In 2010 when we were looking for our retirement home, we thought we had found the perfect place in Waterville. It is in a 55-plus community of single family homes. We are right off Kennedy Memorial Drive, so it is very convenient for supermarkets, hospital, doctors, etc. After living 35 years out of state, we thought this was perfect for us. We moved into our home in July 2011. And have never regretted our decision — until the revaluation.

Our taxes rose more than $1,100 a year. And because our backyard is in Oakland, we also pay a tax bill to them of $290 a year — for a four-room, one-and-a-half-bath home on about three-eighths of an acre. No hardwood floor, no granite counters, a one-car garage. Just a nice home in a great community. Now the talk is of raising those taxes again at least 2 mils and possibly more.

This will make or break this community. If spending is not brought under control, we can only see every year as a struggle by a handful of Waterville residents, fighting to keep the mil rate from escalating.

To lower-income and retired people, this is a huge problem. It is very difficult to get an extra $100 a month out of our budget. We have been attending the budget and council meetings. We have heard the requests from department heads. In a perfect world, those requests sound reasonable. But to many Waterville residents, this is not a perfect world. We would all wish for more resources to spend on home repairs, new vehicles, helping with college tuition, travel. But it is not possible. A responsible citizen knows they have to live within their budget. A responsible city government has to be held to the same standard.

We urge the department heads and the City Council to scrutinize every penny spent. Make sure the choices being made are for the long-range goals of the city and that those choices will not further add to the burden of the already overtaxed people of Waterville. Some of the actions they take to contain spending may not be popular with segments of the population, but they are decisions that need to be made for the future of Waterville. If the mil rate continues to increase, you can bring all the jobs to Waterville you want, but the people filling those jobs will reside in Sidney, Benton, Oakland or any of the other surrounding towns with lower tax rates.

Waterville has a great deal to offer, both for families and retirees. It would be unthinkable that people have to leave simply because they could not pay their tax bill.

Larry and Sandy Sullivan live in Waterville.

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