MICHAEL FARRELL

Occupation: Self-employed

Michael Farrell

Education: College, not graduated

Family: Wife, son

Political experience: Former two term councilor in Ward 1, former Ward 1 School Committee member, numerous boards and committees via mayoral appointment.

Q: Why do you think you’re the most qualified, or best candidate for this seat?

A: I have put in hundreds of hours in research, hands-on approaches and innovations for Auburn. Nothing ever crosses my desk without scrutiny, without studying for efficiency and improvement. If we buy it or pay for it, it’s the most cost effective way to attain it and the best that we can get or I find a better way. I do not settle for ‘it’s the way it’s always been’ or paying just because.

Q: Please name three issues that you believe are critical to Auburn’s future, and how you would address them.

A: I feel three pressing issues are: affordability, population and incomes. If we do not start planning for now and not just the future we will never prosper. If we cannot make Auburn business friendly, our populous will not grow and we will not prosper or attract new growth economically or population wise. Incomes must grow or dues to the taxpayers must be stalled to allow Auburn to attract interest from away.

Q: What do you like about the city budget passed this year, and what don’t you like?

A: I feel our budget is bloated at the expense of a Cadillac system that functions like a pedal bike.

HOLLY LASAGNA

Occupation: Health Promotion Manager, Healthy Androscoggin

Holly Lasagna

Education: BA, Brown University; Master of Leadership Studies, University of Southern Maine

Family: Husband, Peter, who is the varsity men’s lacrosse coach at Bates College, and two grown children, Deacon and Carmen

Political experience: Ward 1 city councilor completing my first term. As a councilor, I represent the city and the community on the ELHS Building Committee, Auburn Strategic Plan Steering Committee, as chair of the CDBG Community Advisory Committee, member of the Mayor’s ad hoc Agriculture and Resource Protection Zone Committee, and member of the ad hoc Recycling Committee.

Q: Why do you think you’re the most qualified, or best candidate for this seat?

A: The next two years are going to be extremely important in determining what future we envision for Auburn. During this time we will start to develop the next Comprehensive Plan which is the overarching road map for our community for the next 10 years. We will be implementing a new Strategic Plan for the city of Auburn that was developed with input from the community and will inform and be informed by the Comprehensive Plan. We will be developing a new five-year Consolidated Plan that will guide our CDBG programs for housing support and resources for local social service and community development programs. Finally, the new Edward Little High School will be coming online in three years and there is a lot of planning that still needs to go on to address what will happen inside the classrooms and learning spaces.

I believe that I am well qualified to effectively address each of these important issues as I have been actively engaged in them for the past almost two years. I spend time educating myself deeply about each issue and actively participate in the planning and discussions. I am able to integrate what I learn from the diverse issues and information into an informed, thoughtful vision. I listen to differing opinions and make decisions that best serve Ward 1 and the city of Auburn. I do not come to issues with a preconceived notion of what the final outcome should be but rather take my time and determine what will be best for our community. I look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with my fellow council members as well as city staff in a way that is thoughtful and collaborative.

Q: Please name three issues that you believe are critical to Auburn’s future, and how you would address them.

A: The Agriculture and Resource Protection Zone. The key to Auburn’s future as an incredibly special place is to preserve the natural environment through thoughtful planning. We need to address the issue of those who own nonconforming lots but who want to build on them. This must be done with a carefully considered response to each case with input from the Planning Board. We want to support these families. We need to continue to develop a zoning ordinance that is not just a reaction to pressure to quickly come up with a solution to complex issues. I think that the city staff has proposed such a plan and look forward to working to refine and implement it.

Lake Auburn. There will continue to be more and more pressure on the lake due to climate change and runoff within the watershed. We need to support continued monitoring and research that can guide our thinking as we look at the need and cost of filtration. It will be a big decision and we need to be thoughtful and informed about the pros and cons and the cost.

The new Edward Little High School. We are extremely fortunate that the community has supported the building of what will be the best high school in the state of Maine. To truly live up to its potential we need to be aware of two important issues. One is that we will be encumbering bonds to pay for the high school in about two years. Once that happens, Auburn residents will be responsible for paying for those bonds. It is important that we hold the line on city taxes and school spending between now and then so that the new high school is an opportunity not a burden.

The second important aspect of the new high school is that we must start thinking right now about how we plan to take advantage of the wonderful new space in terms of teaching and learning. We have spent a lot of time on the bricks and mortar part of the building. I would like to see a robust committee that is looking at curriculum that includes community members as well as educators.

Q: What do you like about the city budget passed this year, and what don’t you like?

A: With the help of city staff we were able to craft a budget that was responsible and conservative. This was also possible because of the change in municipal revenue sharing that the state supported. We can’t always count on this additional funding so we need to make sure that we are holding the line on any tax increases.

The School Department did a great job and came to the council with a 0% increase. I think this helps set the stage for a more collaborative effort between the council and school administration, which will be important as the new Edward Little High School comes online.

I was happy that we added funds back into the Lewiston & Auburn Transit Committee budget so that they can look more closely into how they can make a more efficient public transportation system, something that is vital to attracting young people and families.

I have still not seen a business plan for the Sports Tourism funding that was allocated for rebranding of the Recreation Department and feel that we need to keep tabs on this expense as it includes costs for the Norway Savings Bank Arena.

While the budget process was much better managed this year, I still think that we need to ask the city manager to allow us more time for discussion and research about specific budget requests from departments, particularly the school system.


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