North Yarmouth Select Board incumbent Steven Berry is defending his seat against newcomer Paul Hodgetts at the polls June 8.

Berry, finishing up his first, three-year term, said he hopes to continue the work the board has done so far to prepare for future growth, and he’d like to bring senior housing to town.

Hodgetts said if elected, his priorities would be slowing growth in town, keeping tax rates low and listening to residents about what they want.

Berry

As the town grows and changes, it is important “to keep a good grasp on that and do things suitable for residents,” Berry said.

“It’s growing, and that’s part of being in this area,” he said. “What projects will the town need down the road, whether that’s how our Fire Department is housed or civic structures. Those are things we are worried about.”

If elected, Berry said he’d pursue senior housing to help older residents who can’t afford increasing property taxes.

“How is our town working to make sure people have an opportunity to stay in town with tax stability,” he said. “Is there a future for senior housing within our town? I believe there is. It’s something we are working on and hopefully we can make some progress on senior housing in particular.”

He’d also like to dedicate more time to protect the town’s parks, keep track of dangerous roadways and look at improvements to the infrastructure.

“I’m a good candidate for this job because I come prepared. I am a skilled listener. “Maybe people who disagree with my points would disagree with that, but that’s something I attempt to take care of.”

Hodgetts

Hodgetts said his main concern is controlling and slowing down development in town.

“We are going too fast,” Hodgetts said. “We had to build a new pump station, run a new water line because of development. We are paying a town planner a lot of us don’t agree with. I feel the town manager and committees don’t listen to what we are saying.”

If elected, he hopes to advocate for keeping North Yarmouth rural in character, work to protect and expand local parks and do more to reduce speeding in town.

I’ve lived here for years. I’ve loved this town, the rural part of it,” he said. “My thing is, I feel they hired an urban town planner. We aren’t urban, but they are making us urban. They needed a rural town planner.”

Hodgetts also said he’d like to find cuts in the budget to reduce the impact taxes have on residents.

“I am not for any increase,” he said. “There needs to be somewhere we can make cuts.”

Hodgetts said with the tax rate being $16.55 per $1,000 of real estate valuation, an irresponsible budget can adversely affect residents. 

He also plans to reach out to residents for the same reason he is running: he and others feel ignored.

“I can work with both sides – I’m good at that – but it’s about listening. A lot of us feel we aren’t listened to,” he said.

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