Waterville is a service center for a wide geographic area of small towns that come here to shop, use our recreation facilities, roads, health care system and restaurants. They pay no property tax to enjoy the conveniences our city provides and for which Waterville homeowners must foot most of the bill.

Other cities across the nation face the same budget-stretching dilemma as does Waterville. Thirty-seven states have enacted a small local option sales tax to help reduce the demand on property taxes. But here in Maine the governor and Legislature are still living in the last century and have rejected efforts to enact local option sales tax legislation.

It is about time we show these legislators the door unless they recognize that municipalities cannot continue to rely on capricious state revenue-sharing to fund steadily increasing costs that cities are facing. State revenue-sharing has been radically reduced during the LePage administration and will continue to be an unreliable source of funding.

Waterville is the poster child for why local option sales taxes are needed. The high number of nonprofits we support per capita and the increasing number of people from surrounding towns that come to use Waterville services are the determining factors that define the need for a local option sales tax.

Retail sales per capita in Waterville are nearly double the state average per capita. A local option sales tax of one-half of 1 percent will help reduce the big increases in property taxes that were caused by the property revaluation and also reduce our reliance on miserly, unreliable state revenue sharing.

In order to avoid losing our homes to astronomical high property tax increases, we homeowners must strongly demand that the Legislature and governor enact legislation authorizing the municipality local option tax.

Jim Chiddix

Waterville

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