Kittery supports KWD charter change.

TOWN OF KITTERY
Office of the Town Manager
200 Rogers Road, Kittery, ME 03904 Telephone: 207-475-1329 Fax: 207-439-6806 kamaral@kitteryme.org
Kendra Amaral Town Manager
January 29, 2020
Senator Mark Lawrence, Representative Seth Berry
And
Members of the Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology Legislative Information Office
100 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333
RE: LD 1877 – An Act to Amend the Kittery Water District Charter
Dear Honorable Members of the Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology,
I am writing to offer comment on behalf of the Town of Kittery on LD 1877, An Act to Amend the Kittery Water District Charter. The primary purpose of LD 1877 is to empower all Kittery Water District (KWD) customers in the governance of the district.
The original charter, enacted in 1907, did not empower customers added through expansion of the service, to elect or serve as Trustees. In the ensuing 113 years, the number of disenfranchised customers represents a significant segment of those served by KWD.
As proposed, the amendment expands the eligibility of KWD customers to serve in the role of Trustee, and most importantly grants all eligible customers the opportunity to decide who will lead the district. Additional changes proposed, codify the manner in which election of Trustees will occur and makes steps towards standardizing the election process. The Town of Kittery is supportive of these amendments.
Though not in the current version of LD 1877, the Town wishes to express its opposition to any amendments that would result in the Town administering or co-administering the KWD’s Trustee election. The Town is aware that municipally administered or co-administered elections were discussed during the drafting of LD 1877.
Not all Kittery residents are KWD customers, and not all KWD customers are Kittery residents. Combining Town-administered elections (municipal, state and/or federal) with KWD Trustee elections, will jeopardize the Town’s ability to administer a fair and efficient election.
KWD’s most recent election was held on November 5, 2019, coinciding with a municipal election. We experienced significant voter confusion both outside and within the polling location, and complaints from voters and poll workers alike.

In conclusion, the Town of Kittery supports the Charter amendments as currently proposed in LD 1877 and asks that no amendments be made to link the municipal elections with KWD Trustee elections.
Thank you for your consideration of this matter. Sincerely,
Kendra Amaral Town of Kittery
cc: Kittery Town Council
Michael Rogers, KWD Superintendent