2015-06-05 / Community

Selectmen candidates lay out positions

The June 9 election in Kennebunk offers voters a chance to turn over as much as 43 percent of their local board of selectmen, with three of seven seats up for grabs. It’s also one of the most competitive races in the area this spring, with six candidates vying for those spots.

Given the decision of Selectman David Spofford to sit out the contest, voters are guaranteed at least one new face on the board, although the newcomer will hardly be a stranger to town hall. The field is deep with experience, including two incumbent selectmen, two former selectmen and two community activists among the candidates.

To help voters compare the candidates as well as their viewpoints, the Post asked each candidate to share how he plans to vote on each of the nine referendum questions on the June 9 ballot, and the two questions regarding funding for an RSU 21 (see sidebar for explanation of the questions).

In some cases, a candidate acknowledged that he was still undecided on an issue. In some cases, an explanation of what the candidate needs to reach a decision is provided, while in others, such as when a candidate professed to only “leaning” a certain way at the time of the interview, an elaboration on the intended vote is offered.

Meanwhile, one declined to share his positions.

“I feel giving my opinion on each (referendum question) would be the equivalent to stating how I was going to vote on each article,” wrote Selectman John Kotsonis in an explanatory email. “My votes for or against are a private matter done in the privacy of the voting booth.”

In addition to the referendum positions, the Post also asked each candidate if he would support raising funds for a study into the feasibility of Kennebunk withdrawing from RSU 21, if a valid petition to do so is presented to selectmen. One of the six candidates, Ed Karytko, has been actively circulating a petition, although he said the project is currently on hold, with about half the required signatures in hand, pending results of a similar vote in Kennebunkport June 9.

Finally, the Post posed the so-called “magic wand” question to each candidate, asking each what he would change, fix, or restore about Kennebunk, given unlimited power to do so.

— Compiled by Staff Writer Duke Harrington


Name: Dan Boothby Name: Dan Boothby Name: Dan Boothby

Age: 53

Residency: 33 years (Kennebunk native)

Education: Kennebunk High School. Attended the University of Maine and Southern Maine Community College

Occupation: General manager of Cummings’ Market

Experience: Kennebunk Board of Selectmen (2002- 2009); also served as coach and board member of various youth sporting leagues

Family: Married, five children, schoolage to adult, one grandchild

Contact: 272-8026

Q1 (town budget): Yes

Q2 (CMP clearing): Yes
Q3 (CIP funding): Yes
Q4 (town bond): Yes
Q5 (public works): Yes
Q6 (funding nonprofits): Yes
Q7 (beach permit): Yes
Q8 (zoning notice): Yes

Q9 (skate park): No. “I don’t believe we should be building a skateboard park anywhere in town with public money. That should be done only with private fundraising.”

RSU budget: Yes

RSU bond: Yes

Kennebunk withdrawal study: No

Magic wand: “If I could do anything I would want to have everyone in town go to the polls, to really understand what they are voting for, and have a great turnout.”


Name: Edward Karytko Name: Edward Karytko Name: Edward Karytko

Age: 71

Residency: 22 years (native of New Jersey, has also lived in Pennsylvania and Vermont)

Education: Associate’s degree in business management from Bucks County (Penn.) Community College. Has also attended engineering school. Served three years in the Army, including one in Vietnam.

Occupation: Retired from 30-plus year career in the printing industry.

Experience: Burlington, Vermont parochial school board (two years); 2014 candidate for Maine State House of Representatives; Kennebunk Budget Board (2014-present)

Family: Married, four adult children, six grandchildren

Contact: ed@karytko.com

Q1 (town budget): Leaning towards no. “I really would have liked to have seen a lower budget. I’ve used the word ‘unsustainable.’”

Q2 (CMP clearing): No
Q3 (CIP funding): Yes
Q4 (town bond): No
Q5 (public works): Yes
Q6 (funding nonprofits): No
Q7 (beach permit): Yes
Q8 (zoning notice): Yes

Q9 (skate park): Undecided. Doubts Parsons Field site will be “substantial enough” or have room to grow, planned to walk current site to determine expansion

possibilities there.
RSU budget: No
RSU bond: No

Kennebunk withdrawal study: Yes

Magic wand: “I feel you can tell whether you’re driving into a quality town by how well the roads are maintained. At this point in time, from taking to people at public works, it seems we keep falling further and further behind on repairing and maintaining our public roads. So, if I had a magic wand, I would have the genie come out of the jar and dump all of the money into our public roads. We don’t want to be in a situation where we’re putting Band-aids on things all the time. It would be nice to get things fixed and fixed right.”


