AUBURN — Calling his city the hub of Maine for business and recreation, Mayor Dick Gleason unveiled a bumper sticker and ambassador program Monday night.
"It is time to roll up our sleeves, get to work, continue reducing the property tax burden and bring more good-paying jobs to Auburn," Gleason said. "I'd like to see the day come when our children can stay in Auburn rather than having to leave Maine for lack of opportunity."
Gleason and the 2009-11 Auburn City Council were sworn in at a small official ceremony at Auburn Hall Monday night. They include incumbents Michael Farrell, Robert Hayes, Dan Herrick and David Young and newly elected councilors Belinda Gerry and Eric Samson. Ward 5 Councilor Ray Berube, at home with the flu, was unable to attend the swearing in.
Most then trooped off to Central Maine Community College's Kirk Hall Gymnasium for the rest of the pomp. Councilors Farrell and Herrick skipped the CMCC ceremony and Councilor Belinda Gerry chose to stay at the back of the room for the duration.
"I don't like all the pomp," she said.
The celebration included a procession led by the Auburn Firefighters Local 797 Honor Guard and performances by the Edward Little High School band and local singers Bruce Gerry, Chris Camire and Kary Young Coffin.
The future for Auburn is optimistic, Gleason said. The area is becoming a transportation hub, with links to air, rail and car travel. Manufacturing is another economic high point, he said.
"The next time you are driving around the Auburn exit of the Maine Turnpike, draw a picture in your mind of a 1 mile circle around that area," he said. "Economically, that circle is one of the hottest in Maine."
He unveiled a logo for bumper and window stickers and program declaring Auburn the hub of Maine. Residents Ed Desgrosseilliers and Bob Cavanaugh will head a committee to spread that message.
"First I'm asking each of you to put a bumper or window sticker on your car," he said. "And second I'm asking you to help Ed and Bob get every business in Auburn to put one of these stickers on their door."
The bumper stickers will be available in Auburn Hall.
In his address, School Committee Chair David Das listed the goals from his newly elected school committee. Some called for careful spending and lower taxes, others for a new high school or better capital or technological spending.
Das himself called for patience, good humor and hard work from both councilors and school committee members.
"Can we accomplish all this in the next two years? I doubt it," Das said. "But it's especially important right now that we move forward."