Taking their oaths of office on Dec. 2 were Saco councilors Marshall Archer, Ward 1; Jim Purdy, Ward 2; and Joseph Gunn, Ward 3; Mayor William Doyle, and councilors Lynn Copeland, Ward 4;  Alan Minthorn, Ward 5;  Jodi MacPhail, Ward 6;  and Nathan Johnston, Ward 7. Courtesy City of Saco Photo

SACO – When William “Bill” Doyle ran for a seat on the student council at Thornton Academy more than two decades ago, the experience made him think about becoming mayor of his home town one day.

When he was a Saco city councilor, he expressed a similar sentiment to a good friend, that one day he’d like to be mayor.

“It came sooner than I thought,” said Doyle on Dec. 2,  minutes after he took the oath of office as mayor and the seven city council members were sworn into office.

Doyle, 39, will be mayor for four years, succeeding Marston Lovell, who served a two-year term.

“We’re here tonight for a celebration of democracy,” said Doyle as he began his first remarks as mayor.

Over the past several years, he said, there has been significant investment in Saco’s industrial parks and a renewal and resurgence of business activity along Main Street from Saco Island to the city’s northern boundary.

“We are grateful and appreciative of these investments … that have allowed us to stabilize the tax rate,” Doyle said. “At the same time, we’ve seen a robust growth in resident development due to our stellar school systems, city services and natural amenities.”

Increased growth brings both opportunities and challenges, he said.

“We need to strive to maintain a healthy balance, we all want to retain the character of our Saco,” Doyle said, but added the city needs a thoughtful expansion of its tax base.

Saco needs to focus on smart growth and develop strategic goals and a strategic plan, he said.

The city needs to work with businesses and schools, others in the region and state and federal officials to address workforce solutions, Doyle added.

While the city waits on the status of school construction, the school buildings continue to age, he pointed out.

“At some point we’ll need to address the condition of the facilities,” said Doyle. “We must move forward with open and honest conversation on a site (for a new school) and space needs — critical components of thoughtful, long-term planning.”

Doyle, who works as the regional director for the National Correctional Employees Union, representing corrections workers in Maine and New Hampshire, touched on a number of topics during his remarks, including traffic challenges, parking, Camp Ellis erosion and more.

He thanked a number of people for their support, including his partner, Amber, whom he said avoids the spotlight, and whom he called his rock and confidant, and his stepson, his “buddy,” Darian.

As well, Doyle thanked Lovell for his service to the city and to the councilors, incoming, outgoing, and those who have stayed on.

He presented Lovell with a plaque featuring a gavel.

“We keep two gavels here and I never got to use either of them because we have a very well-behaved citizenry and council,” Lovell said. The outgoing mayor noted he’d served 24 years in the military, two terms on the Saco City Council, as a York County Commissioner and a term as mayor, and said he expected he’d remain involved in public service in some capacity.

The inauguration had originally been scheduled to take place at Thornton Academy but was moved to Saco City Hall because of the snowy weather, city officials said.

Taking the oath of office were councilors Marshall Archer, James Purdy, Joseph Gunn, Lynn Copeland, Alan Minthorn, Jodi MacPhail and Nathan Johnston.

Doyle, who won those student council elections years ago, invited the residents to bring their ideas to the city.

“The future is ours to chart, as we’re all in this together,” said Doyle. “We need to use all our partnerships, building of new and existing bridges to address the long term needs. … The city will move forward and meet the challenges of tomorrow.”

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