AUBURN – City councilors next week will discuss joining their Lewiston counterparts by scrapping a property revaluation and calling for state property tax reform.
Mayor Normand Guay is not sure that will help matters, however.
“I’m just as concerned about the person whose taxes go down under the revaluation,” Guay said. “They pay more if we decide to wait. That’s not necessarily fair, either.”
Lewiston officials announced plans to scrap their citywide revaluation Friday morning, with City Administrator Jim Bennett and Lewiston Mayor Lionel Guay urging Auburn to join them.
“I fully expect Auburn to follow suit,” Bennett said. “I think it will have a bigger impact if we do.”
Auburn Mayor Guay said he needed to talk with Bennett and his brother, the Lewiston mayor, to get more information.
“We really need to evaluate what they said, and what they plan to do,” Normand Guay said. “Then, we’ll sit down with our management and see where we want to go.”
Auburn mailed out its new property values last fall, igniting an angry response. Councilors had originally planned to finish the revaluation a year ago, but decided to put it off until the fall.
City Councilor Eric Samson doesn’t favor delaying the revaluation.
“Legally, I’m not convinced it would be a wise thing to do,” Samson said. He would not be surprised if Lewiston is sued by taxpayers who would have benefited under the newer values.
“But I will keep an open mind,” Samson said.
Auburn tax reformer Ed Desgrosseilliers said he hoped Auburn would join Lewiston.
“If they’re both in it, it might force the state to re-examine its processes while creating more of a sense of unity of purpose between the Twin Cities,” Desgrosseilliers said. “And, it would certainly warm the hearts of a lot of people in Auburn.”