YARMOUTH — There are four candidates running for two seats on the Town Council in June.

Council Chairman Robert Waeldner is the only incumbent in the race, although Randall Bates has also served on the council before. The other two candidates are political newcomers Peter Fromuth and Chris Tanguay.

The polls will be open 6 a.m.-8 p.m. June 11 at the AMVETS Hall, 148 North Road. Absentee voting is now open. Call the town clerk’s office at 846-9036 for more information, including registering to vote.

Yarmouth will hold its annual Town Meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 4, at the high school. Check-in begins at 6 p.m.; residents must sign in to vote on the warrant articles.

Randall Bates

Bates said he is running for Town Council because he enjoyed serving on the panel during a six-year period, from 2011-2017, and he believes in volunteering and serving the community.

He said the biggest issue in Yarmouth is economic development and now that the town has a development director, it’s time to push forward on commercial projects that can help reduce the tax rate, which in turn should help seniors to stay in town.

He’d like to see Yarmouth build its commercial corridor with more small businesses along Route 1 and Main Street.

“We need to do what we can to keep taxes low and help keep people here,” Bates said.

“Local politics should be about fixing the roads and sidewalks and keeping the school running at high quality,” he said, not about any specific agenda. “I want to concentrate on Yarmouth. What needs to be done here, locally, that’s our main job.”

He said the sidewalks on Main Street have been “an issue for awhile” and while he’s a proponent for the schools, “we have to maintain a balance and watch the budget like a hawk.”

Bates said he believes the $52 million school bonds voters approved last November were needed, but also said that taxes and the school budget in particular can’t just keep going up year after year.

Overall, he said, “we need to better allocate funding.” He also argued that the town should rely on revenue sources other than the property tax.

Bates said that Yarmouth has a “vibrant senior community” and he wants to do “anything I can to support seniors.” That could include looking into affordable housing options, but he also said the town needs to take its time to review the need and how it could be accomplished.

In terms of open space, Bates said Yarmouth has great walking and biking trails and called the acquisition of the Dugas property on the Royal River “great for the town.”

The goal is to use the property to create a new Riverfront Woods Preserve, that would connect with the adjacent Hilda Barker and Sligo Road preserves. The amount of open space in Yarmouth, Bates said, is one reason that the town is so special.

He said voters should support him because of his experience and because “I really care about the community. We moved here for the schools, but the community is why we stay.”

Peter Fromuth

Fromuth said he is running for Town Council because he’s concerned that the “hyper-partisanship at the federal level is trickling down to Yarmouth and we can’t get things accomplished with this type of divisiveness.”

He said there are “so many emergent needs and issues that we need to grapple with” that it’s vitally important to elect a council that can get things done.

After moving to Yarmouth three years ago, Fromuth said he began to notice the acrimony on the Town Council, and that’s why he’s running now.

Fromuth has one child in the Yarmouth schools and said his overall goal is keeping the town a great community.

His focus is on creating a walkable town center and on supporting seniors. Fromuth said he also has “a strong interest in Yarmouth pursuing sustainable energy,” especially a community solar project.

In addition, Fromuth wants to begin negotiating a new agreement with the Wyman power station on Cousins Island, in order to create “an eco-friendly, revenue positive use” of the aging plant.

“I want to make a deal that’s beneficial to Yarmouth,” he said, with the current agreement with the owners of the Wyman station nearing its expiration.

Fromuth also called the browntail moth infestation a major threat and said the current council is not as fully engaged on this issue as it should be.

Fromuth said he’d like to see stricter zoning rules and said the current land use ordinances are not “community enhancing.” If multifamily housing is going to be allowed, Fromuth said an impact fee should be assessed on each unit.

When it comes to economic development, Fromuth called small business “Yarmouth’s bread and butter” and said he likes the ambiance along Main Street and in the town core.

“We do less for small businesses than any other community,” he argued and said there are many ways the town could better assist small business owners, including creating a revolving loan fund.

Fromuth also said the town needs to be better at generating revenue, and should not rely so much on the property tax. “Right now we lack creativity and diversity and it’s incumbent on us to find other revenue sources,” he said.

He said voters are most concerned about land use, the acrimony on the council and property taxes, in that order, and they should support him because of his experience in policy planning and successful negotiation during a career with the U.S. State Department.

Yarmouth’s “most pressing issue,” he said, “is the failure to collaborate to address our challenges.”

Chris Tanguay

Tanguay is a native of Yarmouth and said he is running for Town Council because he has ideas he wants to bring to the table and because “if you care, you become active.”

