Wednesday, April 23, 2014
WATERVILLE -- Planning Board member Michael Owens is the new city councilor representing Ward 2.
Owens, a teacher's aide at Waterville Junior High School and member of the board of directors for Kennebec Messalonsksee Trails, replaces George Myers Jr., who resigned earlier this fall.
Owens was one of four candidates for the position, including Edward Lachowicz, a student studying social work and the husband of state Sen.-elect Colleen Lachowicz, D-District 25; Nathaniel White, director of the American Heritage Tour at Alfond Youth Center; and Patrick Roy, a night auditor for Comfort Inn who is retired from Scott Paper Co.
Council Chairman Fred Stubbert, D-Ward 1, nominated White for the position Tuesday and Councilor Erik Thomas seconded the nomination.
Councilor John O'Donnell, D-Ward 5, nominated Owens, with Councilor Eliza Mathias, D-Ward 6, seconding his motion.
O'Donnell, Mathias and Councilor Karen Rancourt-Thomas, D-Ward 7, voted for Owens. Stubbert and Thomas voted for White.
Mayor Karen Heck thanked all who sought the position.
"Thank you to the other nominees and now, there is an opening on the Planning Board," she said.
Owens took the seat immediately after being appointed, so was not immediately available for comment.
In his letter to the city, Owens wrote that he has lived in Ward 2 for more than 20 years, was educated in Waterville schools and has an undergraduate degree in resource business management and a master's in public administration focusing on planning, development and environmental sustainability.
"I have always possessed the feeling of civic duty and have kept myself up to date and informed of the workings and changes of the city," his letter says. "I understand the challenges and needs of a municipality and those affecting Waterville."
In other matters, councilors appointed three members to the newly established Charter Commission: Peter Lyford, who served on two previous charter commissions; Cathy Taylor, a member of the police station study committee; and former City Councilor Roland Hallee, who also is a warden in Ward 6.
Lyford, Taylor and Hallee submitted letters to the city seeking appointment to the commission.
Taylor got five votes, with O'Donnell voting against; Lyford was appointed unanimously; Hallee was appointed 4-2, with Mathias and Stubbert dissenting.
The commission is charged with reviewing the charter, which acts as a local constitution, and determining if any changes should be made.
Heck asked Lyford if there were any unresolved issues from the last charter commission's work.
Lyford said the most significant change made was to weaken the mayor's power and institute a city manager's position. The idea of removing party politics from elected positions was discussed but no decisions made, Lyford said.
In other words, the commission discussed the possibility of removing party designation from candidates and elected officials.
"That issue ultimately was not resolved by that commission," Lyford said.
Councilors Tuesday also voted to renew public safety dispatching service contracts with Albion, Clinton, Sidney, Belgrade and Rome.
They took the first of three needed votes to approve a change to the tax ordinance that would deny city licenses or renewal to anyone more than 60 days delinquent in paying personal property taxes beyond the end of the city's fiscal year.
Amy Calder -- 861-9247