WATERVILLE — A real estate broker and member of the city’s Planning Board has jumped into the race for mayor against City Councilor Michael J. Morris.

Matthew S. Boulerice garnered signatures on a petition enabling him to run as an unenrolled candidate, challenging Morris, who was nominated for the position July 24 at the Democratic city caucus.

Republicans did not nominate any candidates for mayor and the current mayor, Jay Coelho, is not seeking reelection after serving in the role for the past three years.

Morris, 50, represents Ward 5 on the City Council, a seat he has held since 2022. Before that, he represented Ward 1 on the council, from 2018 to 2022.

Morris works for Bank of America as a strategy enablement and resource planning analyst and has been president of the Waterville Football Boosters since 2020. He has served on the council chamber search committee, municipal finance committee, recreation committee and Kennebec Regional Development Authority.

Morris graduated from Rockland District High School in 1991 and attended Anna Maria College in Paxton, Massachusetts, from 1991 to 1992.


Boulerice is the owner of Boulerice Management LLC, which redevelops often-distressed and abandoned single-family or multifamily properties and sells or rents them out. He says he has been involved with more than 100 projects since starting the business in 2015.

Boulerice also owns the New England Realty Group, a real estate brokerage company. He is a former member of the board for Waterville Habitat for Humanity and a former member of the Waterville Housing Committee.

Matthew S. Boulerice Courtesy photo

A 2008 graduate of Scarborough High School, Boulerice, 33, took a real estate sales agent course while a high school senior and took the state exam just after graduating, launching a career immediately.

Coelho appointed Boulerice to the Waterville Planning Board, a decision supported by the City Council.

“My priorities as mayor will be to tackle what I consider to be our city’s top priorities: sustainable economic growth and fiscal responsibility, housing, public safety, education, infrastructure and the city’s messaging,” he said in an email.

Boulerice said Waterville residents have spoken to him about the city’s budget increase and tax increase, and he said he agrees some of the budget increase was unavoidable. But officials must scrutinize every line item and make sure residents understand the budget, he said.


“Some fixed costs rise over time, just like they do for every household or business,” he said. “In order to help offset these increases, we need to look at increasing our tax revenue. This is where sustainable economic growth plays a key role. As our city grows, new development plays a critical tole in increasing our tax revenue.”

Boulerice said he is committed to helping create all levels of housing — from affordable dwellings to higher-end homes — in the city, and working to improve Waterville’s message aimed at attracting more people to live and work in the city.

Michael J. Morris Courtesy photo

Morris said his main goal as mayor would be to build a city where every resident feels heard and empowered.

“My experience in community involvement, combined with my professional background, has equipped me with the skills to facilitate open communication and collaboration among our diverse population,” he said in an email. “I want to create a city that’s not only economically prosperous, but also inclusive, supportive and driven by collective knowledge and skills of our citizens.”

Morris said he also wants to help alleviate the city’s housing crisis and plans to work with city leaders to analyze the zoning map to find areas that are primed for new development to help address spiraling costs that residents cannot continue to afford. He also wants to establish a Waterville Youth Council that would allow youth to develop leadership skills while earning community service credits.

Morris said he has become increasingly dedicated to the community over the past seven years and wants to continue while serving as mayor.


“My interactions with our community members have been instrumental in shaping my love of this community, and they drive my commitment to this role,” he said.

In other city races, Brian Keith Tibbetts is challenging incumbent Ward 2 City Councilor Flavia M. DeBrito, a Democrat, for her seat, with Tibbetts running with no party affiliation. DeBrito was nominated at the July 24 Democratic city caucus.

Also in Ward 2, newcomer Mary Louise Fletcher, a Democrat, is running unopposed for a three-year term on the Waterville Board of Education. Fletcher would fill a seat being vacated by Greg Bazakas, a Democrat who chose not to seek reelection.

Ward 4 City Council Chairwoman Rebecca Lee Green, a Democrat, is running unopposed for her seat, for a three-year term, and incumbent Board of Education member Maryanne Bernier, also a Democrat, is running unopposed for her seat, also for a three-year term.

In Ward 6, R. Arthur Finch, a Democrat, is running unopposed for a three-year term on the City Council, seeking to fill the seat of incumbent Claude Francke, a Democrat. Finch, a member of the city’s former Charter Commission, was nominated for the council seat at the July 24 caucus, defeating Francke.

Also in Ward 6, newcomer Joseph Roger Schmalzel, a Democrat, is running unopposed for a three-year term on the Board of Education being vacated by Elizabeth Bickford, also a Democrat.

Incumbent Sarah Valerie Whateley, a Democrat and trustee of the Kennebec Water District, is seeking reelection to a three-year term, representing all wards. Incumbent trustee Denise Bruesewicz is running on the ballot as a write-in candidate because she did not turn in a sufficient number of petition signatures before Friday’s deadline, according to City Clerk Patti Dubois.

Bruesewicz was nominated for her seat at the Democratic city caucus in July.

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