2018-06-01 / Letters

Writers weigh in on elections

To the editor,

Thanks to the Kennebunk Post for providing its readers with candidate profiles for the upcoming June 12 vote. Reading about candidates, their positions on issues and what they believe they would bring to the position if elected is enlightening.

Letters to the editor also have provided insights into the candidates from other sources.

Of particular interest to me is the election of the Kennebunk Light and Power District trustee position. I have had the opportunity to talk with both candidates at various KLPD sessions and have concluded that it really is time for a change. I, therefore, ask that you vote for Albert Kolff. The skills that he would bring to this elected position would be beneficial to the Board of Trustees as well as us ratepayers.

To borrow the slogan from the incumbent’s sign – “Light & Power Clean, Affordable, Reliable”– that’s exactly what hydro generation has been and will continue to be. Albert believes this, American First Hydro believes this, many ratepayers believe this. Key KLPD trustee business objectives should be ensuring that we have hydro operational expertise, normal maintenance is performed in a timely fashion and infrastructure is upgraded when needed.

It’s time for a change. Please vote for Albert Kolff on June 12.

Chauncey Copeland
Kennebunk

To the editor,

The upcoming elections on June 12, although they feature party primaries, include a referendum of interest to Independents. Maine voters in 2016 approved ranked choice voting, but a year later, the Legislature decided to delay it for four years.

Proponents of ranked choice used the people’s veto to stop the long delay, gathering more than enough signatures to go forward. And the Maine Supreme Court ruled that ranked choice can be used in primaries and federal elections in our state. But one more step is necessary. We must approve the people’s veto in yet another referendum.

This referendum, Question 1, will go to voters, including Independents, on June 12, also the date of party primaries and many municipal elections. The language of the referendum is confusing. What you need to know is that if you want to use ranked choice voting to elect our senators and congressmen in Washington, vote yes on Question 1. Whether you are an independent or party member, I hope you will use an absentee ballot or go to the polls on June 12.

Victoria Adams
Kennebunk

To the editor,

We are writing this letter in support of Robert “Bob” Georgitis for Kennebunk selectman. We have known Bob well for 11 years, as we have conducted an extensive amount of business with him at our business,

The Lighthouse, through his role as a vice president and project manager with Kasprzak, Inc., developers of many of southern Maine’s finest condominium complexes.

In his line of work, Bob has to deal with scores of customers and subcontractors at a very high level. Many of these folks can be extremely demanding, but we have observed Bob in action and he is unflappable. He deals with whatever issues get thrown his way with the utmost professionalism. Outside of work, Bob is head of the Kennebunk Economic Development Committee, a vitally important committee in town. We can honestly say that Bob probably knows every piece of land in town and has a good idea (and usually the right idea) about what should go on that land for the good of the town.

When Kennebunk Elementary School was built, Bob volunteered his time and expertise to be on the building committee. Anyone who has set foot in that school can attest that it is one of the nicest public elementary schools in the country. Bob played a big part in that.

Our family has been conducting business in this town for close to 50 years making us one of the longest standing businesses in Kennebunk owned by the same family. We are about as vested in the Kennebunks as you can be and Bob Georgitis has our full support for Kennebunk selectman.

Tim and Beth Fossett
Kennebunk

To the editor,

Kennebunk Light and Power needs people on the board who are reasonable and open to new ideas. Jay Kilbourn has proven to be both. He approaches problems as a pragmatist, looking for solutions for our electrical needs that make sense in the long run.

He is committed to community discussion, knowing that democracy flourished when everyone has all the same information. I hope you will support him June 12.

Jacqueline Peters
Kennebunk

To the editor,

I’m supporting Jonathan “Jay” Kilbourn’s re-election as a trustee to the Kennebunk Light & Power District.

Although much hay has been made over the (correct) decision by all voting board members to abandon hydropower as an energy source, I’d like to focus on the future. While there are many good arguments for keeping the dams, hydropower, in my view, isn’t one of them. With Jay’s help, we’re already on our way to cheaper, more reliable clean energy because of the 3 mega-watt solar array in West Kennebunk.

On top of that, we have an opportunity to build our own locally-owned fiber-optic network. Just imagine: Instead of putting up with high costs and poor service from our cable TV monopoly, Spectrum and others would have to compete for access to the Kennebunk market and for your business. Jay Kilbourn will make this effort a priority.

I hope you’ll join me in re-electing Jonathan Kilbourn.

Daniel A. Lyons
Kennebunk

To the editor,

These are the reasons I support Jonathan “Jay” Kilbourn’s re-election to the KLPD board of trustees.

For the past five years Jay has worked tirelessly to hold the cost of electricity down for all KLPD ratepayers. Jay has been instrumental in guiding KLPD through a period of unprecedented change in the production, distribution and consumption of electricity.

