George Lapointe

HALLOWELL — Council hopeful Matthew Radasch has criticized incumbent Councilor-at-Large George Lapointe for not doing enough to raise city revenues ahead of the Nov. 5 election.

Radasch is Lapointe’s only challenger for the seat.

In Ward 3, Diana Scully will run unopposed for a council seat. Incumbent Kara Walker is not running for reelection.

Radasch, who runs his own business — manufacturing, packaging and shipping cosmetics and skin-care products — said he was vying for the seat because he has always been interested in serving on the council.

He took issue with the recent tax increase in Hallowell, and criticized Lapointe, the chairperson of the Finance Committee, for not working hard enough to boost city revenues to offset increased expenditures.

“It didn’t seem that George had much interest in looking at our revenue side instead of raising taxes,” Radasch said. “That seemed to be the start and stop of how we were to increase revenue.”

Matthew Radasch

Lapointe, responding to Radasch’s claim, said the council has tried to increase revenue through economic development, but there is only so much space to expand in the small city. He pointed at Stevens Commons as “one of the brightest spots” in revenue expansion.

He said that property is going to generate more tax money for the city over the long term, and any notion that a large revenue increase could happen in the space of one budget year is “unrealistic.”

Radasch, who is involved with Vision Hallowell and the city’s Comprehensive Plan Committee, told the Kennebec Journal, “There’s a huge opportunity to increase revenues for the city.”

When asked to expand on strategies to do so, Radasch declined to comment, saying, “I still have a campaign to run.”

If elected, Lapointe said he would work on “doing better at the budget process.” He said city officials should look into more gradual increases, instead of holding the property tax rate steady and then having a large increase, as it did this year. To do that, he said, city officials should try to address long-term capital expenditures a little at a time.

Lapointe, who has been on the council for four years, also said the future of the Second Street Fire Station, affordable housing for workers and the city’s comprehensive plan were on his radar for the next term. When asked why voters should vote for him, Lapointe said his experience and record as a city councilor should be major factors.

“I think I’ve done a good job and I think I represent the citizens of Hallowell well,” Lapointe said. “I think I’ve got a lot of experience that benefits the city of Hallowell.”

Diana Scully

Scully, the executive director of the Maine Justice Foundation, said she has lived in Hallowell since 1983 and has grown to love the community. She said she served on the school board until the early 2000s.

Scully said her work with the Maine Justice Foundation, which provides legal services for low-income people, has prepared her to tackle budget issues.

“I spend a lot of time on budget issues, and I spend a lot of time with people that have a big range of issues and perspectives on things,” she said. “No issue is black or white or very simple. There’s a lot of nuances.”

While she was gathering signatures to run, Scully said residents vocalized their issues with the increasing taxes and funding for the Hubbard Free Library. She cited the city’s upcoming comprehensive plan as something she was looking forward to tackling, adding Hallowell could benefit from housing for all age groups.

Walker said she was stepping away from the council to spend more time with her family.

“It was a tough decision, but once my son is grown, I may like to serve the city again, if given the opportunity,” she said. “With the remaining councilors, I know the city is in good hands of people who truly care. ”

Spiegel opposed in school board race, for now

Peter Spiegel

Incumbent Regional School Unit 2 School Board member Dawn Gallagher returned papers for the election, but said she would drop out of the race so newcomer Peter Spiegel can run unopposed.

Gallagher, who has served since 2008, said she entered the race because no one had taken out papers when she went to City Hall.

“I applaud Peter for stepping forward,” Gallagher said. “I fully endorse him.”

In a Sept. 6 interview, Gallagher said she was ready to step away from the board because she had accomplished a number of important tasks, including creating a cohesive school unit through turmoil and consolidating system contracts.

“That took a change of leadership that I did bring,” Gallagher said. “Now it’s time to pass the baton and I have felt in the past three or four years that it would be wonderful to have someone with children in the school to be on the board.”

Spiegel, a father of two, is a former educator who now works from home doing health coding, podcasting and consulting. He said members of the community asked him to run for the school board.

Spiegel, whose 6-year-old daughter attends Hall-Dale Elementary, said he did not run because he had children in the school. Instead, he said he felt strongly about education before he had children and felt he could “add a positive voice” to the board.

“I don’t want to make any sort of request,” he said. “I want to go in there with a fresh set of eyes and ears, without any pre-conceived notions of what to expect.”

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