2017-10-27 / Community News

Race for town council has six candidates

Election 2017

All three town council incumbents, Shawn Babine, Peter Hayes and Kate St. Clair are running for re-election and are being challenged for three three-year terms by Jean Marie Caterina, Timothy Downs and Benjamin Howard. The election is set to take place Tuesday, Nov. 7 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Scarborough High School. Absentee ballots are now available through the town clerk’s office. Candidates are listed in alphabetical order.

Name: Shawn Babine

Age: 51

Position seeking: seat on Scarborough Town Council

Address: Summerfield Lane

Phone: 274-0805

Occupation: Banker

Family: Wife Terry and 1 adult daughter

Education completed: Master’s in business administration and Master’s certificate in human resources and project management

Top three issues:

1. Comprehensive planning. The framework to our own future is the comprehensive plan. It sets into action how we want our community to look and feel. Through that plan I see a Scarborough in 20 years that is no different than what we see today - a vibrant state and regional economic driver that continues to balance commercial and residential growth in target areas; that we have a community where we recognize, celebrate and are thankful for the value of the services we receive - whether that is our public safety responders, our public works crew or our teachers.

2. Fiscal planning. Every year fiscal planning and budgeting tends to cause challenges and opportunities. I recognize that there is a portion of Scarborough that would be upset if we spent $10 more than last year’s budget, and there is a portion that would want us to spend $10 million more. Over the past three years I have tried to put forth a budget that demonstrates a cognizance of the subtle balance between planning for, and addressing, short-term needs and long-term investments. As Scarborough continues to be the place where people want to live, state funding formulas hurt us and, with limited advocacy in Augusta, Scarborough is left to find its own solutions.

3. Total revaluation of Scarborough. There is a growing awareness that the local property taxes have become a significant part of the expenses in owning property. Meanwhile constantly changing economic conditions that include new development and increasing volume of residential (homes) that have sold in the last five years has caused an inequitable balance between commercial and residential property values. Revaluations are required to insure property owners of uniformity in property valuations. A successful program will require a significant amount of time spent on careful research to assure that the new values are accurate and that all property owners will pay only their fair share the property tax.

Why are you seeking elected office?

Too often voters are left with only those who represent special interest groups who speak the emotional lack of trust, communications and transparency, but the fact of what your town council has accomplished is completely opposite. As your town council, my 10 years on the council has increasingly found the need for common sense, consensus and pragmatism – even more so today. I want to continue the work we’ve started in building stronger relationships throughout our community; developing financial solutions that provides the best services for the least cost, and that are the most effective; and enhancing communications throughout our town. Fact. In my 10 years and 10 budgets, I’ve voted for a budget that has an overall average tax increase of 2.6 percent, the second lowest of all councilors elected in the last two decades. I will continue to be pragmatic even in the face of the increasing attack by Augusta and the increasing burden they place on your property taxes.

As chair of the council’s finance committee and as chair of the council, we are transparent and I believe the community does trust those they elect. Every man and woman elected to represent you works hard, has good intentions, speaks their mind and generally finds consensus in their decisions. The fact that we may have differences of opinion isn’t a sign of not listening or not being transparent. It is real. I disagree with those who distort the truth of how our school system is valued in Scarborough. I support Scarborough schools. Education is at heart of our community. I do agree that we need to be cautious in our educational investments because it is not the only need in Scarborough. We have focused, and will continue to focus on our relationships with others. We’ve worked hard along side (our) school board partners in finding funding solutions with our One Town-One Budget approach to financial planning.

Having served as a liaison to many outside boards and groups including (Scarborough Economic Development Corporation), ecoMaine, the Scarborough (Public) Library, Eastern Trail, Cumberland County and Maine Municipal Associations Legislative Policy group continues to allow Scarborough to be a regional advocate and influencer. Just as I promised when I first ran I make the same promise to you today. I will continue to work hard, listen closely and to take action that moves our community forward.

Name: Jean-Marie Caterina

Age: 62

Position seeking: seat on Scarborough Town Council

Address 311 Gorham Road

Phone: 318-3440

Occupation: Real estate broker

Family: Geoffrey MacLean. Husband; Caterina MacLean, daughter, a 2009 Scarborough High School graduate who lives in Chicago

Education completed: University of Maine, bachelor of arts, Boston College, master of social work.

Organizations and activities:

Scarborough Town Council – 2013-2016. During my term, I was vice chair of the council, chair of the ordinance committee, chair of the firing range committee and was liaison to the long range planning, Vision, and conservation committees.

