Last year’s property tax bills sent shockwaves to many Waterville residents. The city’s past budgetary decisions came back to haunt us. Our debt is now $25 million. Unless city officials get their spending under control, the tax rate will continue going through the roof, year after year. We’ve allowed departmental heads to set the mil rate for too long. We’ve got to take back our city from a council whose rubber stamp of fiscal mismanagement is setting new world records.

City officials blame their poor decisions on revenue-sharing cuts. They fail to mention that numerous cities across Maine also experienced these cuts, with the same proportion of nonprofits. With better management, they’re doing great, with a much lower and competitive mil rate. If you talk to realtors, our home values have plummeted, because of our high mil rate. We’ve got to get the mil rate under control. Freezing it to last year’s rate of 22.8 is a must, not an option.

At a recent educational forum, the school superintendent indicated some residents were holding the city and school hostage. He also falsely accused residents of demanding a 1 mil cut to the schools. This is not true. The Free Dictionary defines a cut as, “the act of reducing the amount or number.” Haley’s definition of a cut is when he asks for a 6 percent increase and gets a freeze. He calls that a 6 percent cut — the real world calls this fuzzy math.

What’s unfortunate is the school board knew the city was in a budget crisis last year. Despite admitting to tremendous savings by closing the Hall School, they irresponsibly failed to act. Instead, they’re demanding huge tax increases. Closing the Hall School is necessary and inevitable. What are they waiting for? Oh yeah, they prefer raising taxes.

Chris Rancourt

Waterville


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