Voters will decide two contested races for the Windham Town Council on Nov. 7.

Three candidates are on the ballot for one at-large seat. Incumbent Brett Jones faces a challenge from Clayton Haskell and David Lydon. Jones was appointed to his position in February; the seat was vacant following the death of former Councilor Tommy Gleason in May 2016.

The seat representing the east district is also up for grabs. Rebecca Cummings signed up to run against incumbent David Nadeau, who has been on the council for two terms.

Meanwhile, there are no contested school committee races in Windham. Two candidates signed up to run for two seats on the school committee for RSU 14. They are incumbents Kathryn Brix and Pete Heanssler.

Town Clerk Linda Morrell also is seeking re-election and is unopposed.

In the at-large council race, Jones said he wants to continue the work he has started in his first months on the council. One of his goals is to open more lines of communication between the Town Council and taxpayers; for example, he said he wants to see the town engage more on Facebook.

“We touched on, in not even a year, a lot of interesting and complicated issues,” Jones said. “I really feel that I need to see it through.”

One of those issues is a new public works and school transportation building. The ballot includes a referendum on whether to borrow $9.3 million for that project. Jones said he is not comfortable with that amount of money, but knows the existing building needs to be fixed. The decision is up to the voters now, he said.

Jones said he also wants to help the town come up with a strategy to manage its growth. He said the council has talked about an idea to offer tax incentives to farmers and large land owners who do not sell their land to developers.

“We should be trying to keep rural sections of Windham rural, and work on better developing some of the urban areas in more of a cluster type development,” he said.

Haskell said he is running because he is “just getting upset with the way the council is working.” He wants to see the council be more transparent and answer direct questions about topics like private roads. As Windham grows, Haskell said, town officials have lowered standards for developments and he wants to avoid subdivisions that look like the large Blue Spruce Farm subdivision in Westbrook.

“Having been in town a long time, I’ve seen a whole lot of waste,” Haskell said.

If elected, Haskell said he would focus on keeping costs down in Windham. Every department should be focused on reducing its tax burden on residents, he said. Haskell said he is opposed to the bond for the new public works building.

“They don’t need a lot of this fancy stuff,” Haskell said. “They do need some room down there, but they could do it with a whole lot less cost than they are trying to do.”

Lydon, who has run unsuccessfully for the council in the past, said he wants to represent young families like his. He described himself as a person who cares about the town but is not quick to spend money.

“I feel like there have been the same folks on the council for a long time,” Lydon said. “There needs to be a passing of the torch.”

If elected, Lydon said he would help the town find a balance between longtime residents and newer transplants. He hopes to see redevelopment of properties like the former J.A. Andrew School, and he suggested a community center like the one in Westbrook would be a good fit for the town.

On his own ballot, Lydon said he will personally vote in support of the bond for the public works building because of the challenges the department has faced in its current space. But he is disappointed to see such a high price tag when voters have rejected the project multiple times in the past.

“It’s a win for the town but not necessarily a win for the taxpayer,” Lydon said.

In the east district race, Nadeau is seeking re-election for a third term. He said he wants to keep working on proposals like tax assistance for senior citizens. Nadeau said he has been involved with the council’s finance committee, and he pushed for a “top-down” budget approach, which sets an overarching budget number and then fills in budgets for overall departments. He said that method was adopted by the town because of his advocacy and should help keep increases modest.

“I don’t re-create the wheel, but I look for new ideas,” Nadeau said.

Nadeau said he supports the bond for a new public works building. He argued the existing facility is inadequate, and putting the project off will only make it more expensive in the future.

“If we don’t do it, the price is only going to continue to increase,” Nadeau said.

Cummings recently moved to Windham when her husband retired from the Army. A former Army medic herself, she decided to run for office to give back to the community.

“I’m considering Windham my forever home,” she said. “In the military, we moved so many places. This is where I’m staying, and I want to make the town better.”

Cummings described herself as a fiscal conservative. She said she is still forming her own opinion on the public works building and encouraged voters to attend an open house to learn more. As new development comes to Windham, she said she wants to make sure the town’s green spaces and transportation systems improve, too.

“I should form my decisions based on data, based on how my constituents feel,” she said.

Windham residents will vote at the auxiliary gym in Windham High School at 406 Gray Road. The polls will open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.

Megan Doyle can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: megan_e_doyle

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