Currently serve on Senior Advisory Board, Vision Committee, and the Board of Assessment Review. Volunteer, Project G.R.A.C.E., Owner of Caterina MacLean Group, The Maine Real Estate Network and co-owner-Red Brook Honey, Partnership Group - Casco Bay Adventures.

Top three issues:

1.Stabilizing property taxes. With the shift in state taxation away from income tax and on to property taxes, Scarborough homeowners are facing increased upward pressure on their property taxes. I am particularly concerned for homeowners whose income is not keeping pace with the increases. I will advocate strongly for a town wide reassessment of all properties, particularly our recently expanded commercial base. I will press for annual increases in the senior tax rebate program. I will continue seeking changes in state policy that negatively impact Scarborough taxpayers. I will demand a close scrutiny of spending.

2. Maintaining educational excellence in the face of taxpayer pressure. Scarborough is considered one of the top three “wealthy” towns based on valuation. Increasingly, we give more to the state than we receive back resulting in cuts to revenue sharing and state education funding. Public education is an investment in society. Without a well-educated population, the foundation of our society crumbles. Our school system is doing a good job considering the constraints. I have faith that our new superintendent and the school board will continue to implement programs that give the best and most efficiently delivered education to our children.

3. Restoring balance to divergent views. We are fortunate to have an engaged citizen base who care deeply about this town. Many citizens volunteer for town committee work and we are better for it. I am concerned, however, about the continuing divisive nature of debates surrounding multiple issues. During my tenure as a councilor the increased transparency of our council process was a welcome improvement. Promoting openness, compromise and collaboration amongst councilors demonstrates to everyone how town government and town dialogue can best continue to advance.

Why are you seeking elected office?

I am running to return to the council where I had the opportunity to serve the people of Scarborough from 2013 to 2016. During my previous tenure, I successfully worked with other councilors to hold the line on property tax increases and to advocate for the people of Scarborough in Augusta against shifts in policies that hurt us as a community. I will work to continue to hold the line on tax increases through the thorough review of spending. I will continue to expand our property tax relief program for seniors. I will make sure we provide the funding necessary to continue educational excellence in this town. As in the past, I will continue to treat being a councilor as the equivalent of a full-time job. We may not always agree, but you will always know where I stand because I will return your calls and your emails. I will take the time to listen and act.

Name: Timothy Downs

Age: 56

Position seeking: seat on the Scarborough Town Council

Address: 10 Dunstan Ave.

Phone: 776-5806

Occupation: commercial clam digger

Family: married, wife: Erica and two sons: Christopher and Matthew

Education completed: Scarborough High School graduate 1979

Organizations and activities: Four years on the Scarborough Town Council; master of Oak Hill Grange from 1995 to 2000; member of Scarborough Lions Club; commander of Sons of the American Legion Scarborough Post 76, past member of several town committees and boards.

Top three issues:

1. Redevelopment and redesign on Pine Point road and what’s going on at the Co- Op, as far as redevelopment of the parking lot down there.

2. Haigis Parkway: I was on the town council when we put in the standards. I see a lot of development happening down there and I’d like to be a part of that conversation.

3. Daily management of the town: that includes taxes, schools, public works, police department and new public safety building.

Why are you seeking elected office?

As I age, I am slowing down with the clam digging. I am very interested in the town of Scarborough. I like to volunteer and would love to offer my service to the citizens of the town of Scarborough again.

Name: Peter Hayes

Age: 61

Position seeking: seat on the Scarborough Town Council

Address: 5 Indian Hill Lane

Phone: 885-5512

Occupation: Health care consultant

Family: Michelle (wife) two daughters Catherine and Laura, and two sons William and Jonathan

Education completed: Bowdoin College, bachelor of arts in economics and environmental studies (magna cum laude)

Organizations and activities: Served a three-year term on the Scarborough Town Council (2014-2017); appointed by two different Maine governors to serve on Maine Healthcare Reform Commissions; serve as an incorporator on two area hospitals; guest lecturer, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College; National Client Advisory Boards (Aetna, Definity Health, Express Scripts);

Board Member national health care quality improvement entities (Leapfrog, Care Focused Purchasing, Bridges to Excellence, Center for Health Value Innovation); United Way Allocations Committee; Mercy Hospital Quality Committee; Home Health Visiting Nurses Board Member (formerly Community Health Services); Co-founder and executive member Maine Health Management Coalition and Co-founder and executive member Maine Employer Purchasing Collaborative

Top three issues:

1. Strategic financial planning: Scarborough is facing financial planning challenges as we adjust to the significant reductions in state funding of our education costs and an aging infrastructure of some of our facilities. In total, the recently updated Municipal Facilities Plan has identified approximately $50 million in infrastructure investments we need to make in coming years. Our constituents are requesting that we conduct financial modeling for the next several years, so we can do a better job of strategically planning the timing of our investments to minimize the impact on the property tax rates, so we can keep them stable, affordable and predictable.

