The mayor of Waterville does not want to raise property taxes. As a result, the Waterville school budget is at great risk. I get the mayor’s hope: control the property tax rates and more companies will want to move to Waterville. However, I think a better plan would encourage more families to move to Waterville.

Waterville is a service center. We will never be able to lower our property taxes enough to compete with the surrounding towns. Families can live in Sidney, Fairfield, Winslow and Oakland and pay lower property taxes and have all the benefits of living near the Waterville services. The schools in these communities are almost as good as the schools in Waterville. Given the mayor’s plan, the Waterville schools will probably not be very good in the future. Families will move out of the city for both better schools and lower property tax rates. Controlling property taxes at the expense of public schools is not the best plan.

Instead, what if we commit as a community over the next five to 10 years to making the Waterville schools clearly the best in central Maine? Families will want to move to Waterville to enroll their children in our schools. Businesses will follow these families. The Waterville schools are staffed by dedicated teachers and administrators. Let’s ask them what they need to be the best and then work as a community to get them the funding they need. The mayor’s plan is a dead end for our schools and for Waterville.

Scott Beale