As a key step in KLPD’s long term strategic plan, Jay led the renegotiation of a supply contract with NextEra, saving ratepayers about $2 million. In the world of electricity, energy independence means greater reliability and lower future costs. This is why Jay pushed for creating an independent power source for KLPD in the form of a 3-megawatt solar power station in West Kennenbunk. Estimated cost savings: $1,347,000 over it’s lifetime. That makes good sense to me.

It’s important to note, Jay is a team player. When facing major decisions, he welcomes public input and open, respectful discussion. As a board member, he never forgets that he serves all of us ... equally. As a leader, he is level headed and open-minded leader. Above all, he knows that in any negotiation, whether it’s a contract for reliable, low cost electricity, an upgrade to a SMART Grid or a public/ private partnership to deliver lower coat and ultra-high speed internet, decisions must be based on the best available facts not wishful thinking. In the search for reliable, low cost electricity he leaves no voice unheard or stone unturned.

David Reece
Kennebunk

To the editor,

First I want to thank all of KLPD for providing reliable and economical electricity to its ratepayers.

I would also like to comment on the May 18 letter of Tom Murphy, as his letter was simply wrong. The title of his letter “Candidate puts taxpayers first” causes confusion. KLPD has ratepayers not taxpayers. Mr. Murphy and his preferred candidate for KLPD trustee are promoting expensive dams and hydropower. How is that good for ratepayers?

Mr. Murphy claimed that KLPD doesn’t care about businesses and that KLPD lost Corning Company as one of its customers. KLPD actually helped Corning get cheaper power and still delivers power to Corning. It’s Murphy/ Kolff who don’t care about rates. Three professional studies have shown that it will be more costly for KLPD to produce hydropower electricity than buy it off the grid.

The allegation by Mr. Murphy of people “struggling” to have input is just wrong. Time is set aside at each meeting for public comment. The website has great info and KLPD is listening.

Mr. Murphy’s letter refers to “out of town” interests. Name calling of local people as outside agitators is wrong. Yes, both sides reach out to experts to resolve complex issues. Interesting that the only company interested in relicensing the dams is from New York state and that is “out of town.”

And outrageously, Mr. Murphy’s candidate Kolff filed a pre-application document with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on behalf of the town of Kennebunk and KLPD without obtaining their consent or coordinating with them.

Is this the way the voters want decisions and actions to be done on their behalf?

Bill Pasquill
Kennebunk

To the editor,

I am running for re-election to the Kennebunk Light & Power District board of trustees. In a recent letter, Thomas Murphy got it wrong when he described my five-year record with KLPD.

I have a record of informing and listening to the public, addressing the needs of businesses, providing ratepayers reliable and affordable electricity, protecting the environment, and making good decisions about our hydropower and dams. Here’s the record:

Saved Ratepayers Money Now and in Future: Our power delivery price is still lower than CMP and second lowest in the state. We’ve limited operating cost increases to an average of 1.1 percent per year. I directly assisted in renegotiating our power supply contract which has saved ratepayers over $2 million already.

Delivered power seven times more reliably than CMP. Really.

Secured Cost Saving, Renewable Solar Energy: We signed-up a new 3 megawatt solar power plant in West K at a price well below our current and projected future hydropower cost and below our current low market rate for power, as well. The solar plant is estimated to save ratepayers $1,347,000 over the contract term.

Improved Transparency and Public Communications: Today, our ratepayers have far better communications and access than ever before. We’ve hosted public hearings, expanded our meeting room, revamped our website to include agendas, minutes and documents, severely limited the use of executive sessions, offered email alerts, and included a public comment period in every meeting. Video recording and streaming of meetings is coming soon.

Remained Business Friendly: Corning, our largest customer, recently leveraged its corporate buying power to secure a lower wholesale price for electricity than that available to KLPD, with no cost or negative impact to KLPD. KLPD continues to deliver electricity to Corning, using a dedicated power line to ensure reliability and at a cost below CMP. I’ve worked with Corning management personally. I want to increase our efforts to partner with local businesses to meet all their power needs and reduce costs.

Improved Maintenance of Infrastructure: We’ve maintained and operated the hydropower plants, begun designs to replace our aging substation, improved lines and meters and expanded tree pruning for improved reliability.

Hired New Management: The new general manager, Todd Shea, understands the importance of responsiveness to the public and has become an expert in federal regulations and grid operations.

Made Good Decisions About the Dams: Three engineering reports confirmed that continuing hydropower production after 2022 would be a poor business decision. I voted with other trustees to protect ratepayers from many millions of dollars in licensing, upgrades and lawsuits. Future hydropower was projected to cost two to three times more, a fact not provided to voters in the non-binding dam referendum. We must balance the views of our community, the responsibilities to ratepayers and the environmental concerns. Before deciding the future of our dams, we should know the costs and impacts.

I will look out for the ratepayers and the public interest.

Jonathan “Jay” Kilbourn
Kennebunk

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