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On November 2, Sanford/Springvale voters will elect two City Councilors to three-year terms. The candidates are Becky Brink, Victor DiGregorio, Ayn Hanselmann (incumbent), Fred Smith and Michael Termath. Incumbent Luke Lanigan is not seeking re-election.

Ayn Hanselmann is a fourth generation Sanford native. After living in Colorado for ten years, she returned to settle in Sanford with her family 2006. She has a degree in Business Administration and is a partner in a local accounting firm.

In addition to serving as a City Councilor, Ms. Hanselmann has been active in other community organizations, including Strategies for a Stronger Sanford, Sanford Alumni Association, and the Elementary School Building Committee. She serves as an advisory board member with the Sanford Backpack Program.

She is running for re-election “because I believe Sanford is heading in a very exciting and positive direction and I want to be part of making sure that continues.” She feels the knowledge and experience she gained in her first term on the Council will make her more effective in a second term.

When asked about priorities for her next term on the Council, Ms. Hanselmann replied that she doesn’t think municipal officials should come to the office with a specific focus, but should instead be prepared to work on any issue. However, she believes three significant challenges the City is currently facing are: communication between City Hall and the City’s other stakeholders; downtown revitalization; and balancing the need to provide quality services while minimizing the impact to property taxes.

With regard to affordable housing, Ms. Hanselmann believes it is important to recognize that there is a shortage of all types of housing. “The excellent working partnership between the City and the Sanford Housing Authority, while Sanford also works with developers and investors, is key to fulfilling all our community’s housing needs.”

As a member of the Zoning Subcommittee, she has been involved in discussions around allowing retail adult-use sales of marijuana in the City. She feels that moving slowly on the issue has allowed state laws to solidify while other communities test the waters of this new industry. She continues to have concerns about the impact on youth and the challenge of deciding where retail properties should be located.

She believes strongly that the City Council should encourage downtown revitalization. She said the planned reconstruction of downtown roads and sidewalks, which will be funded largely by the state and federal governments, is only possible because of the Council’s commitment to funding the roads Capital Improvement Plan, and wants to see that commitment continue. She suggests possibly using revolving loan funds or micro-grants for downtown businesses and property owners to make improvements.

With regard to the budget, she would like to help taxpayers better understand their property taxes: “It’s easy to say let’s get rid of the orange trash bags. What people may not understand is that doing so will increase the amount of property taxes that have to be raised by more than $1 million, and that will be an even higher burden on single family homeowners.” She added that work to revitalize Sanford and attract businesses helps homeowners by raising the values of both commercial and multi-family property, so they share a greater percentage of the tax burden.

Candidates Night will be held Thursday, October 7. All candidates for City Council, School Committee and Water District Trustee are expected to participate. The event will be streamed live on WSSR-TV (cable channel 26 and YouTube) and recorded for later viewing. More info here.

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