Community Leaders Discuss LePage’s Budget Proposal
The burden of a budget gap brought hundreds to the Brewer auditorium Thursday night.Leaders from eight towns in three counties discussed possible solutions to governor LePage’s 2-year budget proposal.Officials from Penobscot, Piscataquis, and Hancock counties met with state legislators to discuss curtailments connected to the plan. As it stands now, revenue sharing with towns and municipalities would be eliminated and the homestead tax exemption and circuit breaker programs would be drastically reduced. Some towns like Hermon could face even more dire situations. The trucking hub could lose revenue collected through the truck excise tax, which is about 25% of their overall budget.If those funds are transferred to the department of transportation, as proposed, the town will be out $547-thousand next year. “If I was going to try to cut the municipal budget to absorb all the losses that we’re looking at, which is about a million dollars, I could lay off every one of my employees and still not cover the loss,” said Town Manager Roger Raymond. Other town managers discussed the possibility of needing to cut money out of their police force, fire department, and public works.