WATERVILLE — The City Council on Tuesday will decide whether to place a request to recall John O’Donnell, D-Ward 5, on the June 12 ballot, and if enough signatures have been collected for the request to recall Mayor Nick Isgro, the council will decide whether that item will go on the ballot also.

The meeting will be at 7 p.m. in the council chambers on the third floor of The Center at 93 Main St. downtown.

City Clerk Patti Dubois said Monday that the 145 signatures needed for the Ward 5 ballot item were submitted to her office and certified, so councilors must set a date for that question to go to the voters — which is within 45 days of being notified of the petition being sufficient.

By 1:15 p.m. Monday, Dubois’ office had received and certified 428 signatures collected as part of an effort to place the mayoral recall item on the June 12 ballot, and 857 signatures are needed all together.

The number of signatures needed for the Ward 5 seat is 15 percent of the number of people who voted in the last gubernatorial election in Ward 5; the number of signatures needed for the mayoral recall petition is 15 percent of the number of registered voters citywide who voted in that election.

Dubois said the deadline for submitting signatures for the mayoral recall petition is 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 2.


If not enough signatures are collected by that time, her office would have to set a separate special election for after June 12.

She said having the two items on the June 12 ballot would be more cost-effective for the city than holding another election after that date.

“Obviously, we’re trying to piggyback any special election onto the June 12 election because it is much more cost effective than having another separate election,” Dubois said. “Unfortunately, there’s a very short time to get ballots printed and machines programmed.”

The June 12 election itself will cost the city about $3,000 in staffing needs, she said. Because it is a state election, the state pays for ballot printing and machine programming. Having both the Ward 5 and mayoral recalls on the ballot June 12 would cost the city an additional $2,500, for machine programming and printing, for a total of between $5,500 and $6,000, according to Dubois.

“If we have just the Ward 5 item, we’d do it without programming the machines — we’d just hand count,” she said.

But since a mayoral recall question is citywide and would add a second yes or no question, the clerk’s office likely would program machines and print the ballots through a vendor, according to Dubois.


She said that it has been challenging for her office to find the time to prepare for the election itself because staff have been focusing on verifying petition signatures, which is time consuming. Election preparation includes training staff, organizing signs, reference materials and supplies needed for election day, testing voting equipment, administering absentee voting and providing voting at nursing homes.

Jay Coelho, a Libertarian, organized the Ward 5 recall effort after the council on April 3 appointed O’Donnell to the Ward 5 seat which was vacated by Republican Nick Champagne, who resigned to become the city engineer. Coelho, Democrat Julian Payne and Republican George Thiboutot had sought the Ward 5 seat but were not appointed. Payne, a member of the Waterville Board of Education, had packed the council chambers with his supporters who were angry he had not been appointed. O’Donnell served in the seat for about 10 years before opting not to seek re-election in 2016.

Meanwhile, the mayoral recall effort was started because of comments Isgro has made on social media, including the tweet “Eat it, Hogg,” in reference to Parkland, Florida, school shooting survivor David Hogg. The Republican mayor, using his personal Twitter account, was responding to a story that Fox News would continue to back host Laura Ingraham after she made disparaging remarks about Hogg.

In other matters at Tuesday’s meeting, the council will consider taking final votes to appropriate $25,000 from a downtown tax increment financing account to support the Business and Career Services office at Waterville Public Library for 2018-19; spend about $15,000 from the Airport Business Park Reserve Account to put toward replacing a damaged airport utility truck; take about $40,000 from the Lockwood Mills TIFF account to pave and make other improvements to the former Elden Inn lot to create more parking downtown; and accept a $570,000 grant from the Harold Alfond Foundation to make repairs to the city’s Alfond Municipal Pool on North Street.

The council will consider awarding a $26,460 contract to Central Maine Motors for a utility truck for the airport and a $6,994 contract to Trailside Performance of Winslow for snow plowing equipment for the truck.

Councilors also will consider authorizing City Manager Michael Roy to solicit bids for the sale of 6 acres next to the former Wyandotte mill treatment lagoons on West River Road. The council will consider referring to the Planning Board a request to rezone 110 College Ave. to allow conversion of an existing former retirement home into apartments.


Changes to the property maintenance ordinance and building and electrical permit ordinance, as well as rules regarding mobile food vendors, also will be considered.

Amy Calder — 861-9247


Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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