Petitions to join Lewiston-Auburn charter group moving slowly

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LEWISTON — Only two Twin Cities residents have shown interest in helping to draft a charter to combine Lewiston and Auburn.

City clerks began releasing petitions Monday to join a combined charter commission. Auburn residents have until March 27 to take out and return nominations. Lewiston residents have until April 11.

So far, two residents have taken out nominations to be named Lewiston’s appointees to the commission; Stavros Mendros, 135 Hogan Road, and Charles Soule, of 135 Bartlett St.

No Auburn residents have taken out nomination papers yet.

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The lack of interest this early is no reason for concern, said Chip Morrison, president of the Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce and the person who led last summer’s effort to get the matter on the ballot.

“I’ve talked to a bunch of people, but I don’t know what they’ve decided,” he said. “It’s a long time period for this, but I want to make sure people are thinking about it. The last thing I want is to have nobody running, because that would mean we did a lot of work for nothing.”

Morrison and a group of Twin Cities residents gathered enough signatures to require the creation of a Lewiston-Auburn charter commission. Both cities will vote June 10 on charter commissioners. According to state rules, voters will select six commissioners — three from Lewiston and three from Auburn.

The top three vote-getters in each city will win the seats and the right to craft a founding document uniting the two cities, choosing a name for the new city, listing each community’s debts and assets, a name and location for city offices, rules of government and rules for the transition.

There is no time limit. They commission can take as long is it needs to draft the new charter, but local officials expect the group to finish its work by the summer of 2015.

Voters in both cities would get the chance to vote on that new charter, likely in November 2015.

staylor@sunjournal.com

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