by Amy Calder, Staff Writer
Central Maine Newspapers news story
WATERVILLE — At least three out of six city councilors say they will vote Tuesday to override Mayor Nick Isgro’s veto of a vote the council took earlier this month to place on the November ballot a request to enact a plastic bag ordinance that would prohibit retailers larger than 10,000-square-feet in size to dispense plastic bags.
The meeting will be at 7 p.m. in the council chambers on the third floor of The Center at 93 Main St. downtown.
At the meeting, councilors also will consider approving an agreement with Colby College to use the Chace Community Forum in the new Bill and Joan Alfond Commons mixed-use residential complex on Main Street for council, planning board and other city meetings.
Councilors on Aug. 6 voted 4-1 to place the proposed plastic bag ordinance on the Nov. 6 ballot, with Councilor Sydney Mayhew, R-Ward 4, the lone dissenter. Isgro later vetoed the council decision, saying in a statement that a bag ban referendum would invite special interest groups and “dark money funded influence peddlers” into Waterville, as well as further divide the community.
Council Chairman Steve Soule, D-Ward 1, said Monday in an email that he will vote to override the mayor’s veto.
“I plan to maintain my previous stance that this should be a decision made not by one mayor, six councilors or 75 people in attendance at the meeting, but by all residents in the city,” Soule said. “People will have time to hear both sides between now and November and then make a personal decision, based on their views.”
Councilor Winifred Tate, D-Ward 6, said in a phone interview that she will support the veto override.
“Protecting the environment is something I personally feel very strongly about and support, and I think the effort to reduce single-use plastic in all its forms is commendable,” she said, adding that the Sustain Mid-Maine Coalition has done a lot to educate the community about the issue.
“However, I also understand that for the city to take this significant step is a big deal, and I think it’s appropriate it goes to the voters, which is why I support putting it on the ballot in November,” Tate said.