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.
Victor DiGregorio has lived in Sanford for 45 years. His educational background includes Harvard University, Boston University, the University of Maine and Nasson College. His varied resume includes working as an aide to Governor Volpe of Massachusetts; bringing the first ice cream trucks to Maine; and owning a cleaning company. He was also a substitute teacher at Sanford High School for many years before retiring.
He served on the City Council from 2017-18, and was a member of the Warrant Committee (which became the Budget Committee) for twenty years.
Mr. DiGregorio says the issue that prompted him to run for City Council is the Pay-As-You-Throw program, which he considers to be an unethical form of “double taxation” which hurts lower-income residents and, in particular, seniors on a fixed income.
Another area which he considers a priority is lowering taxes. “The Council has to be innovative and creative, and think of ways to cut excessive spending,” he said. He predicts that Sanford’s population will decline in future years, and as it does, our school system could be “a catalyst for income,” which could be used to increase revenues by taking in tuition paying students from other communities.
A third priority would be to eliminate the bills from the City that are sent to people who use our ambulance service, to cover the difference between the cost of the service and what health insurers will cover. He believes that amount should be waived.
On the subject of affordable housing, Mr. DiGregorio feels that services or tax incentives should be offered to developers to encourage them to improve or build housing for low-income residents and seniors. He would look into federal and state programs the City might take advantage of to assist builders.
With regard to retail sales of adult-use marijuana, he feels that while it is legal, the City should not necessarily encourage marijuana use. He would not like to see more than one or two retail outlets in Sanford, and hopes that if retail stores are allowed, the City could derive some income from them.
Mr. DiGregorio would like to see the Chamber of Commerce take more of an active role in downtown revitalization. He said there has to be a purpose and reason for people to come downtown, and that we don’t have enough local businesses providing things that residents need, citing shoes and clothing as examples. He would be in favor of tax incentives for small businesses that are willing to locate here and provide needed goods and services.
On the subject of budgeting, he would like to see fewer capital expenditures on things like new fire trucks: “We have to work with what we have, instead of working for what we want.” He feels we are spending too much on loan payments and interest. “We have a fantastic operation, but what about the people?” he asks.
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.