He said Yarmouth is facing a lot of challenges, including residential growth, and he wants to make sure that change is managed to limit impacts on schools and municipal services, as well as the property tax.

Tanguay said he’s concerned that “the older generation is getting taxed out of town and I want to do more to help them stay.”

One way to do that would be to increase Yarmouth’s commercial tax base, but Tanguay said any economic development should only be allowed if it’s “in keeping with the town’s character.”

“It still needs that small-town feel,” Tanguay said. “No big boxes.”

He also said the town should plan better for major capital projects, including any additions and renovations at the schools.

Another way to keep costs down, Tanguay said, would be to limit the number of studies the town does, including paying consulting fees.

“We need more oversight and need to look more closely at a lot of the spending,” he said. “We need to consider the impact before spending the money.”

Tanguay said that borrowing for some large capital projects is necessary for long-term investments, but believes the costs of other projects should be born by specialized funds that could be added to annually.

He also believes that some projects could be done with the help of private funding.

Tanguay is also interested in the preservation of open space and would like to implement policies that would encourage large landowners to keep their parcels intact, instead of subdividing them.

He has two children in Yarmouth schools and said that while the schools “are wonderful,” controls need to be put on spending.

In terms of the draft plan for redeveloping Main Street, Tanguay said he would support some measures, but is not in favor of a new roundabout or raised crosswalks.

He also does not support relocating utility lines, which he believes would be too expensive and unnecessary, and said he might be in favor of dam removal on the Royal River.

He’s not putting out any campaign signs and said he won’t be knocking on any doors to solicit votes.

Tanguay said voters should choose him because he offers a “fresh take on local issues” and he’s an “independent voice.”

Robert Waeldner

Waeldner said he is running for re-election because he believes Yarmouth is a great community and he wants to contribute. He also wants to continue the work the council’s been doing in order to “keep Yarmouth a great place to live.”

His experience working with different members of the community also gives him an understanding of the various needs, from students to seniors, and what can be done to balance those needs, Waeldner said.

He said the biggest issue facing Yarmouth is managing growth and the demand for more services, while maintaining a reasonable tax rate.

Waeldner supported the $52 million school bond that residents approved last fall, as well as the $8.5 million public safety building bond, arguing that there’s a need for investment in community resources.

On the other hand, he said he understands that adding bond payments to the tax rate not only makes it more difficult for Yarmouth to meet other needs, but it also adds to the tax burden born by property taxpayers.

Waeldner said dam removal is another big issue in town, but that he would not favor taking down a dam if it would have negative impact on the harbor and make it more difficult to get federal funds for dredging projects. He said he is concerned that any silt that’s behind the dams could be contaminated and contain hazardous materials, which would then wash downstream.

“The harbor is very successful and is a vital part of our community,” he said. “It employs a lot of people and provides good service to residents.”

Waeldner also wants the town to begin seriously considering what it can do to support housing that’s affordable for all types of residents, from seniors to police officers and teachers.

“We need to do more to find out what the needs are and how to address those needs more broadly,” he said. “I think affordable housing could really benefit the town.”

He supports a proposed community center at the Masonic Lodge on Mill Street, but believes more work needs to be done to create an overall vision for the project. He also thinks redevelopment of the lodge could be done in phases to keep costs down.

“There’s a fair amount of concern about taxes” in town, he said, and “a lot of interest in the community center.”

He said voters should support him because of his experience and his “strong record of bringing people together to come up with creative solutions.”

He called himself a good listener and said if elected he would “approach issues with an open mind and make balanced, educated decisions.”

Kate Irish Collins can be reached at 780-9097 or [email protected]. Follow Kate on Twitter: @KIrishCollins.

Randall Bates

Age: 51

Address: 30 Tannery Lane

Occupation: Attorney

Political/civic experience: Two terms on the Town Council, former member of the Planning Board, member of the General Board of Appeals, member of both the school facilities and public safety building committees, and ran unsuccessfully for Cumberland County district attorney last fall.

Peter Fromuth

Age: 65

Address: 110 Drinkwater Point Road

Occupation: Attorney

Political/civic experience: Has never run for office, but had a more than 20-year career with the U.S. Department of State, locally has volunteered with his daughter’s basketball team.

Social media: www.PeterFromuth.com

Chris Tanguay

Age: 43

Address: 432 North Road

Occupation: Stone mason and owner of Maine Dry Stone

Political/civic experience: None

Robert Waeldner

Age: 54

Address: 141 Oakwood Drive

Occupation: Attorney

Political experience: Four years on the Town Council, seven years on the Chamber of Commerce board, former member of the Little League board, and a mentor in the Yarmouth schools.

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