SANFORD — It appears there is early interest in this year’s elections for City Council, as evidenced by a flurry of folks taking out nomination papers.

So far, six people have signaled an interest in running for city council – and several more could emerge prior to the deadline for papers to be filed.

In the end however, it is those who return them to the City Clerk’s office by the 4:30 p.m. Sept. 21 deadline – who will be on the ballot on election day, Nov. 3.

As of about 2 p.m. Monday, a former state senator, two council incumbents, a former councilor and some others were out there, papers in hand, looking for at least 50 signatures to qualify for the ballot.

Former State Sen. John Tuttle, Lucas Lanigan and Diane Connolly are each mulling bids for one, 1-year term.

But both Lanigan and Connolly are also eyeing runs for one of two 3-year terms.

In the end, they may only file papers for one position.

Incumbents Fred Smith and Richard Wilkins have taken out nomination papers for three year terms, as has Springvale resident Leonard Kinney. As of Monday, incumbent Alan Walsh hadn’t yet thrown his hat into the ring.

“I’m going for the gusto,” said Smith, an incumbent seeking his second term on the council. Smith said he was the first of the current council to signal a run for reelection, and added he didn’t feel it would be fair to the others to take out papers for two different offices. Seeking a three year term “sends a clear message to the voters,” Smith said. An advocate for property maintenance laws, Smith pointed out that the Maine Legislature recently passed a law that helps municipalities deal with unoccupied unsightly properties, but dealing with occupied premises is still difficult. He said one Sanford neighborhood has waited 20 years for action on an unsightly property – too long, Smith said.

Tuttle, a longtime state legislator who lost his reelection bid for state Senate a year ago, said he tried retirement and didn’t like it. A former selectmen in the 1980s, Tuttle said he spoke to his family members before taking out nomination papers for the one year seat.

“I want to see if I like it,” he said of his decision to seek a one year term.

Connolly, who was appointed to a council vacancy until an election to fill the seat took place last year, said she’s in the running to see some improvements around the community come to fruition. Connolly lost a bid last fall for election to the partial term to which she had been appointed. She took out papers for both the one and three year terms this time, because she said, she hadn’t quite made up her mind about which one to pursue.

Both Connolly and Lanigan are members of the Sanford Planning Board.

As of Monday, no one had taken out papers for Sanford School Committee. A three year term, currently filled by chairman Jonathan Mapes, expires Dec. 31.

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 324-4444 (local call in Sanford) or 282-1535, ext. 327 or [email protected]

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