Politics

October 25, 2013

Seven running for three Old Orchard Beach council seats

Voters also will decide if they want to reduce the number of town councilors.

By Gillian Graham ggraham@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

Bird also wants to focus on the town’s natural areas and address pollution issues at Goosefare Brook.

Bird, who was on the charter commission that proposed the new size of the council, believes it is too soon to revisit the issue.

“It’s basically an emotional reaction. We had a fight because of personalities and a struggle for control. It had nothing to do with the number of councilors,” Bird said. “We had these disagreements when it was five councilors If we get good people who can work together, the size doesn’t matter.”

Koenigs, 49, believes his experience as a professional civil engineer will benefit the town with the budget process and as it develops and adopts a comprehensive plan starting in 2014.

“We need to plan for the long term and not be shortsighted in our capital improvement projects from prioritizing, financing, implementation and maintenance,” he said.

Koenigs said he is focused on the open spaces in town and on the Old Orchard Beach to Eastern Trail connector trail.

“I think it’s important for us as a community to improve our infrastructure and provide for all citizens safe recreational facilities and open spaces, including walking and hiking trails, bike lanes on select roadways, and sidewalks,” he said.

Koenigs does not favor changing the number of town councilors every year and said he is fine with either five or seven members.

“I would simply like our community to move beyond quibbling over politics of governance and instead focus our time and energies on the fiscal future and wellness of our town,” he said.

Town Councilor Roxanne Frenette is not running for re-election for the one-year term, ensuring there will be at least one new town councilor.

Greenlee, 54, is making his second run for office because he wants to “actually represent the people.”

“I think people are looking for that right now,” he said. “As an American Indian, I’ve always had councils and circles where everyone is even. I believe you treat everyone equally and you speak together, but you always have to remember who you represent.”

A conservationist, Greenlee said he wants to take care of the town’s woodlands by carefully approaching future development. He wants to encourage more community involvement, especially among youths.

Greenlee did not take a position on the council size issue, saying he will support the voice of the citizens who vote Nov. 5.

“To get along in this town, it doesn’t matter whether it’s five or seven, it matters what people are on the council working together,” he said.

Kelly, a 49-year-old military veteran, said he can bring strong leadership to the council as it continues the “great job” it has done since June. One of his main concerns is the possibility of Saco and Dayton leaving the regional school unit they share with Old Orchard Beach.

“That could be a pretty big strain on the town,” he said. “We need to do what we can to mitigate any financial burden we’d have to pick up.”

If elected, Kelly said he would like to look at creating a mandatory recycling program and finding ways to increase revenue and add jobs.

“I thing we should constantly look at ways to better the town,” he said. “In the long run, we need to look at a more permanent way to get revenue year-round, other than from residents alone. That could mean more industrial or manufacturing businesses. If we can offer year-round employment to residents, the town will grow.”

Kelly said he initially opposed increasing the size of the council, but now supports keeping it at seven “to see how it works out.”

Tousignant, who served as vice chairman of the Town Council from 2008-12, did not respond to interview requests.

Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at:

ggraham@pressherald.com.

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