2018-11-08 / Letters

City disrespected its residents

To the editor:

I read something last week that made me sick. I felt like I was reading something from 1960’s Birmingham, Alabama. Something that the former town manager of Jackman might have said. But it was actually an official statement from our city manager in Biddeford.

“The city strongly disagrees with the basic premise that residential property taxes should be used for the benefit of non-property taxpayers.”

Who approved this statement? It makes our entire city look like we are living in the 1960s. This statement just created two classes of citizen. Those that own property and those that don’t. The ones who own property may benefit from property taxes, but the city does not believe that people who don’t pay property taxes should enjoy the benefit of the community. Are you kidding me?

Everything in a community is funded by taxes and primarily by property taxes. Including the salary of the person who approved this disgusting statement. Based on this statement, if you don’t own property in Biddeford then you cannot send your kids to school, you cannot call the fire department if your home is burning, you cannot call the police department if someone is breaking into your home, and you cannot even use the sidewalk, because this is all maintained with property tax funds.

I am trying to deal with this horrible statement with humor, but I do not want to detract from what our city just said. This statement represents all of the citizens in Biddeford, of our city. I for one do not feel this way and I am embarrassed that we have a city official who would make this kind of statement. The statement has a negative effect on our immigrant and minority populations and only contributes to stereotypes. Why would the city pile something like this onto their backs? Why would the city call non-property taxpayers second class citizens?

Regardless of if someone pays property taxes or not, there are many ways they contribute to our community. When they visit a local business, they help keep that business open and the employees working. The business owner and their employees may own property and then they would need to pay property taxes. The non-property taxpayer in this case indirectly has a positive effect on our tax base. Let’s not forget that the business pays the city for licenses and permits to make improvements too. Even if the city then pulls the rug out from under them and takes away the parking they were using to try and build their business.

The City should immediately release a statement that this is not representative of our community. That the responsible party has been admonished and the city is considering further actions pending an investigation. We cannot tolerate this type of behavior in 2018. Maybe it is time for a change.

Jason Litalien Biddeford

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