GORHAM – The municipal election process is set to get underway.

Nomination papers for three Town Council seats, along with a pair of School Committee seats and a Portland Water District trustee representing Gorham, will be available Friday, July 26, in the town clerk’s office in the municipal center, 75 South St.

Expiring Town Council terms are those held by Chairman Benjamin Hartwell and Councilors James Hager and Paul Smith. Hartwell and Hager have confirmed they will seek re-election, while Smith said Tuesday he’s close to deciding whether to run again. “I think I will,” Smith said.

“I positively expect to take out nomination papers for the Town Council,” Hager said. “I find it very rewarding to participate, as there is always something that needs to be done in our growing community.”

On the School Committee, the expiring terms are held by Vice Chairman Stewart McCallister and longtime member and a former chairwoman Kyle Currier. McCallister is seeking re-election, while Currier plans to bow out.

“I do not plan to take out nomination papers,” Currier said in an email July 20.

Completed nomination papers must be submitted to the town clerk’s office no later than 1 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6. The municipal election is set for Tuesday, Nov. 5.

Council and school seats are three-year terms, while the Water District position will fill a five-year term due to a resignation. The Water District term expires in November 2022.

A looming high school expansion/renovation project could lead to an increased number of candidates taking out papers for the Town Council or School Committee. The aging high school was last renovated in the 1990s for 750 students and this past school year the enrollment was 868.

The high school project will likely become a campaign issue for candidates. “I served on the School Committee for 12 years and have a very good sense of how to manage the schools,” Hager said.

Gorham’s property taxpayers would shoulder the entire cost of a high school project. Gorham Superintendent Heather Perry said Wednesday that no date has been set for a high school referendum. “The GHS building committee will be meeting on Aug. 13 at 6 p.m. At this meeting we will discuss revised designs, cost estimate and discuss timing of a referendum with the group,” Perry said.

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