WASHINGTON — A contested race for the Select Board pits two candidates with long family traditions of service to the town against each other: An incumbent who said he will continue to provide an experienced hand versus a challenger who said she will bring a new perspective.

Voters at the polls Friday will choose between three-term incumbent Selectman Tom Johnston and current Planning Board member Katherine Grinnell for a three-year term on the Washington Select Board.

Secret ballot voting Friday will be followed Saturday with the annual Town Meeting, at which residents will gather to discuss and vote on spending proposals that make up the annual town budget.

Johnston said he is seeking reelection to continue his family’s history of service to the town, which includes multiple generations, and to continue doing good things for the town, such as work on an ongoing municipal broadband project.

“I think (the Select Board) is doing some good things for the town. We have a major broadband project going now I’d like to stay working with,” Johnston said. “I know what’s going on. There’s a learning curve to every new person.”

Grinnell, whose family also has a multigenerational history of service to the town, said she grew up in Washington, then lived elsewhere for about 20 years and is at a point in her life where she has the time and ability to give back to the town. She said she could bring the perspective of a younger generation to town government.


“I feel I can bring maybe a slightly different outlook and a little more diversity to the Select Board,” she said. “Washington, historically, has had an older population, but we’re getting a lot of young families and couples moving in, and I feel I’m a good representative of that generation and concerns that people have that maybe are not being fulfilled currently.”

Grinnell said she supports the town’s broadband initiative to bring high-speed internet to the rural community. She said other issues she sees as important in Washington include ensuring the quality of the town’s elementary school is maintained, and the town’s waterways are protected “so those resources stay pristine and everyone has access to them.”

Johnston said issues he sees as important for Washington, in addition to the grant-funded broadband project, include updating the comprehensive plan and resolving the ongoing issue of the increasing cost of ambulance services, now provided by the town of Union.

He said discrepancies between Union and Washington regarding the cost of ambulance services need be resolved through dialogue or, failing that, Washington might need to look elsewhere for ambulance service.

Elections are by secret ballot Friday, with polls open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Bryant Room at Gibbs Library at 40 Old Union Road.

The annual Town Meeting is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Saturday at Prescott Memorial School at 100 Waldoboro Road.


Voters are expected to decide numerous funding articles Saturday that will make up the town budget for the coming year. Johnston said the budget is about flat compared to the current year’s budget, if currently projected ambulance service costs are used.

Residents are expected to return to the polls in June to vote on the school budget and ambulance services spending because, Johnston said, the Union Ambulance Service runs on a fiscal, not calendar, year, so more accurate costs for it are expected in June. That item was not included on the warrant for the annual Town Meeting.

Johnston said the Select Board proposes to use funds left from higher-than-budgeted revenues from past years to help fund next year’s budget, while keeping the tax rate level, not including any increase in the town’s share of the Regional School Unit 40 budget.

Voters will also be asked to:

• Approve a Town-Owned Property Ordinance that would allow the use of town property, such as boat landings and the recreation area, to have restricted hours of use.

• Set aside $20,000 to start a fund to pay for a townwide property revaluation in about five years, after enough money is accumulated.

• Allow the town to buy an excavator, with attachments for roadside maintenance, with the total expenditure of $104,000 to be paid with a down payment of $40,000 and the remainder to be borrowed and repaid over five years.

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