Name: John Kotsonis Name: John Kotsonis Name: John Kotsonis

Age: 56 Residency: 13 years (Portsmouth, N.H. native) Education: Attended University of New Hampshire

Occupation: Front counter clerk, U.S. Post Office in Kennebunk

Experience: Alternate planning board member (in New Hampshire); Kennebunk Charter Commission (two years); Kennebunk Board of Selectmen (2009-present)

Family: Married, two adult children

Contact: jkotsonis@kennebunkmaine.us

Q1 (town budget): Declined

Q2 (CMP clearing): Declined

Q3 (CIP funding): Declined, unanimously endorsed by selectmen

Q4 (town bond): Declined, unanimously endorsed by selectmen

Q5 (public works): Declined, unanimously endorsed by selectmen

Q6 (funding nonprofits): Declined

Q7 (beach permit): Declined, unanimously endorsed by selectmen

Q8 (zoning notice): Declined, unanimously endorsed by selectmen

Q9 (skate park): Declined

RSU budget: Declined

RSU bond: Declined, has publicly criticized the bond package, although has said buildings do need repair.

Kennebunk withdrawal study: Declined, has spoken against withdrawal.

Magic wand: “I would go back and change my vote from four years ago to send dispatch to Sanford rather than keeping it here in town.

“We were told it [consolidation] was coming and rather than get pushed to someone, if we wanted to keep a PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point) we’d better be ahead of the curve and make our own choice. And we were told we were going to save money by doing that. We were told we were looking at somewhere in the vicinity of $250,000 in savings. But we haven’t saved that and we’ve had to put money into equipment in order to set up direct communications between here and Sanford. Now, in order to get it back, we’d have to spend a lot more than $250,000. So, if I had a magic wand I would go back and change that vote.”

Name: Albert “Al” Searles

Age: 62

Residency: 25 years (Wells native)

Education: Wells High School

Occupation: Disabled for the past 1½ years, previously a landscape manager for more than 30 years.

Experience: Kennebunk Budget Board (three years), Kennebunk Board of Selectmen (2008-present)

Family: Married, six adult children, four grandchildren (with one more on the way)

Contact: asearles@kennebunkmaine.us

Q1 (town budget): Yes
Q2 (CMP clearing): Yes
Q3 (CIP funding): Yes
Q4 (town bond): Yes
Q5 (public works): Yes
Q6 (funding nonprofits): No
Q7 (beach permit): Yes
Q8 (zoning notice): Yes
Q9 (skate park): Yes
RSU budget: No
RSU bond: No
Kennebunk withdrawal study: Yes

Magic wand: “The municipal government has no power over the RSU and I think that’s one of the problems we have. We have to sign their warrant and pass it on to voters no matter what it is. I’d like to see the board of selectmen have the same control over the bottom line, at least Kennebunk’s share of it, that boards have where the schools serve just that one municipality, but that’s not how it works with an RSU.

“At the very least, I don’t believe the board (of selectmen) should consider budget allocations based on how much the RSU is going to spend. We can’t jeopardize what we have in Kennebunk just because the school system is going to spend ‘X’ amount of dollars. If we need something in a town, we should get it and not put it off to try keep the taxes down in light of yet another big increase in the school budget, like we have often done in the past.”


Name: Shiloh Schulte Name: Shiloh Schulte Name: Shiloh Schulte

Age: 36

Residency: Seven years (native of Jericho, Vermont)

Education: B.S. in wildlife biology from the University of Vermont, Doctorate in zoology from North Carolina State University

Occupation: Wildlife biologist at the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences

Experience: None

Family: Married, two school-age children

Contact: Shiloh. Schulte@gmail.com

Q1 (town budget): Yes

Q2 (CMP clearing): Yes

Q3 (CIP funding): Yes “with reservations.”

