As we start off the new year, Saco Citizens for Sensible Government (SCSG) would like to inform the citizens of Saco of committee changes, provide a recap of our work in 2015 and our focus in 2016.

Effective Jan. 1, John Harkins is the newly-elected chairperson. Bette Brunswick and Stephen Shiman are the newly-elected co-chairs and their focus is on municipal and educational needs in Saco, respectively. Former chairperson Scott Thibeau moves to the public relations position and Barbara Colman is the new secretary. These five people make up the executive committee for SCSG, a non-partisan public organization with a total active member count of 11.

2015 Recap

SCSG is proud of our accomplishments in 2015. On taxes, while the mill rate did increase this was a direct result of the state increasing the maximum allowable tuition, forcing the school budget to increase in order to pay Thornton Academy. On the municipal side, the mill rate increased by only .08 from the proposed .52.

In 2015, Saco saw a change with the city administrator’s position. SCSG and other citizens of Saco were outraged and spirited regarding the benefit package Rick Michaud received. Ultimately, this unrest led to his resignation. An opportunity was paved for a new, aggressive, younger city administrator being appointed, Kevin Sutherland. SCSG applauds the City Council for hiring him.

In October, we witnessed over 150 people attend our first “Meet Your Candidate Forum” night at Thornton Academy. After the elections, several changes occurred on the City Council with new councilors elected in wards, 2, 3 and 5 and the election of Ron Michaud as Mayor.

In 2015, the group worked closely with then Mayor Pilon and Councilors Precourt and Roche to reintroduce public comments on the agenda thus allowing the public to address concerns to the Council at council meetings. This has been further expanded to include public comments, limit of three minutes, on items on the agenda each meeting in 2016.

Lastly, Saco hired a new Superintendent for our school system for grades K-8. Dominique DePatsy came to us from a like size school system. He brings experience, energy and a youthful mindset to get things accomplished.

Looking back on 2015, SCSG believes there were more changes for the positive then there has been in any of the ten prior years.

As we look forward to the first half of 2016, there are three primary goals of our committee: increase membership in SCSG allowing more individuals to work on items we feel will help the Saco taxpayer; scrutinize the upcoming budgets of the city and school for fiscal year 2016-2017 and to pressure the Council to lower the mill rate or at the very least keep it flat – and lastly, work with the school board and Superintendent DePatsy on the construction options for our elementary schools.

Scott Thibeau
Public Relations, SCSG