OLD ORCHARD BEACH — Two incumbents and a former town councilor are vying on Nov. 5 for two, two-year seats on the Old Orchard Beach Town Council.

Seeking re-election is Joseph Thornton, 35, who currently serves as chairman of the five-member Town Council. The public safety dispatcher for the town of Scarborough was first elected in 2013 to fill an unexpired, partial term and was re-elected in 2015 and 2017.

Also seeking re-election is Jay Kelley, 67, a retired Portland firefighter, who is serving in his seventh year on the council.

Roxanne Frenette

Former Councilor Roxanne Frenette, 58, served from 2002 to 2008 and later filled a partial, vacant term. She retired after 30 years as an executive assistant at the Maine Turnpike Authority.

Frenette is a third generation Old Orchard Beach resident. She said she wants to represent families and work to ensure Old Orchard Beach remains affordable for anyone who wants to raise a family.

Frenette believes Old Orchard Beach’s newest homes are are unaffordable for most people – she said several new homes on her street, priced in the $300,000 to $500,000 range, have been vacant since the spring.

“Existing homes may still be affordable but new housing is not affordable for average families, especially young families starting out,” said Frenette, who would also like to encourage development of more affordable housing.

Frenette, a Ross Road resident whose property has a well and septic system, expressed frustration that 10.59 percent of her property tax goes to the wastewater treatment plant and sewer infrastructure. She said neither she nor 500 other Old Orchard Beach residents have any hope of receiving public water or sewer.

Thornton moved to Old Orchard Beach from Scarborough.

Joseph Thornton

“My first job was a summer reserve officer for Old Orchard Beach Police Department and I decided to make it my home,” said Thornton.

“There were significant issues in the community around (the sewage treatment plant) including odor issues impacting the surrounding neighborhoods,” said Thornton.

He said the town was able to get public funds for an odor control system, and now the odor is “really all but eliminated.” Thornton said the wastewater treatment system needs major upgrades, however, and the council will probably soon work on a bond package to raise funds for the work. Thornton said the project will have a “significant” impact on taxes, but must be done.

Thornton said the Planning Board has done a good job ensuring a diversity of housing. Old Orchard Beach has “quite a bit” of what he described as middle income affordable housing in several areas of town.

Kelley said he wants to continue on the path the Town Council is currently taking, and that he believes the Town Council works well together.

Jay Kelley

“We’re very aware of the tax dollar and try to keep it as low as we can,” said Kelley, adding he believes the rate in Old Orchard Beach is one of the lowest, if not the lowest in the area.

The wastewater treatment plant needs upgrades, Kelley said, which will be an expensive proposition. He said he hopes the town can get grants as well as bond for the upgrades, which state environmental agencies say must be done. He said he hopes to phase in the work.

Kelley, who has lived in town since he was in grade school, began his public safety career as a reserve police officer in Old Orchard Beach and then went to work for Portland Police Department. Seven years later, he transferred to the Portland Fire Department, where he worked until his retirement.

Voting on Nov. 5 is from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Old Orchard Beach High School at Emerson Cummings Boulevard.


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