About two weeks ago, Waterville city manager Mike Roy asked what we would do with the $5.7 million the state owes us in revenue sharing money. It owes us more, but more about that later.

My first choice would be to lower the property tax rate by about 3-4 mils. That would take care of about $2.6 million, but that is short term. I then would take another $1 million or so and put it in the undedicated balance, another short-term fix that would leave $2 million to go. I suppose I would want an accelerated street salvation program and decent pay for every municipal employee. If they do a good job and work hard, I would want to keep them.

But wait, that is all fantasy because the state Legislature and governor have absolute control over all we do. We have a tiny community of 12.8 square miles and 30 percent of that pays no property or sales tax because state law says so. The school subsidy is set at 55 percent by a vote of the people, but we are lucky to get 50 percent. So what do we do? We are hostages in a tiny community where every two people pay the way of the third.

Refusing to return to fantasy, I am asking the politically powerful and well-financed tax-exempt lobby to help us out. We all need to get together as members of this community to solve this Augusta problem. Is it rewriting the formula for revenue sharing to accurately reflect burden and need? Is it a penny increase in the sales tax and two cents for meals and lodging?

There are answers and efforts, and they should begin here. We are all members of this community.

Stephen AucoinWaterville