Tag Archives: local government

The Final Summary…

Peter Bradgon, Candidate for Selectman

Tuesday you will have the opportunity to elect two new members to the board of selectmen. This day could change the board significantly. I have tried my best to reach out to the townspeople with my view points and what I would do as selectman. I have compiled a summary outline of the areas I want to work on. Please note, I really care about New Gloucester; I have no intentions of changing what we have as a town or our government. We should always be looking at ways we can do better. 

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Charter Misconceptions

There are a number of misconceptions being circulated regarding the Tuesday, June 11, 2019 vote on whether New Gloucester should create a charter commission.

  1.  Misconception:  New Gloucester citizens are voting on a town charter.

      Fact:  The question on the New Gloucester ballot is whether to create a charter commission.  It is not a vote on the specifics of the structure, ordinances or procedures to be used by our town government.

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Your Past Doesn’t Define You or Your Future

Peter Bragdon  Candidate for Selectman

As I have promoted communication and transparency throughout this road to the election, I want to touch on recent tactics by others to cause alarm about my blunders in life.   I wanted to take time to explain that what happened 10 years ago doesn’t define me today or my future.

I realized after many surgeries and being prescribed my first opiate at age 14 I was dependent. Well, actually I was addicted to my prescribed dose of 240mg of oxycodone daily.   At the time the pain pills defined me.  It defined me as a not-so-good person.  I realized that after making awful mistakes, pills were awful for me.  I stopped the pills myself.  I eventually replaced the pills with alcohol. I drank my pain away.   Obviously this ruled my life. It made me make decisions and take actions that I am ashamed off.  

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Profile: School Board Candidate Misty Coolidge

Name: Misty Coolidge

Address: 37 Peacock Hill Road, New Gloucester (home). Also own 1084 Lewiston Road, 1070 Lewiston Road, and 18 Coolidge Lane in New Gloucester

Personal: Age 43, Married to Peter deBear, Three children – 4 yr old twins Eva & Caden starting Dunn School’s Pre-K program this fall, and 2 yr old Grace

Education: Bachelor Degree Legal Studies/Pre-Law, English Minor – Husson University, Bangor ME (1998)

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Portland Attorney Holds Information Session on Town Charters – Video Now Online

James Katsiaficas, a Portland attorney formerly with the Maine Municipal Association, provided an overview of town charters and the charter-proposal process at an informational meeting on June 5 at the Meetinghouse.  Katsiaficas also shared examples of what town charters can and cannot do, offered some pros and cons of charters, and fielded questions from the audience.

Katsiaficas was invited by Town Manager Carrie Castonguay and the Select Board ahead of New Gloucester’s June 11 referendum vote on whether to establish a town charter commission.  In his introductory remarks, Katsiaficas noted that while the charter process must follow certain required steps, the scope and terms of a charter depend on the town’s “needs and desires” and are “unique to each municipality.”

Audience members asked questions about what prompts communities to turn toward charters, how residents are elected to seats on a charter commission, when a commission disbands, and more. 

View the full charter information session here.

James Katsiaficas chats with audience members after his talk – photo: Joanne Cole

Comprehensive Plan Survey Still Open; Comp Plan Update Committee Cheers for Jean Libby, Discusses Town Infrastructure, Staffing

This is the last call to complete the survey for the Comprehensive Plan Update Committee.  At the committee’s May 23 meeting, Scott Hastings, Town Planner, told the committee that they had 160 responses so far.  Please take the time to fill out the survey here. Hastings has also had input from New Gloucester high school students from a listening event he led with 134 participants.  The committee also held an open house on May 9 at the Meetinghouse and gathered input from a few residents who dropped by.  Hastings will report the survey results to the committee at their June 13 meeting. 

At the May 23 meeting, Scott presented Jean Libby, committee member, with a plaque and certificate from the Maine Association of Planners.  Libby was selected as the “Citizen Planner of the Year for the State of Maine.”  Hastings proudly commented to Jean: “Several citizens submitted a very strong application for you, along with several support letters.”  Jean was visibly taken back by the award and was very humble in saying, “I’m just a cog in the wheel.”  Her fellow committee members celebrated her recognition and heartily congratulated her. 

