Elin Gould, Brunswick deputy town clerk, posts the results for the 2019 election. Hannah LaClaire/The Times Record

BRUNSWICK — Toby McGrath will join the Brunswick Town Council in January after a landslide victory at the polls Tuesday night. 

McGrath, a managing director with Drummond Woodsum Strategic Consulting and former deputy chief of staff to Sen. Angus King,  drew 279 votes, defeating former Topsham selectman Jim Trusiani, who had 56, according to unofficial results. There were five write-in ballots cast.  

McGrath will represent District 6, Brunswick’s downtown district, which is being vacated by Councilor Jane Millett.

“It feels good, I’m ready to get to work,” McGrath said at the polls after the results were posted. Once he gets settled in his position, one of his goals will be to understand how municipal finances work to try to balance having the best services and mitigating the burden on property taxes. 

Brunswick could “put those dollars that we draw down into … roads and bridges, education and doing what a town needs to do to serve the folks there as well as possible,” he told the Forecaster, admitting there will be a “learning curve” in town politics. “I think you’ve got to figure out first what we do well, and what we can improve upon.” 

Trusiani, who served on the board of selectmen in Topsham for 11 years, the budget advisory committee for eight years and on the School Administrative District 75 and the Lisbon School District consolidation committee, said Tuesday night he expected McGrath to win, but thought the vote would be closer. 

“It’s a tough district … a tough town,” he said, adding that there is “too much politics in local government.” 

“I’m not going anywhere,” he said. “I’ll still be at the meetings, asking the tough questions.” 

Councilors David Watson and Stephen Walker ran unopposed for re-election for Districts 1 and 2, respectively. 

Incumbents Mandy Merrill (District 1) and Elizabeth Sokoloff (District 6) will return to the Brunswick School Board, and newcomer Elizabeth Bisson will replace Benjamin Tucker in District 2. 

Earlier this year, Millett said she was disappointed more people, especially more women, were not running for the council. At the end of her term, Kathy Wilson will be the only woman on the nine-person council.

Members are expected to vote in the coming weeks on an ordinance which would double the councilor’s annual salary to $4,000 per year, with $4,500 per year for the vice-chair and $5,000 for the chair. Millett, as the only outgoing councilor, introduced the compensation increase in part to encourage more people to run and hopefully increase the diversity on the board, which many councilors agreed was lacking.

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