Anti-merger group to talk financial costs

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AUBURN — The campaign against the proposed merger of Lewiston and Auburn will host a discussion Wednesday focused on the potential negative financial impacts of consolidation. 

Speaking at an event at noon at the Sixth Street Congregational Church will be Matthew Leonard, past president/CEO of the Lewiston-Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, and Robert Reed, chairman of the Lewiston Finance Committee.

A news release Tuesday said the pair will outline their positions, which focus on “the negative impacts that a merger would have upon the local economy, businesses and municipal budgets.” 

The opposition has argued against the findings of the elected Lewiston-Auburn Joint Charter Commission, which has said a merger would save money for both cities in the long term.

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“Those of us who oppose a merger are very skeptical of the Charter Commission’s claims that a merger will result in budget savings for the two cities,” James Howaniec, chairman of the Coalition Opposed to Lewiston-Auburn Consolidation, said in the release. “To the contrary, we believe that a bigger government will result in bigger increases in taxes.”

The Joint Charter Commission has spent years crafting a charter for a merged city, and is attempting to place the merger question on both city ballots this November. A pro-merger group, OneLA, officially began its campaign two weeks ago.

The Sixth Street Congregational Church is at 109 Sixth St. in Auburn.

Jim Howaniec, chairman of the Coalition Opposed to Lewiston-Auburn Consolidation, speaks to the crowd during an anti-merger event in February. The group is hosting its next event Wednesday at noon at the Sixth Street Congregational Church in Auburn. 

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