June 26, 2019
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York voters support incumbents, 109-acre property purchase in record-breaking day at the polls

Jill Brady | The York Weekly
Jill Brady | The York Weekly
Tyler and Sierra Fogg hold hands after voting at York High School in Saturday's local elections.

YORK, Maine – Selectmen will start negotiating with the Davis family for town purchase of the family’s 109-acre York Village property. There will be no change to the harbor ordinance regarding docks lengths. Incumbents Brenda Alexander and Meredith Schmid will be returning to their seats on the School Committee. And starting next year, the town will ban polystyrene packaging.

Those are some of the highlights of a town election Saturday that saw a record-breaking turnout of voters. Although Town Clerk Mary-Anne Szeniawski did not have a final tally Saturday night, she estimated about 4,900 cast ballots, nearly double the number who voted last year.

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In addition, virtually all the 70 spending articles for both the municipal government and the school department passed muster with voters, most by at least a 2-1 ratio.

In the race for two seats on the York School Committee, people chose the two incumbents over the challenger. Chair Alexander had the most votes, 2,327, while Schmid received 1,921. Neiverth garnered 1,567 votes.

For selectman, political newcomer Marilyn McLaughlin was voted onto the board with 1,894 votes; Kathleen Kluger, who currently serves on the Planning Board, received 1,261 votes.

[After meeting cancellation, locals take complaints about York School Committee to selectmen]

The School Committee race had become high profile in recent weeks, after the Weekly published a story based on school department documents that alleged Neiverth had been intemperate with school personnel on several occasions over a four-year period. Neiverth has strongly denied the characterizations. Schmid several days later said she caused the documents to be sent to the Weekly, which then verified their validity. This set off a further furor, with signs popping up around town saying, “Resign!”

But the School Committee race was hardly the only one that drew crowds to the voting booth. There were also a number of issues on the ballot that had garnered a lot of interest in the weeks and months leading up to the vote. Results on those include:

— Question 4 on the special general ballot was a citizen’s petition that would have removed language from the harbor ordinance that limited docks lengths. It was voted down by a 3-1 margin; 1,077 people voted in favor and 3,028 voted against it.

— A nonbinding question seeking voter interest in having the town purchase the Davis property for no more than $8 million passed by a vote of 2,831 in favor to 1,309 opposed. The selectmen are expected to discuss next steps, including negotiations with the owners, at its meeting May 20.

— Question 3 on the special general ballot passed by a margin of 3,336 in favor to 777 opposed. This is the polystyrene product ban, which will take effect next year.

— Question 45 on the budget ballot asked voters if they wanted school budget purview to revert to a school town meeting, rather than stay with the Budget Committee. Voters clearly like the status quo, defeating the measure by 1,142 in favor to 2,805 opposed.

 



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