The Auburn School Department sold property on Mt. Auburn Avenue, valued at approximately $1.4 million for $900,000.

That is a substantial loss. The taxpayers paid for those buildings, and the loss is unacceptable.

Now the School Department needs to move a program and renovate an old existing building to house the displaced students. An option was presented, but frowned upon.

The taxpayers have spent substantial money to keep Great Falls School up to code for use. Taxpayers pay more than $32,000 per year to heat Great Falls. That doesn’t include operational and maintenence costs. A small amount in rent is collected from the few businesses that are there.

My suggestion is to use the building that was a school, has plenty of room and most code requirements in place. The School Department can lease this space from the city and use state money to pay the lease back to the city and ultimately the taxpayers. The businesses can stay, as most are after hours, and people can actually use it as a community center.

This seems to be a viable solution. I see no reason not to do it.

Historically, the School Department has never had to justify its spending. My point is, when saving money is what it’s about, and there is an existing facility that is essentially turnkey, why look elsewhere? Then East Auburn can be left alone, kill Merrill Hill and Franklin, and leave Webster closed.

Michael Farrell, Auburn

City Councilor, Ward 1

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