Pro-merger folks say a combined Lewiston-Auburn can save at least $2 million a year and up to nearly $5 million a year. The opposition has a different set of numbers and say one government costs more than two.
It looks like “COLAC math” adds costs unrelated to a merger, such as extras the state may not cover for new schools and reinstating the L-A Economic Growth Council. I don’t see how a merger triggers either of these costs. COLAC math ignores economies of scale and assumes costs that won’t happen, such as big wage increases.
It looks like there are savings that absolutely can happen if the cities merge.
Two dozen administration jobs are recommended for elimination, resulting in one mayor, one fire chief, one school superintendent, etc. There are no teacher, police patrol or firefighter positions recommended for elimination. Fewer leaders and more do-ers: that’s a good thing. Managing role elimination through regular retirement and attrition is the recommendation — and that’s a good strategy.
Unifying departments gives officials the opportunity to rethink city operations. If fire department budgets are combined, could the city buy a water-tanker truck that might have saved Mrs. Reilly’s house on Young’s Corner Road this summer? That would be a good thing.
Or, could more children with special needs be educated locally instead of busing them out of district? That is a better environment for children at a lower cost and more jobs for teachers — three more good things.
The good things add up. I’m voting “yes.”
Cynthia Murphy, Auburn