City crafts resolution critical of proposed state budget

By Ben Holbrook | Feb 26, 2013

Belfast — City Councilors at their Feb. 19 meeting unanimously approved sending a resolution to Gov. Paul LePage and the 126th Legislature stating their displeasure with the proposed state budget that reduces funding to the city and schools.

The resolution comes on the heels of a proposed two-year budget that would reduce Belfast’s municipal revenue sharing funding by between $653,500 and $882,472. In addition, Regional School Unit 20 would pay an additional $450,720 to fund teacher retirement costs.

The revenue-sharing system was established as a means to help ease the property tax burden for residents while providing funding for programs run by the towns that were previously handled by the state.

Because of the proposed cuts, Belfast’s resolution states that the city will be forced to either cut services or raise taxes, as well as cut programs and eliminate classes in the schools to compensate for the loss in funding.

“Now, therefore be it resolved by the City Council of the City of Belfast that, we call upon the Governor and the members of the 126th Legislature to fully fund municipal revenue sharing for the coming biennium, maintain the Circuit Breaker and Homestead Exemption property tax relief programs, and fulfill the State’s K-12 education funding mandate under the School Financial Act of 2003 and confirmed by vote of the people of Maine in June 2004 referendum,” the resolution states.

While councilors approved of the language contained in the resolution, Councilor Roger Lee requested additional language be added that calls upon the state government to cut its own programs or raise taxes before taking money from the towns and schools.

The resolution, with Lee’s amendment, was unanimously approved by councilors.

Republican Journal reporter Ben Holbrook can be reached at 338-3333 or at bholbrook@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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