On July 14, citizens in Lincolnville will vote for two candidates, Josh Gerritsen and Mike Ray, to serve a three-year term on the Lincolnville Board of Selectmen. While these candidates are the only two running for the two open seats (Jonathan Fishman is not seeking reelection) Penobscot Bay Pilot has posed questions to each candidate, providing the opportunity for the public to better understand their position on issues important to the town and region.
Please provide a biography of yourself
I'm 63, having moved from Ohio to Midcoast Maine in 1989. I've lived in Camden, West Rockport, Warren Village and, for the last 19 years, in Lincolville. I've worked a variety of jobs: rigging work at a boatyard; counseling for the developmentally disabled; guiding; landscaping; restaurant work; public transportation; and building the house my wife Barbara and I live in. I've also enjoyed serving on some Town Committees in Lincolville: Planning Board; Land Use Committee; Conservation Commission; and the newly-formed Broadband Committee.
What are the 3 most pressing issues facing Lincolnville today, and how would you like to see them resolved?
COVID-19 (and future pandemics): This has financially hurt businesses and families, caused town revenues to decrease, and put the health of our neighbors at risk. While resolving a virus isn't something Selectmen do, mitigating it's effects requires following the guidance of public health care workers and our elected representatives, minimizing its impact on the taxpayers' investment, and keeping in touch with our neighbors.
Fragile levels of civic engagement: Lincolville is very fortunate in having excellent people as employees and volunteers assisting the Town. It needs to keep participation in community affairs and governance strong in the face of competing interests. I'd like to see the Town more aggressively encourage and assist participation in volunteerism; and continue to help it's employees in doing their jobs. This will keep democracy healthy while going a long way to ensue that all taxpayers get the best bang for their buck.
Infrastructure needs: Physical infrastructure gets very good routine maintenance here in town. Still, some decisions about sizable overhauls are coming down the pike - roads, education costs, the Harbor, waste management, and broadband accessibility. To the extent that any of these become "pressing" concerns, then you get ahead of the problem before it becomes a problem. (Sounds simple, but rarely is.)
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?
By study and close examination, certainly. But in large part, by learning from people who've been doing just this for years. When existing revenues and expenses recommend against particular funding requests, then often you hope to see that the pain is shared equally across the board. If not, one goes with what is needed most. (Again, study and examination.)
How do you see Lincolnville positioned in the larger regional Midcoast economy?
In addition to our businesses, Lincolnville shares in a school system, E.M.S., and waste management, policing and other services. All of this makes Lincolnville more than just a pit-stop for tourists on their way to Acadia. At least that person from a neighboring community who draws a paycheck from one of these employers might think so.
How do you envision the future of solid waste processing for the four towns; i.e., recycling, waste stream reduction?
We'll see what options are out there as our current contract through Mid Coast Solid Waste runs out. Right now I'm impressed with the way MCSWC handles things. They are rightly focused on both good financial and good environmental stewardship.
Hopefully, conditions will allow projects like on-site food composting, re-using clothing and the Swap Shop to expand. That said, personal responsibility is both a cost-saver and the name of the game. So I'd like to see more education on how we can be better conduits of our waste.
How best should all Lincolnville citizens access high-speed, broadband internet?
The Broadband Committee in town is looking at that now. There are plenty of options out there, and the people in town, either as individual consumers or as a legislative body, will decide what's best. But no matter what and how one chooses, it will involve some money. As savings or as additional costs. Hopefully, it will result in more people being able to reliably use this tool.
What do you see as the future of EMS service for Lincolnville?
I don't know what that might look like. I do know that our current EMS provider is meeting all of its contractual obligations. People in town may want more than that, or they may be satisfied. I look forward to learning about then presenting the options that will be available when that time comes.
How would you like to see the new park between the shore and Route 1 be used, and how should it ongoing maintenance be funded?
If the voters approve allowing the Board of Selectmen to pursue the swap, and if after due diligence the Board and Coastal Mountains Land Trust agree to a deal, then Lincolnville can sit back for a brief period and congratulate itself on being in on a win-win. And then get to work figuring out how best to use it. I'd like to see that land used as pretty much just that - a park - that will let town residents (and others) feel a bit of the sea breeze, catch a moon rise over the bay. and maybe even spot that seal way out there.
Paying for maintenance is going to cost the taxpayers a reasonable amount, I think, but we will see how much after planning.
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?
I've paddled around the coast and inland both recreationally and to pay my rent. That has let me see some of what I value in the area, and perhaps what others might value in the area. But you can't miss some of the impact human activity has. As outdoor traffic increases, keeping this area environmentally healthy means education on the importance of leaving no trace, regular monitoring of resources, and some common-sense regulation.
Free space! Please add additional thoughts as you see fit.
Thanks very much for the opportunity. Please go out there and vote. There's a lot out there on the ballot affecting our lives. Always is.