A former Westbrook city councilor running for selectman in Union said his priorities include avoiding tax increases, adding a second reading for major policy decisions and updating ordinances to deal with potential controversial businesses including methadone clinics.

Lyle Cramer is running against Doris Vertz for one of two selectman seats that are up for election this year. The seat is presently held by Jonathan Powers, who is not seeking re-election.

The election will be held June 14 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the town office. Town meeting will be held 7 p.m. June 20 at the town office.

Cramer outlined some of his goals during a phone interview May 24.

His first goal would be keeping the property tax level where it is now when working on the municipal budget. The candidate argued that in some areas including car sales, he sees the economy rebounding. He said that may mean increased revenue to the town from excise taxes. He said that may offset inflationary costs.

He said the town could still spend the extra revenue it receives from other sources without raising property taxes.

Cramer said he would not support bonding or borrowing except in the few instances where it is proven it will save the town money in the long run.

He said he believes the town made a mistake in voting down a plan last year for a $1 million road bond package that would have improved roads in the town. The project was shot down at a special town meeting after the local Tea Party organized in opposition to it.

The funding had been made available through the stimulus bill. At the time, Town Manager Jay Feyler argued the bond would actually be very low cost, allowing the town to get $1 million worth of work at the present prices. “At an average of 6 percent a year in asphalt increases, it more than offsets the interest we will pay on the bond,” he argued at the time.

Cramer said that decision has already cost the town 25 percent more this year and he argued town roads are deteriorating.

The candidate said he would also like to see the town adopt a second reading for major issues and policy decisions made by selectmen. He said in some cases, you might have someone out on vacation when an important issue is decided and the vote ends up being different than it would be if the full board was there.

In other cases, he argued people get “talked out” at long meetings and vote on an issue in order to move on. In those cases, long-winded people win out by talking people into submission, he said.

With a second reading policy, he said the issue could be dealt with at one meeting and then brought up again at a second meeting after everyone has had time to think about it.

In addition, Cramer said the town should look at updating its ordinances to address the possibility of methadone clinics, topless dancing and other kinds of businesses that most people object to. He said the town should not wait until a proposal is on the table to address these issues.

Cramer said he grew up in Union and has always been interested in politics.

He said he remembers when he was going to high school in Union, they would get out of school to attend town meeting and that would be their civic lesson.

He said he served for eight years as a city council member in Westbrook and later served as chairman of the County Commissioners for Cumberland County.

Cramer worked for 32 years as a guidance counselor.

Cramer said he is enrolled as a Republican, but said he has experience working well with Democrats from having served on the city council in Westbrook.

He has been to a couple Tea Party meetings and he said he subscribes to many of the goals of the Tea Party, but said he would not characterize himself as a member of the Tea Party.