A proposal for a sewer system in North Windham, economic growth and development, and lowering taxes are among the top concerns for candidates for a seat on the Windham Town Council.

Two at-large seats are open in Tuesday’s election, as is the South District seat. The North District seat is uncontested.

Councilor Scott Hayman and David Nadeau, a Planning Board member, are running for an at-large seat with a three-year-term.

Hayman, 38, said he wants to continue studying the $67.8 million sewer proposal. If elected, he said, he would promote economic growth and development and improve the town’s infrastructure.

“Property taxes are always an issue,” he said. “We need to encourage more economic growth and retain the businesses we have, so we can keep our residential tax base low.”

Nadeau, 61, says the town is moving in the wrong direction. He said the town is too business-friendly. He questioned a recent zoning change to create a contract zone to redevelop a vacant metal shop on Route 202, across from the community garden and skate park.

“The town is being run by businessmen,” he said. “The present administration is my issue. Zoning is created to protect the town and the residents that buy into it.”

There’s a three-way race to serve one year in the seat that Carol Waig vacated by resigning on Sept. 14.

Thomas Gleason, a retired crane operator who lost a council race last year, is running against Robert Muir, who served six years on the council, and political newcomer Lawrence MacDonald.

Gleason, 62, said he is running again to bring change. He supports the development of a sewer system in North Windham and said he wants to boost the town’s economic growth.

“Growth is very important, but it needs to be done properly,” he said. “We have to protect the town’s agricultural history and open space. I didn’t move to Maine so I could touch my neighbor’s house. I did it so I could have a better life for my family.”

Muir, 63, said the current council lacks experience and needs more balance. He was part of the council that hired engineers to study development of a sewer system in North Windham in 2001 and 2003. He says the town is rushing into the project.

“I’m not sure it’s in the best interest of the residents,” he said. “That’s a 30-year debt service that will show up on the tax rate. They will try to get grants, but I think the lion’s share of the sewer will be paid by the citizens.”

MacDonald said he would support the council’s efforts to draw more businesses to town. He also backs development of a sewer system and a highway bypass in Windham.

“Increasing (the number of) businesses in Windham is very important to our community, he said.

In the South District race, voters will choose between political newcomers Kevin Call and Patrick Corey for a three-year term. Councilor Donna Chapman, whose name will be on the ballot, withdrew her bid for re-election during Tuesday’s council meeting.

Call, 44, who works in technical sales, said he believes the town is going in a positive direction. If elected, he said, he would work to increase the commercial tax base without losing the town’s rural character.

He said a sewer system is inevitable. Call pledged to seek input from residents and look at both sides of the issues.

“I feel that I can help make good, level-headed, unbiased decisions,” he said. “I’m a team player and I think that’s important.”

Corey, 36, is a creative director for Ovoo Creative in Rhode Island. He said he believes that economic growth is the key to Windham’s future but the town lacks vision in the types of businesses it should attract.

Corey recently rallied a group of residents against a proposal to rezone farmland to a medium-density residential district. If elected, he said, he will work with residents to bring their concerns and hardships to the table.

“There are a lot of things going on with the current council that may be legal, but not necessarily ethical,” Corey said. “It breaks down the public’s trust and the council’s ability to do work in a legitimate manner. I’d like to bring civility to the table.”

In the North District, Councilor Peter Busque is running uncontested for another three-year term.

 

Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at: [email protected]