I hope that residents of Lewiston understand that their city will be required to spend between $500,000 to $1 million to have a revaluation of all property completed in the city if a merger vote passes this November. Because the newly merged city would open its doors on Jan. 1, 2020, the revaluation would need to occur within the next two years. The city of Lewiston would likely be required to bond that expenditure, which would add to the city’s already very high debt balance.
To add insult to injury, the citizens of Lewiston would be taxed separately from those across the river to pay off this debt. All debt incurred prior to Jan. 1, 2020, would be borne by the residents of whichever city accumulated the debt. This means that Lewiston, with a debt approaching $100 million, would be required to pay a higher tax to retire existing debt than Auburn, whose debt is closer to $50 million.
Contrary to what many believe, the consequences of a merger would be much worse for Lewiston residents than Auburn residents. Revaluation and debt allocation are just two of the many reasons why Lewiston residents, in particular, should vote “no” against a merger on Nov. 7.
Jim Howaniec, Lewiston