The meeting got underway with a review discussion of the town’s utility infrastructure since several committee members were away when the topic was addressed at a previous meeting.  Discussion centered on broadband availability.  Committee member Terry DeWan asked, “How does internet and broadband fit into the Comprehensive Plan?”  Hastings explained that it helps with planning business zones and supports business growth with in-home businesses.

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Informational Forum about Town Charters – Now Available Online and on NGTV

Mitch Berkowitz of Gray and Norm Beauparlant of Poland joined New Gloucester residents for a conversation about town charters on May 15 at the meetinghouse.  Berkowitz, former town manager of Bridgton, Gray, and other communities, shared his perspective from having served in towns with and without charters.  Beauparlant, vice chair of Poland’s former charter commission, focused on the charter process and what Poland residents chose to change and retain in their 2009 charter. 

The discussion offered voters a chance to ask questions and hear from near neighbors–“neither pro or con,” and with “no skin in the game,” as Berkowitz put it–ahead of New Gloucester’s June 11 referendum vote on whether to establish a town charter commission. 

Video of the charter conversation with Berkowitz and Beauparlant is available on demand at this link and will be broadcast on NGTV Channel 1302 until election day, Tuesday June 11.  The detailed broadcast schedule is available below.

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Public Forum with Candidates for Select Board – Now Available Online and on NGTV

The four candidates vying for two seats on the Select Board—Peter Bragdon, George Colby, Tammy Donovan, and Stephen Hathorne—participated in a candidate forum on May 15 at the meetinghouse.  Video of the hour-long forum is now available on demand at this link and will also be broadcast on NGTV Channel 1302 until election day, Tuesday June 11, 2019.  The detailed broadcast schedule is available below.

The candidate forum was co-sponsored by the New Gloucester Candidate/Referendum Issues Committee and the Maine League of Women Voters. It was moderated by Barbara Kaufman of Freeport, a member of the League board.

Select Board Candidates Peter Bragdon, George Colby, Tammy Donovan, and Stephen Hathorne await the moderator’s first question at the May 15 Candidate Forum

New Gloucester voters to decide on tax, public safety ordinances — Sun Journal

By Ellie Fellers – Special to the Sun Journal

New Gloucester — The Board of Selectmen voted 3-1 on Monday night to hold a special town meeting June 19 to vote on a revised Property Tax Assistance Ordinance.

The ordinance would allow residents 70 or older to get a tax reduction of $1,000 or a pro-rated share of the money in the program fund, if their annual household income is $40,000 or less.

At the annual town meeting earlier this month, the board asked voters to reject the ordinance because it needed revisions. Keep reading Ellie Fellers’s article in the Sun Journal

New Gloucester forum highlights charter proposal, selectmen candidates — Sun Journal

[NGX eds. correction: The town is not deciding in June whether to switch to a town charter form of government. The town is instead voting on whether to create a charter commission. A charter commission would develop a proposed charter for voters to consider, and that charter can retain the town’s current Board of Selectmen and town meeting form of governance.]

By Ellie Fellers — Special to the Sun Journal

New Gloucester — Information on a town charter form of government and the views of four selectmen candidates were presented at a public forum Wednesday night ahead of next month’s referendum and elections.

Norm Beauparlant of Poland, vice chairman of the former Poland Town Charter Committee, and Mitch Berkowitz, former town manager of Gray and Bridgton, answered questions on the pros and cons of a town charter, which sets out rules for governing towns and cities.

Poland adopted its charter in 2009; Gray in 2001.

“The recognizable difference is subtle and the effect spells out the town’s conduct and how it adopts laws,” Berkowitz said.

Beauparlant said Poland’s nine-member charter committee was guided by an attorney, and he advised members work to compromise when necessary to be successful.

Of 494 Maine towns, 25 percent have charters. Of towns with populations over 5,000, 82 percent have charters.

Keep reading Ellie Fellers’s article in the Sun Journal.