During Mayor Karen Heck’s short reign, Waterville residents have experienced skyrocketing property tax increases, upward of 20 percent. Many low- and fixed-income residents now fear being forced from their homes. Unfortunately, city officials have little sympathy and refuse to believe the city has a spending problem, despite the new state-of-the-art $4 million police station.
Councilor Erik Thomas and Heck are now spearheading an attempt to dig deeper into our wallets by instituting a pay-per-bag system for rubbish removal. Their proposed system would cost average families hundreds of dollars more in annual taxes, under the guise of a new rubbish removal fee, all while property taxes and city spending continue to go through the roof.
The city of Waterville is already one of the highest-taxed cities in Maine, despite having thousands of households who qualify as either low- or fixed-income. Who in our city government represents our struggling taxpayers? Who in our city government truly believes Waterville residents can afford to pay more in taxes? Who in our city government believes and has the courage to say, “Residents should pay more taxes and receive less services?” Who indeed, I ask?
Everyone will agree that recycling is good, however, a city also must live within the means of its residents. Isn’t it time for the city to begin prioritizing expenditures, rather than increase taxes at every opportunity?
I encourage other residents to contact our city officials and inform them that this backhanded attempt at imposing a new rubbish removal tax, while eliminating our current rubbish removal service is wrong. Let them know that imposing additional taxes on an overburdened community is unconscionable and it’s also taking money away from our local economy, which will hurt our businesses.