Those wishing to run for elected office in Biddeford still have time to pick up nominations papers. There are due in the City Clerk’s Office by 5 p.m. Sept. 5FILE PHOTO

BIDDEFORD – In November, elections for Biddeford mayor, city councilors, School Committee members and more will be held. As of Monday afternoon, at least two people had taken out nomination papers to run for mayor, including incumbent mayor, Alan Casavant, and a number of others had taken out papers to run for various other offices.

Those interested in running for city of Biddeford elected offices were able to take out nomination papers from the City Clerk’s Office beginning Aug. 5, they must be returned with the required number of residents’ signatures at the same office by 5 p.m. Sept. 5. Receiving nomination papers from the City Clerk’s Office is not an official declaration that a person intends to run for a specific office.

Those running for elected office in Biddeford and those signing nomination forms must be residents of the city and registered Biddeford voters.

So far, Casavant and Jason Litalien have taken out nomination papers to run for mayor in the Nov. 5 election. To be placed on the ballot, mayoral candidates need to collect a minimum of 125 signatures.

In an email on Monday, Casavant said although he has taken out nomination paper he hasn’t decided whether he will run for another term as mayor. If he runs and if he is elected, it would be his fifth consecutive term. According to City Clerk Carmen Morris, Casavant is already the second, longest-serving mayor in Biddeford’s history. At the completion of his fourth and current term he will have served eight years as mayor, it will be 10 years if he runs and wins a fifth term.

The longest serving mayor of Biddeford to date is Louis B. Lausier who served for 13 years in the 1940s and 1950s, Morris said. After Casavant, Donna J. Dion is next in line having served six years, or three terms.

Casavant, a retired Biddeford High School teacher has also served on the Biddeford City Council and was a four-term state representative whose district included part of Biddeford and Kennebunkport.

During his tenure as mayor, Casavant has overseen the removal of the Maine Energy Recovery Company trash incinerator from the downtown in 2012 at a cost of $6.65 million to the city. He has been a champion of revitalization of the downtown and mill district. As part of this revitalization, under his current administration the City Council approved a controversial parking management strategy which includes paid parking in most down municipal lots. The council is also considering building a city parking garage to be placed on the former Maine Energy lot.

If both Casavant and Litalien run for mayor, it will likely be a litmus test of how residents feel about the parking management plan and proposed parking garage.

Litalien has taken the city of Biddeford to court twice regarding the parking plan which a number of downtown business owners say has negatively affected their business. Litalien argued that a vote by residents in 2014 to ban metered parking in the downtown also applies to city-owned parking lots and paying to park in those lots shouldn’t be allowed. A suit filed in York County District Court in October 2018 was dismissed because it wasn’t filed in a timely fashion.

Another suit, this time on constitutional grounds and filed earlier this year, is pending in U.S. District Court.

In addition to mayor, those wishing to be on the City Council must get signatures to be on the November ballot. Those who have taken out nomination papers for City Council so far include: Ward 2, incumbent and City Council President John McCurry Jr., Chrystina Gastelum, and Jon Phillips; Ward 3, incumbent Stephen St. Cyr; Ward 5, incumbent Amy Clearwater; and Ward 6, incumbent Norman Belanger. No one has yet taken out nomination papers to run for council from Wards 1, 4 or 7. Incumbent Marc Lessard is the only one so far who has taken out papers to run for one of two at-large positions.

To be on the ballot, City Council candidates for specific wards must collect at least 25 signatures of registered Biddeford voters from their ward. At-large candidates are required to get 50 signatures.

Those who have taken out papers to run for School Committee include incumbents Lisa Vadnais and Dominic Deschambault; Bobby Mills, a former city councilor; and Chrystina Gastelum, who has also taken out papers to run for City Council. She is only eligible to run for one office, Morris said.

Those wishing to run for School Committee must collect 25 signatures of registered Biddeford voters from their ward.

Those taking out papers to run for Warden so far are Joann Boisvert from Ward 4 and Robert Provencher from Ward 6. They must collect 20 signatures of registered Biddeford voters from their ward.

— Managing Editor Dina Mendros may be contacted at 780-9014 or [email protected]

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