With a newly elected governor and Legislature beginning in January 2019 we can expect an end to stagnation in state government. We may even see a diminished need for citizen initiatives with a more responsive government in place. So the time seems right to focus on accelerating the renaissance of Waterville. The renaissance will take more money than homeowners can provide — and that means other sources of capital must be explored.

Many city streets are in serious need of repair and resurfacing. The increasing need for more affordable senior housing is looming. Revision of traffic patterns on Main and Front streets at Bridge Street and at the intersection of Colby Avenue near the police station must be completed soon to make downtown more pedestrian friendly, to name just a few improvements that will require new sources of capital.

Retail sales per capita in Waterville are nearly double the state average per capita while state sales tax revenue sharing has been radically reduced during the LePage administration. Revenue sharing will continue to be an unreliable source of funding over time as political party control of the Legislature flips back and forth. The loss of state revenue sharing has largely shifted the cost of city government to homeowners. Homeowners in Waterville cannot continue being the go-to source for increased city funding; other sources of revenue must be found.

One source that is very common across the entire country is a local option sales tax. Waterville is the poster child for this common, widely used revenue source. The large number of nonprofits per capita in Waterville and the increasingly large number of people from surrounding towns that come to shop at large retail stores, to use extensive medical services, to visit our parks and recreational facilities, justifies enacting this revenue source.

Jim Chiddix


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