Penobscot Bay Pilot has posed questions to each candidate running for Lincolnville Select Board in the Dec. 15 special election, providing the opportunity for the public to better understand their positions on issues. The seat opened in mid-September when Selectman David Barrows passed in a tragic accident. Jordan Barnett-Parker and Jason Trundy are vying for the open seat on the board. Candidates responding with their individual written answers will have their responses stored in the Pilot’s 2020 Election Resource Guide.
1. Please provide a biography of yourself.
I was born in Brooklyn, New York, and moved to Maine with my family when I was 10 years old. We moved into a house in Camden, which was literally a few hundred feet from the Lincolnville town line. I attended the old CRMS and CRHS schools and graduated in 1999.
My family built and ran Hole in the Wall Bagels in Rockland, where we all worked together as a family for 22 years. After high school, I earned my bachelor’s from the University of Maine, and went on to study at the University of Salzburg in Austria. I then moved to Germany to complete my master’s training and certification in gold and silversmithing, as well as my credentials to teach in Germany.
I moved back to the USA in late 2008, and began working around the country in different studios. After teaching at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, I felt it was time to stop moving around and set my roots down. I knew immediately that I wanted to move back home to Lincolnville. Although my family lived in Camden, all of my friends and teammates lived in Lincolnville. It was always my home, and my favorite place to be.
I established my business in Lincolnville in 2013. While working at the now-closed Cappy’s Bakery I met my wife Marissa Kelly (now Barnett-Parker) and we were married in 2019 at Point Lookout, where we both also worked part time cooking and baking. I have coached local middle school sports and have taken on local students as apprentices in my metalsmithing studio. I also currently serve on the Lincolnville Budget Committee.
2. What are the three most pressing issues facing Lincolnville today, and how would you like to see them resolved?
I believe that Lincolnville’s most pressing issue is similar to what every town and city in America faces right now: How do we protect our residents and our economy during this global pandemic? We need to make sure that local funds are spent wisely and effectively, since revenue streams are uncertain and can dry up without warning. In addition, lack of internet service is an tremendous problem for Maine Lincolnville resident. Even when it is available, it does not meet the minimum requirements set out by the FCC (which are already painfully low standards).
There are a lot of small business owners who depend on the internet to make sales and feed their families. At a time when countless students and workers have been sent home to comply with COVID-19 regulations, Internet connectivity is no longer a luxury. It is a necessity. This is not about streaming Netflix in high definition; this is about a mother with a small child who is trying to run a business from home, but has to drive several miles away in order to a get good enough cell reception, so that she can take and fulfill basic orders to keep her business afloat.
People have been waiting literally for years to hook up internet to these homes. They are not even given an option, or an installation cost (even if that cost ranges from $2,500 to $20,000, which it does). How can anyone be on a level playing field when they do not have Internet access?
Another major concern of mine, is the fact that there is no longer a committee to oversee and update the Town's comprehensive plan. The plan itself is from 2006, and we can all agree that we are living in much different times now. We need to protect the town and its residents from outside forces coming into Lincolnville, buying huge swaths of land, and creating huge subdivisions. The town is left vulnerable when the comprehensive plan is not an evolving plan that adjusts to the different challenges and needs that arise.
3. How will you protect the Lincolnville taxpayer as you shape and govern a municipal budget, and juggle various interests that request municipal funding throughout the year?
I will work to protect Lincolnville taxpayers by listening to experts, and the citizens themselves, and making frugal decisions. I firmly believe that taxpayer money should be spent very wisely, particularly at a time when some many Lincolnville residents are struggling and property taxes present such a burden. I also believe it is important to invest in infrastructure improvements that will save the town money and aggravation in the future.
For example, I did not find it appropriate to approve a $15,000 resurfacing of the tennis courts, when our compensation rate for the fire department is so low. As a member of the budget committee, I know in intimate detail how much the town spends and on what. That having been said, I am proud that we were able to give all local taxpayers a meaningful reduction in property taxes this year. This shows that smart spending leads to savings.
4. How do you see Lincolnville positioned in the larger regional Midcoast economy?
I often hear people say “there are no businesses in Lincolnville.” That couldn't be further from the truth. While Lincolnville does not have the brick and mortar Main Street that neighboring towns have, we have an very robust business community.
These businesses are almost all self owned, and self run. We have farmers, craftspeople of all kinds, mechanics, construction companies, electrical companies, plumbers and so much more. These small businesses need our help to grow, and to have the same basic opportunities as businesses in our neighboring towns have.
I believe Lincolnville is well positioned to be a hub for small businesses and micro businesses because we have a wonderful quality of life, good schools and beautiful scenery. But we need to provide a fertile ground for these businesses to thrive. Investing in high speed Internet would be a great start!
