On July 14, voters in Camden will choose two of three candidates to serve a three-year term on the Camden Select Board. 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 concise biography of yourself.
I was born and raised in Southern Maine, but was fortunate to move Down East with Sarah, my wife, in 2002. We’ve renovated homes in Surry and Camden and have been active in the community. I have served on the budget committee, and have been a Snow Bowl volunteer most of the last 10 years.
My schooling and training includes the Cape Elizabeth Public School system, and a degree in printmaking and photography from the Maine College of Art.
I worked in the photo industry for two decades. I have also worked in building material and toy retail management positions, and have worked in marketing in various industries. Most recently I was a certified phlebotomist with Maine Health, working for NordX labs for five years.
I’ve taught continuing education photo classes in various Maine counties, worked as a digital archivist for regional museums and have facilitated 4 ‘Death Cafes,’ where end of life issues are discussed.
During the past seven years, I have volunteered at the SnowBowl as a steward. We help visitors and answer questions, like, “which are the best trails” and, “where do we buy tickets and rent equipment?”
In 2018, I became a charter member of the Satellite Club of West Bay Rotary. Service to others is an important part of my life and that I plan to continue as a member of the Camden Select Board.
What are the 3 most pressing issues facing Camden today, and how would you like to see them resolved?
- Development of affordable housing (e.g., at Sagamore Farms ) and addressing the other issues in the 2017 Comprehensive Plan
- Optimal Management of natural resources (Eg, Camden Snowbowl, Megunticook Lake, Hosmer Pond) in collaboration with neighboring towns, while focusing on economic development.
- Following on the work of the Tannery Park neighborhood group, optimize this critical community asset for recreational and economic purposes.
Camden elections and 2020 Town Meeting during COVID-19 pandemic
Camden is holding municipal, school budget and state elections on July 14.
In an unprecedented move, Camden will also hold its annual town meeting on July 14, as well, with all warrant articles appearing before voters at the ballot box.
This is a one-time phenomenon, the town hopes, as municipalities across the state cope with a pandemic of COVID-19.
Town Meeting will be conducted by secret ballot only. There will be no open floor town meeting in 2020.
Penobscot Bay Pilot has posed questions to each candidate running for the Camden Select Board, providing the opportunity for the public to better understand their position on issues important to the town and region.
There are two seats available on the Select Board, each representing three-year terms.
Seeing reelection are Robert Falciani and Alison McKellar, while Peter Lindquist has also entered the race.
The candidates have responded with their individual written answers.
How will you protect the Camden taxpayer as you shape and govern a municipal budget, and juggle various interests that request municipal funding throughout the year?
A. Improve overall health and lower personnel costs using programs like those offered by the Maine Municipal Association; e.g., Enroll Camden in a Safety and Health for Public Employees program, as Rockport has, to reduce insurance costs and improve town employee health. Also, offer programs like “Hands Only CPR” training for all employees and citizens through Knox EMS to save dollars, and lives.
B. Thoughtful work and cost-saving ideas involved in that effort, where feasible.
Work to incorporate the 2017 Comprehensive Plan into projects to capitalize on the
C. Maximize revenue opportunities available through resources like the Camden Snow Bowl on a four-season basis, to increase town revenues as well as benefit local vendors.
Camden has refined and promoted itself as part of an outdoor recreational economy for several years. Do you believe that is worth continuing, and if so, how so?
Camden has more parks than any other Maine town, and the jewel in its crown is the Snow Bowl. The various outdoor activities at the Snow Bowl facility will increase as more and more people get outside for healthy activity in the wake of pandemic.
The Camden Select Board should prioritize and optimize the use of these kinds of resources during all seasons and seek opportunities to draw people to enjoy it and increase related economic activity for the region.
How do you see Camden positioned in the larger regional Midcoast economy?
Camden has the mountains, harbor and parks that many come to enjoy, either as residents or visitors. We have the ability to make Camden's outdoor activities the draw that complements Rockland’s museums, and Belfast’s creative economy and waterfront.
What municipal committee would you like to be a liaison to, and why?
Personnel — It is important for the town to have policies, procedures and job descriptions that help it’s employees do their jobs efficiently, safely and effectively.
The Parks and Rec Committee — The economic and environmental value of these resources can be a pivotal part of the continued development of this community as a place to work, live and play. My experience at the Snow Bowl has shown me that the more we can do to make these resources attractive and enjoyable because they are well managed, the more local businesses will benefit and make Camden even more attractive to potential new residents.
How will you protect the town-owned Ragged Mountain Recreation Area from overuse as the region becomes more attractive to biking, skiing and hiking?
Continue to expand the use of volunteers as stewards and safety personnel to help educate and enforce on the rules that protect this resource. Promote the use of shuttles from town to manage the parking impact, as we do during Toboggan Nationals.
Collaborate with environmentally-minded organizations like CMLT, MCNEMBA, YMCA, GRLT and BCM that are run with strong governance and provide oversight. Expand volunteer roles and strengthen their management to create a year-round volunteer program.
How do you envision the future of solid waste processing for the four towns; i.e., recycling, waste stream reduction?
Continue the expansion of services like composting and recycling, to increase available revenues from these waste streams, and reduce tipping fees by lowering volume requiring disposal. For users, optimize education content and accessibility via web-site and seminars held at the MCSW transfer station.
What is the future of alternative energy municipal production and service for Camden?
This should be approached regionally, with our neighboring communities, like Lincolnville and Rockport, because it’s not an issue any of us face alone, but can address on a larger, more meaningful scale.. Cost sharing, along with income sharing, could help all of the towns in the area build energy producing facilities, like solar power, that then provide a pro-rata return to all those participating towns
How best should all Camden citizens access high-speed, broadband internet?
Regional efforts to expand access to high-speed internet should be coordinated among all of the towns on the West Bay, including Camden and Rockport. I
f the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that our children’s education will likely depend on it to an increasing degree. Finding ways to tie into or build upon the services that large data users employ (Eg., Lyman-Morse, Quarry Hill, Allen Agency) and take advantage of economies of scale to justify a service provider increasing access while maintaining affordability.
Camden and Rockport now share a police chief and an assessor. Are there other cost-sharing arrangements that Camden could do, with Rockport or other towns, to spread the staffing responsibilities; e.g., share a planner? Public works director?
Any of the professional roles that cannot be justified on a full-time basis for Camden are appropriately potential cost-sharing arrangements with other similarly situated towns. With collaborative oversight, a professional can serve more than one municipality, as we do with attorneys, chief Gagne and our assessor.
What do you see as the future of EMS service for Camden?
Having a history in the healthcare industry, and married to a first-responder, I know the important role of emergency treatment and transport. I watched the last years of Camden First Aid and attended the meetings that led up to the contract with North East. We can work with our surrounding towns to find a service that reliably, efficiently and effectively delivers this critical service at a reasonable cost to Camden residents.
Free space! Please add additional thoughts as you see fit.
Lindquist, Peter 207-446-1751, email@example.com