SCARBOROUGH — In a five-way race for two open seats, three residents have challenged two sitting members of the Scarborough Town Council.

Jonathan Anderson, Nicholas McGee and Frayla Tarpinian have submitted nomination papers, along with incumbents Jean-Marie Caterina and John R. Cloutier.

All five said they want to continue efforts to help the town navigate the coronavirus pandemic. Anderson said he favored creating a joint town council/school board committee to “identify solutions to the needs of both residents and business community.” He said the focus should be on improving hybrid or virtual education, assisting struggling businesses, addressing unemployment and supporting what he called “high risk” residents such as seniors.

“The impacts of coronavirus are complex and I think it is important that we partner with the community to identify challenges and solutions, since the impacts are far-reaching and differ across households,” Anderson said.

Caterina noted she has already worked through the council to help the town avoid layoffs, allow retailers and restaurants to use parking and yard space, and expand childcare for parents of kids who will attend school from home. She said future work will include the council securing more federal and state funding.

“We must be able to strike a balance that meets the core needs of our people without negatively impacting property taxes,” she said. “This is where my experience and knowledge will be invaluable.”

Cloutier said he wants the council to continue the work it has done so far.

“We need to continue to support our students, small businesses, working families and senior citizens as they strive to find normalcy in an uncertain time while adapting to a flurry of new rules, regulations and protocols that continue to evolve,” he said. “There are no perfect solutions, but together we can navigate a path forward that makes sense for Scarborough.”

McGee praised the school department for developing the hybrid education model, and the council for helping to arrange for expanded child care. He said he would support a long-term plan for dealing with the pandemic “so we are not caught off guard going forward.”

“We don’t know how long this will last, nor do we know if there will be another pandemic in our near future,” he said. “We should invest some time and efforts into long-term planning and solutions.”

Tarpinian said she wants to support working families and essential workers by expanding child care options, and she would pursue funding to help businesses impacted by the pandemic.

“I also would favor reasoned policies that allow town-controlled spaces to be used responsibly and resist completely closing down offices and open spaces, unless absolutely necessary to protect public health,” she said.

Beyond pandemic-related work, Anderson said he wants to focus on planning for future growth. He said he wants to create a three-to-five-year growth and investment plan together with the school district, including a long-term financial plan for town budgets and saving more money for future projects.

“Scarborough already has the highest debt per capita ratio compared to other nearby towns and I would like to see us build savings to fund investments so less of our budget goes towards paying our debt, and prevent major future tax issues for those of us who will be here for the next 30 years,” he said.

Caterina said she will continue to work toward the two issues that matter most to her: addressing the needs of local seniors and improving education.

“I worked very hard this year to increase the Senior Tax Rebate by $150 to $750 a year,” she said. “As a former teacher, I support making sure that funding is being used in the best interest of our students — our future.”

Cloutier also said he wanted to focus on future growth, including working on the new comprehensive plan, reviewing the town’s growth management ordinance, and defining elements of Scarborough’s downtown area.

“Scarborough continues to be a desirable community, which has spurred new development and an escalating cost of home ownership,” he said. “We need to balance our growth between residential and commercial, with a mix of housing types that will allow residents to remain in town as they age.”

McGee also said he was concerned about future growth, saying that was why he was running for town council after seven years on the planning board. He also said he looks forward to working on the comprehensive plan and reviewing the growth management ordinance.

“In my role, I’m asked to uphold the various land use ordinances of the town,” he said. “It’s time I used my experience to help shape and influence those ordinances to preserve our community character.”

Tarpinian said she also looked forward to contributing to the town’s new comprehensive plan.

“I am running without an agenda and independent of any special interest group; rather I want to bring knowledge, experience and balanced judgment to the council so that it is able to act on behalf of the entire community,” she said.

Sean Murphy 780-9094

Email: [email protected]

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