Boucouvalas

SACO — Voters in Ward 6 will see three names on the ballot, but one of them, incumbent Micah Smart told those gathered at a City Council meeting Oct. 21 that it is his intent to withdraw from the race.

In the running for the two-year term are Steven Boucouvalas and Jodi MacPhail.

Smart, who was elected in 2017, informed City Clerk Michele Hughes of his desire to formally withdraw on Oct, 18, but Hughes said she had to turn down his request because it was too late to have new ballots printed.

Smart said his decision was not made lightly and was due to a recent change in circumstances that he believed would restrict his ability to devote the necessary time to City Council responsibilities.

He said Ward 6 needs a councilor who can fully dedicate themselves to the task, “so it is with a heavy heart I must request my withdrawal.”

MacPhail and Boucouvalas are lifelong Saco residents.

Her interest in the city and its future sparked MacPhail to run for office, she said.

MacPhail

“I want to be an advocate for the community,” she said.

A new school complex could mean a building consolidation of the city’s two elementary schools, she pointed pout.

“This is an issue that will be the deciding factor in the growth of new families within our community, and we need representatives that understand what is at stake,” said MacPhail, who has volunteered in the school system and worked as a substitute.

Consolidating the schools could mean two prime properties would be vacated, and MacPhail said she wants to make sure there is a correct plan for the future of the properties.

She said she wants to develop a path for responsible riverfront development for Saco Island East, and promote economic development in other areas of the city.

She said she supports a trail and greenbelt connection plan to the River Walk and existing parks.

MacPhail, 48, works in the finance department at Tyler Technologies, a Yarmouth software developer, and is a community volunteer with Saco Main Street and in other local endeavors.

“I work on budgets,” said MacPhail of her career in finance, which she said will be beneficial as a councilor. “I understand the budget process.”

MacPhail said she wants to make sure the city is welcoming to older residents, and wants Saco to encourage young adults to stay here and move here, if they live elsewhere.

“It is important my daughter, 27, stays here, and I want to make sure she’s able to stay here,” said MacPhail.

Boucouvalas, 58, is a planner and emergency operations coordinator for the Maine Centers for Disease Control. He formerly worked for the city as a telecommunications dispatcher and as its Emergency Management director and was a longtime member of the Saco Fire Department.

I think (Saco) is growing faster than the city is able to keep up with,” said Boucouvalas. “There is lot of opportunity to be able to control taxes and keep Saco affordable.”

He said he wants to make sure services are available at an affordable rate for Saco’s older population, and wants to retain and attract more young people to the area.

“I don’t want to see Saco become just a bedroom community because they’re expensive to live in,” said Boucouvalas.

He said the city’s police, fire and public works departments need more staff to keep up with the city’s growth.

Looking to when he was first appointed Saco’s EMA director, he said he worked with the public works director to earn a substantial grant to help make Saco a disaster resistant community and earned other grants over the years to help fund the purchase of emergency vehicles and the like.

Boucouvalas said he is wary of modifying tax increment financing arrangements, a practice companies sometimes request of the city, and remembers Saco’s financial struggles more than 40 years ago.

He sees a need for an economic development boost.

“I want to see the schools built, the city council and school department work together and see continuity and transparency,” said Boucouvalas. “When (the) school department signs a lease and allegedly, the city council doesn’t know anything about it, there’s a big issue there.”

“I am committed to working cooperatively with the School Department to get a new Young School built and resolve the issues surrounding the Pre-K lease agreement and get our Pre-K program into suitable real estate,” Boucouvalas said.

Boucouvalas said he will fight for Camp Ellis and the Saco coastline to get the federal government to fund the recommendation and projects of the Army Corp of Engineers.

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 780-9016 or twells @mainelymediallc.com.

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