The Skowhegan town meeting-election is on June 9 and includes the election of two selectmen for three-year terms. Many complicated issues face our community, and the vote for selectmen will have a real impact on how Skowhegan handles the upcoming storm of increases in our property taxes.

Some of the issues facing the selectmen:

• SAPPI’s valuation has been cut by $100 million this year. It is appealing to have that cut increased by another $137 million.

• Payment on the bond for Phase 3 of the sewer overflow project is due. TIF revenues, provided by SAPPI, were used to make the first bond payment. Because of SAPPI’s revaluation, it no longer provides TIF revenues. Local taxes will pay for the bond through 2033.

• The state of Maine plans to seriously reduce revenue sharing with the towns.

• Because of a one-time infusion of state dollars, not used to fund charter schools, SAD 54 has given substantial salary increases to principles and assistant principals. Local taxes will pay for the increases in the future.

• Skowhegan’s long-term debt has risen dramatically. While this was expected for sewer updates, an additional highway obligation loan and bonds to purchase a loader, grader and tandem-axle truck greatly contributed to the debt increase.

Right now, our tax rate is about $17.15 per $1,000 valuation. Skowhegan property taxpayers easily could be paying $21 per $1,000 valuation within two years.

I do not usually recommend candidates for office, but this time I will. I ask other residents to consider voting for Soren Siren and Christopher Kruse for selectmen. These two have the talent, energy and experience needed to watch over our interests in today’s complex and bureaucratic governmental jungle.

Richard LaPorte

Skowhegan

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