BIDDEFORD (AP) – Biddeford has followed through with its invitation to residents to pay above and beyond the bottom line on their tax bills.

Bills that were mailed out last week included a letter explaining to residents that they’re welcome to pay extra, if they’re so inclined. It also informs non-profit groups, which are tax-exempt, how they can make a payment in lieu of taxes.

Officials conceded that they weren’t expecting a windfall from the pilot program, but they figured it was worth a try.

City Manager Edward Clifford said City Hall had received about six contributions as of Monday morning.

The tepid response came as no surprise to some residents.

“I couldn’t see the sense of it,” said Hazel Allard. “I’m not going to pay more. I’m 70 years old and I’m still working – I can’t afford any more.”

“Some people are generous,” added Kevin Rouselle. “But that won’t be me.”

The City Council saw the letter as a way to challenge residents to put their money where their mouth is. That’s because some residents said during budget hearings that they’d pay extra if it kept the city from cutting jobs or services.

The Council directed Clifford to write the letter.

“During the budget process, several Biddeford residents mentioned a willingness to pay more in taxes to support a specific program or project … The City, therefore, is offering the following donation program for those who would like to contribute funding above what is required,” it says.

Paul Contois, who said he understands the council’s motivation, will be paying extra but not by choice. That’s because his tax bill went up.

David Adams, who advocated for a higher tax rate during the budget hearings, said he may send in additional money.

“They’re trying to call our bluff,” Adams said. “I would have preferred that it be done the way it should have been done, but if I have a little more money available, Ill send it to the city.”


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