STANDISH – Seven Standish residents are vying for three seats on the Town Council.

There are three open-seats: At-Large, Area 2, and Area 4.

In the at-large race, Adam Higgins, Wayne Newbegin and Eric Stanton are running for the seat held by Council Vice Chairman John Sargent, who is running for the Area 4 seat.

Higgins, 36, lives at 198 Blake Road and serves on the School Administrative District 6 Board of Directors.

Higgins is obtaining a master’s degree in community planning and development at the University of Southern Maine’s Muskie School of Public Service.

“It’s a perfect opportunity for someone such as myself who’s studying community planning and development in grad school,” Higgins said. “That’s what the Town Council’s always looking at.”

Higgins said he hopes to make Standish more family friendly. He is also a supporter of the proposed public beach at Harmon’s Beach, as well as a 30-year TIF district established in Standish Corner.

“I think it’s extremely important that we have a workable physical plan for our economic development zone. And, as we move forward, it’s important to balance that growth with investments,” he said. “Ideally the reason why you do economic development is to reduce the tax burden on property owners.”

Newbegin, 76, is a resident of 129 Harmon Beach Road. Newbegin served on the council from 2008 to 2011, the Planning Board from 2005 to 2007, and the Beach Committee since 2006.

Newbegin, who is a member of the Standish Watch Group Board of Directors, said he hopes the council can become more transparent. Newbegin is critical of referendum question No. 1, which would fund a variety of projects, including a 1.3-mile sidewalk through the Village Center.

“The public voted down sidewalks twice,” Newbegin said. “I was a big proponent for the sidewalks. But the people turned it down, and this go-around the sidewalk money is being bundled in with stuff that the town really needs. So people will have to vote for the whole package.”

Newbegin, who believes the town should not withdraw from SAD 6, which was an issue that was raised by Standish town councilors last year, also said that councilors should be restricted to a maximum of two consecutive terms.

“I think they lose perspective,” he said. “You need new ideas.”

Stanton could not be reached for comment.

Area 2

The Area 2 seat, which covers Steep Falls, is held by Karen Thompson, who will not seek re-election. Mike Blanck, 71, the council chairman, is running for the Area 2 seat unopposed. Blanck, who lives at 1 Heath Lane, was elected to one of three at-large seats in 2013. Since Blanck’s term expires in 2016, the council will appoint a replacement following the election.

Blanck said he was ready to represent his own district.

“I represent all of Standish, but I feel I represent those people in my district more,” he said.

One of Blanck’s top priorities is encouraging economic development. In his view, “things are really picking up.”

“I like being on the council,” Blanck said. “I think I’m doing a decent job.”

Area 4

The Area 4 seat, which is near Saint Joseph’s College, is held by Lou Stack, who is not running for re-election. William Orr, Dan Rudy, and John Sargent are running for the seat.

Orr, 80, lives at 32 Kerri Farms Drive. He has served one term on the council in the past. In Orr’s view, Standish is incurring an excessive debt load.

“I think the town’s going in the wrong direction,” Orr said. “They’re incurring a lot of debt and buying everything that moves.”

Orr said he also opposes the sidewalk project, which he characterized as short-sighted.

“Five years from now, 10 years from now, the sidewalks will need replacement or repairs,” he said. “They don’t last forever. The state isn’t going to help them at that time. And just the pure fact of the matter that people voted against the sidewalks last year and now they bundle it with something else to try to pass it.”

Orr said his goal would be to curb “careless” municipal expenditures.

“I would try and curb spending and keep people’s taxes down,” Orr said. “Certainly discourage adding debt every year. I’d like to see all the codes and ordinances to be followed and evenly applied, which I don’t think happens in the town.”

Dan Rudy, 31, lives at 110 Standish Neck Road. He is the head of cider production at the Urban Farm Fermentory in Portland, and worked as secretary for presidential primary candidate Ron Paul’s 1st District political action committee from 2009 to 2011.

“My main motivation is to make sure Standish property taxes stay low,” Rudy said. “My wife and I chose Standish because I believe it’s in a great location. We’re very close to Portland, but we still feel we’re out in the country a little bit.”

Rudy said his goal on the council would be to improve the local business climate, while preserving the town’s character.

“I believe that we can revitalize our downtown by becoming more business-friendly,” he said. “I really enjoy the fact that Standish is a relatively quiet town, but I think we’re in a great location to become more business-friendly.”

Rudy has been trained as a brewer in Belgium and France. He moved to Falmouth in 2005 and Standish in 2009.

Sargent, 64, lives at 5 Hannarin Drive. He served on the Standish Budget Committee, with stints as chairman and vice chairman, from 2006 to 2011, when he was elected to the council. Sargent said he would like to represent the district he lives in and also continue to serve the community.

“The reason I started in the first place is I retired, and one of the councilors at the time approached me and said, ‘What are you doing with your retirement? It’s time to give back to the community you live in,’ ” Sargent said.

Sargent said his goal has always been to make sure every tax dollar is “well spent,” and that the town is forging a bright future for its youth. Sargent said the council has worked together well.

“I’m very proud that we’ve developed good budgets but, more importantly, that even when we as councilors disagree with each other, that we have respect for each other,” he said. “Local government is local, and you have to see these people in the stores and the neighborhood all the time, and you have to work with them to develop good government.”

The Standish municipal election will be held on Tuesday, June 10, from 6 a.m.-8 p.m.


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