BREWER, Maine — Approximately 70 percent of Brewer’s registered voters elected one new city councilor, re-elected another, elected two new school committee members, and limited fireworks usage within city limits.
Brewer Mayor and former Brewer High School Principal Jerry Goss won re-election to a second term with 2,684 votes. Challenger and local postal carrier Matthew Vachon succeeded in his second run at a council seat in two years with 2,383 votes. Longtime City Councilor Larry Doughty, who tallied 2,134 votes, lost his bid for re-election.
In a much more crowded school committee contest, in which six candidates were vying for two seats, two first-time candidates won their first seats. Real estate agent Dani O’Halloran garnered the most votes with 1,825 and Brewer High alumnus Kevin Forrest (Class of 1982) was next with 1,198. Both Forrest, 49, and O’Halloran have children in the Brewer school system.
The rest of the field finished as follows: Tyler Smith totaled 1,092 votes; Brewer High School district trustee and former 12-year school board member Mark Chambers was next with 1,080; foprmer nine-year school board member Mark Farley had 1,079; and real estate business owner Mark Beal followed with 794.
The municipal referendum question asked Brewer residents if they wanted to amend the land use code by adding the following language: “Notwithstanding the foregoing, the use of consumer fireworks shall be restricted to those area(s) of the City of Brewer that permit the discharge of shotguns, muzzle-loaders, black powder guns, revolvers and pistols pursuant to Chaper 35 of the Codes and Ordinances of the city of Brewer.”
Voters approved the change, 3,013 votes to 1,797.
That means residents will be allowed to use fireworks only in outlying areas of the city in which the discharge of firearms is allowed.
The restricted zone includes areas between Day Road in north Brewer to the junction of Elm and Mill streets in south Brewer, and all areas east of Green Point Road, Interstate 395, and Pierce, Lambert and Day roads.
Howard Kroll, Brewer’s City Clerk and registrar of voters, said the unofficial voter turnout for the city was 5,171 out of a possible 7,100 total registered voters.
He said turnout was also strong for voter registration.
“I believe we added almost 500 new voters, which means about 70 percent voter turnout,” he said. “That’s about standard for a presidential election.”
Kroll, who credited a lot of preparation by election officials and workers, said the entire process was almost glitch-free.
“From start to finish, we really had no malfunctions with the machines and very little wait time for people,” said Kroll, who has been city clerk for five years. “I would have to say this was by far the smoothest [ballot] machine election I’ve ever had.”
Kroll said more than 1,300 absentee ballots were submitted, and all were counted Monday. While the total was impressive, it was well short of the record total four years ago.
“We were around 1,900 in 2008,” he said.