2016-05-12 / Letters

Budget in Biddeford is not what officials are selling

To the editor:

Biddeford has generally taken pains to hear the comments of its residents at budget time. Up until this year the hearings were held in City Theater or a school auditorium and usually on the night where the first reading of the budgets are alone on a council agenda. This year they were held in council chambers on the same night as a crowded city council agenda. The room was too crowded with people from other items on the agenda and the hearing was rushed through.

Residents need to examine the budgets carefully. It’s hard to argue with a proposed 21-cent increase in taxes but that’s not the whole story.

Biddeford’s city budget is up nearly $1 million or close to a 4 percent increase. The school budget is up as well. The difference maker this year is that the state gave us a higher homestead exemption, which is in part, funded by the city. That caused the city to recalibrate and draw in more state subsidy particularly for the school department. Had this been last year the budget increases would have cost us 83 cents on the mil rate.

What will Biddeford ever do if the state becomes less fortuitous? Our wallets will suffer. You might also take note that this budget does not address our highest cost capitol needs like more road paving and buildings.

We all understand we must fund city services but we need to make sure we have a budget that addresses the needs of residents of the city and not the wish lists of a few.

Howard Hanson Biddeford

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