Name:

Grady R. Burns

Email address:

[email protected]

Facebook:

www.facebook.com/Grady-Burns-for-Auburn-City-Council-824620557634088

Other social media?

Twitter: @GradyBurns

Occupation or primary source of income:

Legal assistant at Paradie, Sherman, Walker & Worden

Education:

University of Maine at Farmington, Class of 2013. B.A. history and B.S. secondary education; Edward Little High School, Class of 2009.

Public offices sought or held:

This is my first time running for office.

Why are you running for office? Why should voters select you for this job?

As a fourth-generation Auburn resident, I have witnessed firsthand the struggles that Auburn has faced these past decades.

As a young professional working to build a career and a family in this community, I know very well how difficult it continues to be for my peers to stay here and prosper. I am running for City Council because I believe that Auburn needs a strong voice advocating for a long-term vision needed to continue to broaden our tax base and grow our community.

What do you like about the city budget passed this year, and what don’t you like? Was it too high, too low, just right?

Auburn must meet its basic commitments to its citizens: the roads must be paved, the water must flow through our pipes, our children must be educated and our residents must be kept secure by a well-maintained police force and Fire Department. However, given that our city is currently spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in heating, fuel and energy costs to maintain its operations, I believe that long-term savings can be found to cut the overhead cost of services without cutting staff or raising taxes.

With a limited budget and knowing what you know now, what would be your top spending priority among these three services: road repair, education or public safety? Why?

First and foremost, we need councilors who will effectively advocate for our needs to a state government that has continually left our community behind in terms of development dollars and overall priority to increase our access to capital for these major issues.

Second, we need to set priority between our short-, medium- and long-term needs. 

Court Street could be narrowed from four travel lanes to two in 2016. Is that a good idea or not, and why do you feel that way?

While increasing the walkability and growth of our downtown will be one of my highest priorities, I have serious reservations about narrowing that corridor on Court Street.

Ultimately, downtown will grow because people see it as a destination. Our first priority must be attracting those small businesses and developers that will grow the area, not alienating residents and clogging up traffic.

What is your opinion regarding tax incentives to developers, such as Tax Increment Finance deals and state and federal grants? Should the city offer them or not?

TIFs can also be a powerful tool to attract targeted growth to struggling communities, and are one of our best tools for attracting the developers and small business owners that we need for our community to grow. This must be balanced, though, with the loss of tax revenue incurred through their use. I believe that the best solution would be one that integrated these local, state and federal opportunities.

Name:

Belinda Gerry

Email address:

[email protected]

Occupation or primary source of income:

Currently, I am an Auburn city councilor as well as a notary public.

Education:

Educated in Auburn public schools, received my high school equivalency diploma when I was 18. I have also taken a couple non-credit courses.

Family information:

I came from a single-parent family of three. My brother has five children.

Public offices sought or held:

In 1994, I ran and was privileged to be elected as one of Auburn’s three state representatives. Auburn voters then re-elected me to serve them in 1996 and 1998.

In 2000, I ran for the Auburn City Council for the Ward 5 seat and was privileged to serve Auburn residents for three terms — 2000, 2004 and 2006. I took a break and returned to run for an at-large council seat in 2009 and was elected to serve Auburn from 2009 to present.

Why are you running for office? Why should voters select you for this job?

I am running for office because I want to continue making a difference in the quality of life of all Auburn residents by being their at-large city councilor, to be part of the team of Auburn city councilors/mayor that will continue what was set into motion by the current council to bring forward the vision that has been developed through public input and participation for the revitalization of Auburn.

What do you like about the city budget passed this year, and what don’t you like? Was it too high, too low, just right?

What I liked about the city budget was the budget process that Howard, our city manager, put before us. He really worked with our city’s departments to get them to come in front of us with no-frills funding requests for their individual budgets. Our city employees worked very hard to accomplish this and should be commended for what they presented us. 

With a limited budget and knowing what you know now, what would be your top spending priority among these three services: road repair, education or public safety? Why?

Public works/road repair. This would be my top priority today in the city’s current budget.

If I was the head of public works, I would look at the list of roads that are currently on the list for this year and next to be reclaimed and rebuilt, and get as many shovel-ready project specs lined up in the pipeline as possible. Then I would have my assistant or grant-finder start filling out as many new grant request applications that we can find out there for both state and federal funds, when available, to add to what was hopefully already requested and granted to take as much advantage of the falling oil and gas prices as possible.

Court Street could be narrowed from four travel lanes to two in 2016. Is that a good idea or not, and why do you feel that way?

I can honestly say I don’t know if this is a good idea or not without at least trying it.

I would rather try this with paint now instead of later some council just shelling out money to really dig up the road and do it. If this is deemed a bad idea, it can’t be as bad as being a car driven down Lisbon Street acting sort of like a pinball made to drive on this side then that side and back again.

What is your opinion regarding tax incentives to developers, such as Tax Increment Finance deals and state and federal grants? Should the city offer them or not?

I am usually in favor of most of the TIFs (Tax Increment Finance) deals that have come in front of the council when I have felt, based on the information presented, that they were done right and would be of a benefit to the city and Auburn taxpayers.

Name:

Robert C. Mennealy

Email address:

[email protected]

Facebook:

www.facebook.com/bmennealy

Occupation or primary source of income:

Retired

Education:

B.S. in education UMaine, 1971: M.P.A. at Umaine, 1975-ish

Family information:

I am married to a hard-working wife and have two adult children.

Public offices sought or held:

Served as an intern to Sen. Ed Muskie’s Senate Subcommittee on Intergovernmental Relations in 1970, attending the first Earth Day, and am a former three-term Auburn city councilor and an Auburn Sewer District trustee.

