HALLOWELL — Mayor Mark Walker says he is planning to use Thursday evening’s inauguration ceremony as an opportunity to reflect on the city’s progress over the past 10 years.

After that, two city councilors — an incumbent and a newcomer — will be sworn in.

The current City Council is expected to convene for a short meeting before adjourning, leading to another short meeting when new members are sworn in, according to the published agenda.

During the second meeting, one councilor will be elected president of the City Council. The council president presides over meetings if the mayor is absent.

The inauguration is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday at the Hallowell City Hall Auditorium.

Walker will deliver an inaugural address for the sixth year, which he said will include mention of strides the city has made during the past decade.

Walker has been the city’s mayor since 2014, and his first inaugural address focused on the reconstruction of Water Street, which was completed in late 2018, saying at the time that decisions made in the next three to four years will be “the biggest ones we’ve made in decades.”

Hallowell Mayor Mark Walker at the groundbreaking ceremony in September 2017 for the new Hallowell Fire Station at Stevens Commons. Kennebec Journal file photo by Joe Phelan

Walker said he has reflected on his initial address while preparing remarks for this year. He said his first address focused heavily on the city’s infrastructure, which he said has improved greatly over the past 10 years.

He said the reconstruction of Water Street was a big improvement downtown. He also pointed to the city’s new fire station and other changes at Stevens Commons as illustrative of the gains the city has made.

“I think we’re well on our way to more development (at Stevens Commons),” Walker said.

The mayor also noted that changes to the City Council are important tdevelopments.

In November, Diana Scully, executive director of the Maine Justice Foundation, earned 160 votes in an unopposed race for the Ward 3 City Council seat. Incumbent Ward 3 Councilor Kara Walker did not run for reelection.

Kara Walker told the Kennebec Journal in September she was stepping away from the council to spend more time with her family.

Mark Walker said he would miss Kara Walker’s presence on the council “immensely,” praising her for her role on the council’s Personnel Committee, which handles union negotiations and performance reviews for city employees.

“She has such a broad depth and background in personnel issues,” Walker said, adding it is unusual to have a new councilor become chairperson of a council committee.

City Councilor-at-Large George Lapointe will also be sworn in Thursday. Lapointe, who defeated Matthew Radasch in November, has been on the City Council since 2015 and now serves as its president.

The council will have a short rest before its annual retreat Jan. 4 at Maple Hill Farm. Mark Walker told the Kennebec Journal last week a portion of the retreat will focus on the future of the Second Street Fire Station.


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