WATERVILLE — Mayor Jay Coelho said Tuesday he will remain in office after publicly considering whether to resign about a month ago because of serious health problems.

Coelho, 43, said he is feeling better and has been back home doing cardiac rehabilitation following his hospitalization last month to treat an acute heart condition.

Coelho, who was elected in November, said he decided to continue serving as mayor after discussing it with his doctors, family and children.

“I am feeling good, better than I did in my 30s,” Coelho said. “I am feverishly focused, and there is still so much work to do. I am not finished injecting this city with some positive energy and a vision for the future that works for all residents.”

The role of Waterville mayor is largely ceremonial, but involves presiding over City Council meetings, casting tie-breaking votes and the ability to issue vetoes of council actions.

Coelho owns You Broke It?, a mobile device and computer service center on Main Street in downtown Waterville, and Grub, a bakery on College Avenue.


Coelho said Tuesday he was excited to help invest in new opportunities in the city. Among the key proposals he is touting: Tapping into the $1.67 million the city is receiving under the American Rescue Plan Act to pay city employees a $1,000 bonus for working during the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are about 110 city employees, according to City Manager Steve Daly, so Coelho’s proposal would equate to about $110,000 in bonus payments.

Coelho also said he would like to see $1,000 bonuses go to “any public-facing employee,” including public safety staff, such as firefighters and rescue workers.

“I know it sounds like a lot, but this would cost less than one-sixth (of the federal relief funding),” Coelho said. “It’s time we take care of those who continued to work under difficult circumstances.”

Coelho said last month he was taken by a LifeFlight of Maine helicopter to an intensive care unit at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor after “suffering from coronary artery disease, which is what led to his mother’s death 15 years ago at the age of 52.”

He said doctors removed two blood clots from his left arteries and he “should have died” initially, but was saved after being taken to the Bangor hospital.

Coelho spent a week at the hospital and said he was considering whether to continue serving as mayor, saying he was “leaning towards resigning.”

Daly said Tuesday he was happy with Coelho’s decision to continue as mayor.

“He’s a dynamic personality on our team and a very strong, energetic, forward-looking leader,” Daly said. “He’s a major asset.”

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