Q4 (town bond): Leaning toward yes. “I never like borrowing money, but it does look to me like there aren’t other viable options.”

Q5 (public works): Yes

Q6 (funding nonprofits): Yes

Q7 (beach permit): Yes

Q8 (zoning notice): Yes

Q9 (skate park): No

RSU budget: Yes

RSU bond: Yes

Kennebunk withdrawal study: No

Magic wand: “I would want to make sure that over the next 10 to 20 years, Kennebunk’s character and uniqueness stays the way it is. I think we’re at risk of losing some of that with development, particularly with what I see along Route 1, and maybe moving from there into West Kennebunk. Sustained, thoughtful economic development is important, but I don’t think anyone in Kennebunk wants our town to become a place just like anywhere else in the country.”

Name: William “Bill” Ward Jr.
Name: William “Bill” Ward Jr. Name: William “Bill” Ward Jr.

Age: 59

Residency: 52 years (Massachusetts native)

Education: Working on a B.S. in general education and finance at Southern New Hampshire University

Occupation: Owner of Arundel Computer Repair Service.

Experience: Kennebunk Budget Board (2004-2011, 2014-present); Kennebunk Board of Selectmen (2011-2014)

Family: Single, no children

Contact: wward1@gmail.com

Q1 (town budget): Yes

Q2 (CMP clearing): No. “I like the idea, but I feel like CMP is holding us hostage. They really should be paying for that.”

Q3 (CIP funding): Yes

Q4 (town bond): Yes

Q5 (public works): Yes

Q6 (funding nonprofits): Undecided. “Some of these organizations are worthy, but at the same time I’m not really sure it’s our role to be funding them. But then again, do I really want to be taking money away from a homeless shelter? This is a conversation the town needs to have.”

Q7 (beach permit): Yes

Q8 (zoning notice): Yes

Q9 (skate park): Leaning toward no. “I like the idea of putting it in a more visible location, but it seems like it would disrupt a lot of families if it’s put in Parsons Field.”

RSU budget: Yes

RSU bond: No

Kennebunk withdrawal study: No

Magic wand: “There’s so many different things, but one thing, if I had a magic wand, I would get all the roads in Kennebunk fixed and get a maintenance plan to keep them that way.”

The Kennebunk ballot

The ballot will include nine referendum questions, as well as the school budget validation vote and referendum on a school building bond, as follows:

Question 1 — To appropriate $11.74 million for the annual town budget, $7.87 million of which is to be raised by taxation.

Question 2 — To appropriate $12,041 to have Central Maine Power clear vegetation from its transmission line corridor by hand, instead of using herbicides. This vote authorized a fouryear contract, with a similar amount to be paid each year.

Question 3 — To transfer $1.29 million from the town’s undesignated fund balance, or “surplus,” to pay for various capital investment projects and purchases and to reduce current and future debt service payments.

Question 4 — To borrow $828,000 to pay for road paving, vehicle purchases, a vehicle lift system, a town hall/fire department generator and buy land to expand parking for town employees.

Question 5 — To transfer $150,000 from the town’s undesignated fund balance, or “surplus,” to cover shortfalls in the public works budget during the current fiscal year.

Question 6 — A nonbinding referendum asking residents if they want to continue funding nonprofit, charitable and social service agencies as part of the annual municipal budget.

Question 7 — To amend the public beaches ordinance to require a permit for fires at Narragansett Point, and to allow selectmen to make minor amendments in the future without a public vote.

Question 8 — To amend zoning ordinances to require earlier notification to abutting landowners of contract zone and zoning map amendments.

Question 9 — A nonbinding referendum asking residents if they favor building a skateboard park in Parsons Field instead if improving the current facility on Factory Pasture Lane, submitted via citizen’s petition.

RSU Question 1 — To validate the $40.1 million annual budget for RSU 21, $21.7 million of which is to be charged to Kennebunk taxpayers. (Kennebunkport taxpayers are slated to cover $8 million and Arundel $4.3 million, with the rest supported by state and federal subsidies).

RSU Question 2 — To authorize borrowing up to $56.5 million to fund repair and renovations to Kennebunk High School, Kennebunkport Consolidated School and Arundel’s Mildred L. Day Elementary School.

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