2. Culture change: The Scarborough community has been fortunate to be one of the fastest growing communities in Maine from both a population and property value perspective. However, the changing demographics and need for additional town infrastructure to support the growth, is creating real challenges from a governance perspective. I am concerned about how divisive many issues have become in our community. At times, elected officials and community members do not engage in civil and respectful exchange of viewpoints. I believe we need to put significant effort into addressing the culture of how we build momentum toward consensus in our community.

3. Preserve quality of life: I recently participated in the comprehensive planning process. I heard consistently from residents that they really appreciate the quality of life in Scarborough, with a healthy focus on preserving our natural assets - the beaches, marshes, and land trust properties - balanced with reasonable commercial and residential growth. In addition, they would like to enhance the feeling of walkability and more of a village feel, to some of our key hubs such as Oak Hill and Dunstan’s Corner. The challenge will be how to manage the appropriate growth while preserving and enhancing, the current quality of life that everyone seems to appreciate.

Why are you seeking elected office?

After serving on the town council for three years, I’ve gained considerable knowledge, relationships, and experience enabling my continued contributions to move our town forward to a healthier place, as a community. I’m concerned about how divisive our community has become over so many critical issues, impacting the future of our community. I partnered with my peers, Katy Foley and Kate St. Clair, to conduct several listening sessions, with a diverse cross-section of our community members. The themes we heard, repeatedly, is that our constituents feel that our current town governance has challenges with transparency, listening, and trust.

Name: Benjamin Howard

Age: 24

Position seeking: seat on the Scarborough Town Council

Address: 7 Windsor Pines Drive

Phone: 321-8591

Occupation: Controls Engineer

Family: Father, Fred Howard; Mother, Michelle Howard; Sister, Kelsey Howard and brother Nathan Howard

Education completed: Bachelor of science in chemical engineering from the University of New Hampshire

Top three issues:

1. Creating a resident friendly budget that maintains or exceeds current services by finding alternative revenue streams for the town. In my eyes one of the best current practices of our town is our maintenance department as they service other towns as well. This give us income that isn’t just from taxes. I believe there are other places where we could do the same.

2. Policy by complaint. Many of the recent policy changes to ordinances such as (trash, light, sign) have been sparked by the council getting a few complaints from residents. This creates more rules to regulate which is an unnecessary burden to the town. These ordinances often only benefit the few. If you have a problem with your neighbor feel free to call me and I will gladly talk with you and your neighbor to see if we can find a solution.

3. Communication of policy and budgetary information. The town currently does an excellent job developing a comprehensive budget, but (isn’t) always the best about presenting it to the public. I believe that we can increase the efficacy in how it is presented and delivered to the public.

Why are you seeking elected office?

I am seeking a position on the town council as I hope to change the way people interact with their local government. In an age of instant communication, we should be able to easily be well informed citizens. Though the town does already post information on their website there are still alternative communication forms that citizens might appreciated to help them stay informed. I believe it is important that the community is well informed so topics can be debated and the best solution for the town is reached. Having experienced the past year budget process this is something I strongly feel the town will benefit from. A position on the council will allow me to develop these more interactive forms of communication with the community.

Name: Katherine (Kate) St. Clair

Age: 40

Position seeking: seat on town council

Address: 41 Woodfield Drive

Phone: 347-1409

Occupation: Town Councilor / President of the Team Kyle Foundation. Family: Alexis, 16; Jack, 11 and Willow, 5; Kyle (heaven)

Education completed: high school

Organizations and activities: March of Dimes – ran Share Your Story, an online community of parents of preemies, five years; Town Council, five years and Team Kyle Foundation, five years.

Top three issues:

1. Communication and integrity including community engagement

2. Finances past, present and future. Forecasting

3. Senior housing

In your own words, why are you seeking elected office?

I feel like after five years I finally have the knowledge to give me the confidence I need to bring about some new strong changes. I’m a firm believer in community involvement and believe just because we are elected officials, we still need to engage and have participation from our town. We have a major lack of affordable and senior housing. We can’t take no, or in a few years, as an answer anymore.

Return to top