5. Where do you enjoy spending time in the Lincolnville community?
Ducktrap is my favorite spot in the world. I remember the first time my friends brought me down there as a young boy, and it has never lost it's magic for me. I love to take the boat out on Norton's Pond, and walk the roads with my wife. Is there anywhere better to hunt than Lincolnville? I love getting out on the kayak hunting for some delicious mallards, or beautiful woodies, and thanks to my wife’s family (the Kellys) gearing up and getting out in our woods to hunt for that elusive and tasty deer has become a yearly tradition. The great thing about Lincolnville, is that you could throw a dart at a map of it and anywhere it lands will be a pristine and special area to explore.
6. Since the school is the major beneficiary of Lincolnville's property tax dollars, would you work to have more interaction between the Select Board and the School Board, particularly on building and grounds issues?
I think it is paramount for us all to work together as much as humanly possible. We are a linked chain, and what affects one link will inevitably affect the other. It is always better to work in the same direction, rather than pulling in opposite directions.
7. Would you support a municipal initiative to assist homeowners to switch from oil heating to heat pumps?
I would have to see a lot more data and know what kind of program we are talking about. I have both oil heating and a heat pump. I love my heat pump as an air conditioner, but I know how limited its heating abilities are. I have a sub-zero unit which is supposed to function in -10 F. My experience has been that if it is colder than 42 degrees the heat pump loses all of its efficiency, leads to expensive electricity bills, and we still have to supplement with our oil furnace. I question whether a program like this is really appropriate given the other issues that we are dealing with. I believe it is more important to make sure that there are no households that go without heat during the cold months, and that would be a better investment, with more of a positive affect on the community.
8. Would you support an ordinance to prohibit unshielded outdoor lighting for residential construction? Business construction is already required to have shielded lights.
This is another issue that needs more information. I would need to hear all of the details, as well as hearing from effected citizens on how much of an issue this is. I feel that there is such a diverse landscape in Lincolnville, that it wouldn't make sense to make someone who is the only house on a dirt road use shielded light when there is no neighbor to affect. I can understand how this would be a major issue in more densely packed areas, and houses that are directly on a road.
9. The Lincolnville Central School uses approximately $20,000 of heating oil and propane each year. Would you support a change to heating systems in the school to solar electric or other cleaner energy systems that would greatly reduce Lincolnville’s CO2?
I think it is extremely important to constantly be looking at ways to make our infrastructure more efficient and cost effective. We have seen great success with our solar array, and I believe that there is always more that can be done. I would have to see the cost comparisons, both of installation, and of the monthly breakdown in costs in one system vs. the other.
10. Would you vote for funds to hire energy experts to develop a proposal and budget?
It would depend on how much it would cost. I do not like to form an opinion on matters, until I have all of the relevant information, as well as hearing from my fellow townspeople. I leave my mind open so that I can gather as much unbiased information as possible before making any kind of decision.
11. As the Midcoast continues to grow its outdoor and recreational economy, more people and visitors will be boating on lakes and ponds, hiking, and biking. How do you hope to balance demand with environmental protection?
The fact of the matter is that if we do not take care of our natural resources, we will lose them. These are treasured resources not only for the tourists who travel to use them, but for us, the taxpaying citizens of this town who enjoy hiking, boating, hunting, fishing, and many other outdoors activities. The inherent value of our town is linked with our natural resources. It is extremely important that we do all that we can to keep these areas pristine, protected, maintained, and accessible!
12. Free space! Please add additional thoughts as you see fit.
In these moment, it is more important than ever to be open and adaptable, as our situation is changing on a day to day basis. The status quo of business as usual should not be applied to this ever changing world we are living in. We need to listen to our neighbors and act on the things that they tell us is most important to them.
Representing a community is not about one’s own self interests and desires. It is also about standing up for and being the voice of the unheard in our town. Action is needed and it is needed now. People are hurting, struggling, and have no where to turn to so they should be able to turn to their elected representatives. Those representatives should be fighting tooth and nail to help them, and not to just sit in a chair re-enforcing stagnant and ineffective practices.
I want to do things that will directly and positively affect the lives of my neighbors and community members, whom I care deeply about. I want to spend the rest of my life in Lincolnville, and I want everyone who wants to be a part of this community to be able to do so. I have seen many towns and islands lose the backbones of their community due to property tax increases, and wealthy investors buying up all the property, leaving nothing for the working people to buy or rent.
We need elected officials who will work to keep our community vibrant, affordable for working families and welcoming as we deal with new issues affecting our town going into the 2020s. As a selectman, I will be accessible and open to any ideas Lincolnville residents have to make our community better.