As we know, every action has a reaction. This action began with Gov. Paul LePage.

He proposed suspension of revenue sharing to municipalities in his budget. Many legislators tried to fund this important revenue source, but municipalities must grapple with less money to fund services. Communities began to weigh the importance of public safety vs. public roads, support for cultural services vs. city services.

The cuts seemed drastic, but decisions had to be made as communities dealt with this fiscal blow.

Gardiner councilors weighed many options before reacting. Budget cuts were made throughout all departments so residents would not have to bear the brunt of increased property taxes. Many city services are intact because councilors thoughtfully pared back on upcoming projects and purchases.

Ultimately, cuts were needed in order to keep a tax increase at bay. Councilors were forced to approve a budget that included zero funding for the Boys and Girls Club satellite library. For a decade, staff at the Gardiner Library and the Club worked in partnership to bring kids and books together.

The library hummed with activity as professional library staff hooked kids into reading as they awaited new shipments of books to their library. That library soon will be empty and the books will be integrated into the public library. There will be no special place for our community’s teenagers to create a habit of lifelong learning in an inviting space.

Throughout the state, difficult choices are being made because state government failed to fully fund revenue sharing. These Solomon choices will get worse next year.

Many children are falling behind on reading skills; it is a bad day when a library closes. Actions do lead to reactions. I wish that this outcome had been different.

Anne Davis, director

Gardiner Public Library


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