Appalled by lack of fiscal awareness

To the editor,

I just received my mail-in ballot for the July 14 election. While there are several items on the ballot one jumped out at me.

It seems that the school board in it’s infinite wisdom has included an item that will pay them $25 for every meeting they attend. I realize it is an insignificant amount in the big picture, but is the principle of the matter.

I am more than appalled with their gall and lack of fiscal awareness. Do any of them know the meaning of the word volunteer? If their time is so valuable and they can’t survive serving on the board without compensation they should resign immediately or not seek office.. They obviously are immune to the dire situation of our economy. People are out of work, small businesses are hanging on or closing up.

Within a very short period you can expect the state to be looking to cut untold amounts of money due to these factors. Do you not think that among those cuts will be school funding?

If the members of the RSU 21 School Board feel they need to be compensated, I say they do not have the best interests of the town or the schools in mind.

Vote no on school board compensation.

C. Wayne Cutting
Kennebunk

Candidate brings ‘leadership skills’

To the editor,

As voters we are very fortunate to have Traci Gere as a candidate for House District 9.

As each of us decides who we will vote for in the July 14 primary, it is important to look at the skills and experience of the candidates.

Traci Gere brings outstanding leadership skills in the business world. She has many years of experience helping clients to better understand their customers and to improve their businesses. Traci is also the owner of Make It KPT in Lower Village Kennebunk, the creativity store promoting local artisans and fostering creative pursuits for all ages. She knows first-hand how devastating this current economic downturn has been, and what businesses will need to recover.

Her thoughtful engagement with others, her listening skills, and her creative problem solving have also shown in her community work with RSU 21. Traci served on three task forces, including creating renovation plans for the High School Visual and Performing Arts Center.

Traci Gere will be an important asset to our Legislature.

Claudia and Keith Truesdale

Kennebunkport

Does spending help neighbors?

To the editor,

We are surprised that the town of Kennebunk is trying to raise our taxes by 6.6 percent during a worldwide pandemic. Is it truly necessary to spend more than $400,000 for new sidewalks when so many people are unemployed or underemployed? Is it truly a priority for the town to remodel a kitchen when money has to be taken from the general fund balance? Couldn’t we postpone some of the road paving till next year, when hopefully we have a vaccine?

We could go on and true, most of the spending can be justified. But, we ask ourselves, how does spending so much more money help our neighbors? People, who are struggling to pay their bills every day and are unsure if they are going to have a job, don’t need a higher tax bill this year. Please join us in voting no this July on referendum questions A, B, C, D and E.

Cindi and Lionel Menard

Kennebunk

Switch to LED would reduce carbon footprint

To the editor,

The prime directive for Kennebunk’s Energy Efficiency Committee (KEEC) is to consider and analyze avenues to reduce the town’s energy consumption, thereby lowering the tax burden to its residents and downsizing its municipal carbon footprint. One way to help fulfill all these objectives would be to replace our town’s high pressure sodium (HPS) and other types of streetlights with LED (Light Emitting Diode) fixtures. To this end, over the past 18 months, a KEEC LED Streetlight Subcommittee researched numerous makes, models, and performance specifications of a number of LED streetlight fixtures.

Recognizing that many residents were displeased with the LED post lights installed along Main Street about 10 years ago, our subcommittee focused exclusively on fixtures emitting light rays limited to the “warmer” spectral range — meaning their light will be perceived as comfortably “amber” in quality.

All the LED fixtures comply with “Dark Sky” goals by preventing star-dimming “up-lighting”, and will emit little or no “back spillage” onto adjacent properties or into nearby residential windows. By focusing undiluted illumination upon the underlying sidewalks and roadways, these fixtures will provide a bright, but mellower undiffused lighting pattern to better protect pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.

Our subcommittee submitted competitive bids to our select board for its review in time to consider funding this proposed project within the coming year’s budget cycle, such that installation of the approved proposal could be launched this year. We have recommended the fixture type that we concluded offers the town the best option to more efficiently, economically and effectively illuminate our community’s streets and sidewalks, while reducing our residents’ tax bills. If this transition to LED lighting is approved, a substantial reduction of our town’s carbon footprint would be immediate, substantial and sustained.

Depending on the exact number of fixtures replaced and the range of wattage equivalents required to provide adequate lighting at various sites, we estimate that transition to LED fixtures could reduce by 35 to 52 percent the current annual cost of municipal lighting by existing dated fixtures, equating to a projected annual savings of from $30,000 – $50,000. In addition, maintenance and replacement costs would be less with long-lasting LEDs. Our subcommittee recommends that the town use those savings to pay for the purchase and installation of these fixtures. Thus, though we wouldn’t see such savings in our lighting costs for 3 to 5 years, neither will we experience any cost increase over this interval.

We will however immediately, substantially and collectively reduce our community’s carbon footprint for decades thereafter, and join numerous other communities in Maine who have already completed this transition to LED streetlights. As members of KEEC’s LED Streetlight Subcommittee, we hope you will keep these long-term financial and environmental rewards in mind as you consider the final line item in referendum Question C on your ballot for election day, July 14.

Sharon Staz, Kennebunk Energy Efficiency Committee chair

Anthony Dater, Nicholas Bartenhagen, Scott Negley, LED Subcommittee members