SACO — Lynn Copeland is seeking her second term as a Saco city councilor for Ward 4 and is being challenged by Jack Cianchette for the three-year term.

Lynn Copeland

Copeland, 58, a legal assistant at a Portland law firm, said she wants to keep Saco’s tax rate down by bringing business to the city’s industrial parks, see a new teen center get up and running, expand Saco’s “green belt” and do more to protect the city’s natural resources.

Jack Cianchette

Cianchette, 20, a student at Virginia’s Regent University, is taking classes remotely to finish his degree in business and leadership. He said he is interested in resolving the erosion issues in Saco Bay as well as advocating for affordable housing so young people can live and work in Saco. This is his first bid for elected office.

Copeland said she first decided to run for office when watching City Council meetings on television. “When I looked at the seven men up there, I realized I needed to run,” she said.

Now that her two-year term is winding down, Copeland wants to continue her work with the city. She said Saco should seek out businesses strategically to increase revenue so taxes will remain reasonable for residents. “We want to attract businesses that are a good fit,” she said.

Copeland, a foster parent who is married with two adult children, said the city just purchased the former Methodist church for a teen center.

“Kids at the middle school (age) tend to flounder, and don’t have a place to call their own,” said Copeland, the council’s liaison with the Parks and Recreation Department. “This is going to be theirs, with parameters,” she said of the teen center.

The Wardwell, a senior residence, is nearby, she noted, and she hopes that proximity will promote relationships between senior citizens and youth that will benefit both populations.

“We want Saco to be a good place to live, work and play, and if we want to bring business, we need (Saco) to be attractive to business owners and employees and show we value our kids,” she said.

The city’s natural resources are another of Copeland’s concerns. She said she’d like to see an ordinance that addresses tree cutting and she would like to see the expansion of a “green belt” linking existing trails like the Eastern Trail, the Saco Bay trail and others – from the ocean to the Saco Heath.

Cianchette took an accelerated path at Regent University, living in Virginia for two years and then returning to Maine to study remotely, with just a handful of courses left to complete his degree.

His experience includes working in the Boards and Commissions Office at the Secretary of State’s Office during the LePage administration.

 

Saco has lost $20 million in property tax revenue since 1960 due to erosion, Cianchette said, noting that the jetty at Camp Ellis has been an issue since it was constructed in 1892. He estimated that three miles of beach in Saco Bay is in jeopardy.

“If we don’t act on the jetty there won’t be three miles of beaches,” Cianchette said. He said the erosion would ultimately affect the entire region and the issue is bigger than just the city of Saco.

Erosion issues cost Saco $300,000 annually, Cianchette estimated, a figure he called an “expensive Band-Aid.”

Cianchette, who is single, said he’d like to see the city encourage housing development aimed at young working people, at a price they can afford – in the $700 to $800 a month range – so they can move to Saco, work, live and be able to pay student loans.

If elected, he said, he’d promote public transit, would like to see a hotel developed in a vacant mill at Saco Island and would like to see more electric buses to reduce Saco’s carbon footprint.

Tammy Wells — 207-780-9016

twells @mainelymediallc.com


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