Falmouth voters will choose among five candidates to fill three seats on the Town Council.

The candidates are Jim Chaousis, Janice de Lima, Tommy Johnson, Valentine Sheldon and Jay Trickett. Only two of them – Chaousis and de Lima – have previously sought elected office, and neither one was elected.

Councilor Claudia King is prevented by term limits from seeking re-election, and councilors Andrea Ferrante and Aaron Svedlow chose not to run again.

Voting on June 11 will be held from  7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Falmouth High School.

Chaousis said he is running for the Town Council because he believes his 10 years in municipal government administration give him the necessary experience.

“There are some good ideas for running a town government out there and I would like to bring those to Falmouth,” he said.

He said the biggest issue facing Falmouth is not zoning and growth, but fiscal restraint. Chaousis said he strongly believes in what he called “lean and efficient” government, where the focus is on “principal services first.”

Those services include public safety and infrastructure, he said, although he also warned “it’s easy to cross the line into overspending if you’re not paying attention.”

Chaousis said zoning and growth management are complicated and there’s no simple formula to use. But he called a July 2016 rezoning by the town a “bad decision,” where the outcome was unanticipated.

Chaousis acknowledged a censure he received from the International City/County Management Association in 2015 for what he called “an embarrassing mistake.” According to a report in the Bangor Daily News at the time, Chaousis used public money from the town of Boothbay to pay his wife’s and daughter’s cellphone bills.

Chaousis said he took the discipline, as well as the public scrutiny that came with it, and reiterated that he “didn’t do anything illegal or intentional, it was a mistake.”

De Lima said she is running for Town Council because she believes she can bring a wealth of experience to the job and wants to “encourage more diversity of thought and ideas.”

“We need broad perspectives and sustainable decision making,” she said.

With her banking background, she described herself as fiscally responsible. She said she wants to ensure that Falmouth is prudent and optimizes the money it spends.

De Lima also said she is running because she feels that “we need to bring back a level of civility and respect in our public discourse.”

De Lima said she wants to make aging in place a high priority, and when it comes to economic development her goal is to make it manageable, sustainable and “right for everyone,” which means addressing the “legitimate concerns.”

Those include the impacts of traffic, noise and lighting, as well as impact on the environment. With a changing climate, de Lima said it’s particularly important that Falmouth require developers to “build for the changing environment.”

De Lima said one of the biggest concerns voters are voicing is the impact of traffic and congestion, particularly along Route 1. She said because Falmouth is not the only community experiencing this problem, it would make sense to take a regional approach that should include public transit and developing a “long-term strategy” for the area’s transportation needs.

Johnson said he is running for Town Council because he wants to provide the community with “open and honest representation” and he has “strong ideas on growth and development.”

He also said he’s concerned about a lack of communication from town leaders to residents. He said town councilors “need to represent the entire town and be available” so that a resident can go to any councilor and “have their voice heard.”

He said schools are of the utmost importance and his goal is to “maintain their high level of excellence.”

When it comes to economic development, Johnson said the town needs “a thoughtful, go-slow approach,” where leaders take into account what services the town already has and what the local market can bear.

Another important issue to Johnson is being “more mindful of the need for more diverse housing,” including affordable workforce housing that could be purchased by teachers or firefighters.

And, he said, any future development, whether it’s commercial or residential, must include open space.

However, he said he’s also in favor of “smart growth” as a way to broaden the tax base.

Sheldon said he is running for Town Council because he wants Falmouth to implement “sound, resident-friendly land use policies” and wants to be sure the town is making “informed” budget decisions.

Sheldon, who created the Save Falmouth website, said he also feels he’s been “doing good work in representing residents” over the past few months and wants to continue to do that.

He said the biggest issue facing Falmouth is managing growth. “That’s front and center,” Sheldon said. “Growth and how we want to grow will determine everything. I’ve talked to hundreds and hundreds of people and their No. 1 concern is growth.”

He said he also wants to see a “stronger process and guidelines that govern how the town will handle large (development projects).”

Like Johnson, Sheldon said he thinks a lack of communication with residents is another big issue that must be tackled.

He said open communication is key and has suggested that Falmouth look into creating an app for residents that would keep them updated not just about municipal affairs, but community events and school functions.

When it comes to the schools, Sheldon said it’s imperative that impact on the School Department be considered whenever any large development project is being considered.

But he also said the town must also require information about how such projects would impact other things, such as traffic, the environment and the town’s public infrastructure.

Trickett said he is running for Town Council because he has a “fair amount of expertise” in the areas of land use and zoning, which have been front-burner issues in Falmouth for more than a year, and he’d like to be “part of resolving those issues in a win-win way.”

He said he is also concerned that the town has “had a hard time making people feel part of the process” and would like to tackle issues in a collaborative way, leaving room for “constructive engagement.”

When it comes to budgeting, Trickett said he would like to “engage the public at every phase, so they can feel comfortable they’re getting excellent public services at good value.”

Trickett said “Falmouth is a wonderful place to live and I’m thrilled with the schools, so I don’t want to change things in any drastic way. I’m not agenda driven.”

Even so, he said, there is definitely room for improvement when it comes to decision making and the processes used to assess large development projects.

Trickett also said a lack of communication has led to a loss of confidence in and distrust of town leaders. “It’s hard to restore credibility once it’s lost,” he said.

Big issues, he said, include the state of town roads, managing growth and communicating better. The latter, he said, requires councilors to be “better equipped and better informed in advance” so that they can answer residents’ questions.

Kate Irish Collins – 780-9097

[email protected]

Twitter: @KIrishCollins


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