What do you like about the city budget passed this year, and what don’t you like? Was it too high, too low, just right?

I think the budget passed last year was a good one.

With a limited budget and knowing what you know now, what would be your top spending priority among these three services: road repair, education or public safety? Why?

I think education, road repair and public safety are all equally deserving, though a new high school is a big priority.

Court Street could be narrowed from four travel lanes to two in 2016. Is that a good idea or not, and why do you feel that way?

No, I do not think that is a good idea.

What is your opinion regarding tax incentives to developers, such as Tax Increment Finance deals and state and federal grants? Should the city offer them or not?

I think each case must be reviewed carefully, but broadening our tax base is very important to keep our tax rate affordable to all of our citizens.

Name:

Robert A. Sevigny

Email address:

[email protected]

Occupation or primary source of income:

Emergency vehicle mechanic

Education:

High school graduate and a veteran.

Family information:

Daughter and two grandsons.

Why are you running for office? Why should voters select you for this job?

I am running because I feel that there is nobody on the council that is looking out for the property owners of this city. I can no longer afford to sit on the sidelines while, year after year, property taxes continue to rise while valuations continue to decline. I am also very frustrated with the amount of the people’s business that is being conducted behind closed doors in executive session.

What do you like about the city budget passed this year, and what don’t you like? Was it too high, too low, just right?

The budget was hard to follow this year with the constant funding, de-funding and re-funding. It was like watching the carnival three-shell game. Keep your eyes on the pea. Where is the pea?

I think some things were funded high, while other things were funded low. I would not be surprised if some city departments come looking for more money in February.

With a limited budget and knowing what you know now, what would be your top spending priority among these three services: road repair, education or public safety? Why?

All three are equally important. The roads and sidewalks are atrocious, our schools are in a state of disrepair and public safety needs a little attention. It is going to take some serious people with common sense to straighten out the ship and get it back on course.

Court Street could be narrowed from four travel lanes to two in 2016. Is that a good idea or not, and why do you feel that way?

I think it is a bad idea to choke Court Street down to two lanes. It will create backups on both sides of the bridge, raise tempers and create road rage. I suspect the accident count may also rise. As someone who drives a lot, I always thought that it was a good idea to keep traffic flowing smoothly.

What is your opinion regarding tax incentives to developers, such as Tax Increment Finance deals and state and federal grants? Should the city offer them or not?

In communities that use tax increment financing as freely as Auburn does, property taxes are at least ten percent higher than they need to be. When the city returns 75 percent to 100 percent of taxes back to developers, the added burden of the project is then shifted to existing property owners.

Our schools greatly suffer from TIFs. All new development should be taxed at the same rate as everyone else, with that new income being used to maintain our infrastructure and to lower the tax burden on existing property owners. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could get our tax bills and actually see a decrease?

Name:

David C. Young

Email address:

[email protected]

Facebook:

www.facebook.com/AuburnCityCouncilorYoung

Other social media?

Most of my other social media accounts relate to either running or history. See Androscoggin Historical Society, on Facebook, the Androscoggin Historical Society and www.mainerunningphotos.com if you want to see another view of David Colby Young.

Occupation or primary source of income:

Machine operator.

Education:

B.S. in education from the University of Maine at Farmington.

Family information:

Wife: Elizabeth Keene Young, ELHS Class of 1973. Daughters: Amy Young, of Auburn, ELHS Class of 2000; Caroline Young Coffin, of Auburn, ELHS Class of 2000. Son-in-law: Dana Coffin, of Auburn, who attended Oxford Hills High School. My wife and I have two granddaughters and one grandson.

Public offices sought or held:

Auburn School Committee 1979-1985, Ward 4; Auburn School Committee 2009-2013, mayoral appointments by Mayors Gleason and LaBonte; Ward 4 city councilor, Jan. 2009-Dec. 2013; city councilor at-large, Dec. 2013- present.

Why are you running for office? Why should voters select you for this job?

If you need a person who can keep his cool, is willing to hear both sides of an issue, take ideas and get them into action, please send me back to finish the work we started. I would like to also be part of additional projects advancing the city for the better.

What do you like about the city budget passed this year, and what don’t you like? Was it too high, too low, just right?

Great! We had spring cleanup back in the budget. It is not to say it will be held every year, but it is a service that many voters support. We have been trying to drop down our debt limit the past few years. The Auburn City Council, in its planning, knows that future city councils will have needs for bonding, perhaps for a future new high school? Raising someone’s taxes for 30 years is not the road we want to go down.

With a limited budget and knowing what you know now, what would be your top spending priority among these three services: road repair, education or public safety? Why?

Education and roads are important, but it is not right to compare them to public safety (fire and police) because education and some roads have other pools of money. We have taken over the ambulance service from United. We will have to wait to see if this will be an improvement to our cash flow

Court Street could be narrowed from four travel lanes to two in 2016. Is that a good idea or not, and why do you feel that way?

This is not a good idea. I understand some of the thinking on this, but it is not the direction that will turn Court Street into a shopping district. Please, if you disagree with me, call so we can talk.

What is your opinion regarding tax incentives to developers, such as Tax Increment Finance deals and state and federal grants? Should the city offer them or not?

TIFs are a great tool, but I like the ones with short terms and do not think they should be used when they are not needed.

The Sun Journal will be printing candidates’ views on issues a few wards at a time leading up to next week’s candidate forums hosted by the Young Professionals of Lewiston-Auburn.

Auburn’s forum is at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20, in Auburn Hall. Lewiston’s is at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22, in Lewiston City Hall.

Print versions of the profiles are edited for length, but the full versions are online. To read everything the candidates had to say, visit our election guide at www.sunjournal.com/election/2015.


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