Jane Millett

BRUNSWICK — After six years representing the downtown area on the Brunswick Town Council, Jane Millett is not seeking reelection this fall. Her term expires Dec. 31. 

“It’s time for someone else to be involved,” said the District 6 councilor. “Six years is enough.”

Toby McGrath and James Trusiani are running for Millett’s seat.

Millett said she was disappointed that more people, especially women, are not running. With Millett’s departure, Kathy Wilson will be the only woman on the nine-member council. 

“There’s a lot of talent” in the community, she said. 

Millett first ran for council in 2013 at the urging of now-council chairman John Perreault, she said. At the time, Millett had expressed frustration over many of the decisions the then-council was making.

“He said, ‘Jane, if nobody steps up to the plate, nothing will change,’” she recalled Tuesday. 

Millett was elected in 2013 and joined the council in early 2014, just days after then-town manager Gary Brown announced his resignation, effective March 31 of that year. Just over a month later, the council narrowly voted to oust Brown in February instead, with much disagreement among councilors.

According to The Times Record, Millett voted in favor of the early removal. “I would dare say we need to get on with our business,” which could be done “unfettered” by a lame duck manager, she said at the time.

Among other decisions, Brown faced scrutiny in 2013 over issues of transparency and the McLellan Building, now the town hall, and it’s nearly $1 million price tag.

“I didn’t feel like we were being careful with taxpayer money,” back then, Millett said. “I don’t like that we’ve got to keep raising taxes, but we still have to keep making progress and replace tired old vehicles and replace tired old buildings.”

She said last week that she was proud of the town’s work to hire former finance director and now-Town Manager John Eldridge, calling him one of “the most qualified people in the country” when it comes to municipal financing.

The transition from Brown to Eldridge “went very well,” she said, and commended his plans to help manage and maintain current town-owned vehicles and buildings so that there are no surprises when repairs come up.

Millett is also proud of the council’s work instituting quiet zones for the trains close to downtown, banning plastic bags, completing the revaluation process (even if she didn’t like how it turned out), and helping to bring about the new Kate Furbish Elementary School, which is expected to open next year. Millett’s district encompasses much of downtown, and included Bowdoin College down Maine Street, to Water Street, Stanwood Street and the swinging bridge.

Jane has done a good job,” said Kathy Wilson, councilor at large. “She certainly looked out for her district, you cannot ever say that she hasn’t.”

The two have served together for five years, and Wilson commended Millett for how much time she has invested in her work. “She has kept up with everything, never comes in uninformed about what we’re talking about,” she said. “I’m going to be sorry to see her go.”

Millett is hopeful that the council’s recent work to build a new central fire station and improve the sidewalks next year will be successful.

“This town is hopping,” she said. “I think there’s an awful lot going on in town, and most of it’s good.” 

But there is still plenty to be accomplished in the coming years, she said, naming a solution for downtown parking among them. 

Wilson agreed and said there are a number of upcoming projects in the downtown area, like the replacement of the Frank J. Wood Bridge, the proposed changes at the Stanwood and Pleasant street intersections, and traffic when the new Kate Furbish School opens, all which will have impact on the town and District 6. Other issues, such as sidewalk improvements and parking will also be ongoing, she said.

Councilors David Watson’s and Stephen Walker’s terms also expire at the end of December, but both are running unopposed for reelection. 

Wilson does not know how Truisiani and McGrath feel about some of these issues, “but I hope it’s in favor of making Brunswick as convenient and safe as possible for all residents,” she said.

No matter who wins, the job is a time commitment, which is part of why Millett, who also works full-time as a real estate agent, is not running again. 

In some ways, it will be hard to take a step back, but she hopes to use the extra time to visit with family, like her daughter and grandchildren in Florida, who she has not been able to visit much in the last few years partly because of council obligations, she said. 

“I wouldn’t say enjoy is the right word,” she said of her time on the council. “It was enlightening, it was fulfilling and it was gratifying when things came out the way you thought they should. Other times it was very frustrating.” 

Millett will remain on the council until her term expires in December. The election is Nov. 5 

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