years on the council. He said that he has no particular goals to pursue this time.

“I have never had an agenda when I have run in the past and it is the same now,” Clay said. “I just want to help the town move forward with whatever issues may come up.

“For me, issues pop up all the time whenever you are on a council and my only agenda is to do what I think is best for the town on whatever issues that might come up,” he added. “I don’t want to get rid of the town manager or anything like that. I don’t have issues like that [specific goals].”

He said that tiredness was among his reasons for not seeking election last term. Clay was “worn out” by two issues — the industrial wind site that eventually was built off Route 6 near the Lee town line and the new Public Works Department garage. Both were accomplished with some controversy, with different resident groups arguing that the initial garage design would have cost too much to build or that the wind-to-energy site was a bad fit for the area.

“They just demanded a lot of time and a lot of patience. That’s fine, that’s the way it goes, but it just all seemed to hit at once,” Clay said.

He feels refreshed now, he said.

“I missed it. I didn’t miss it for the first six months, but after that, I missed it,” Clay said. “I enjoyed interacting with the town manager and department heads at times, when it was appropriate. We have a good town here and I just like being involved.”

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