RUMFORD – Fearing impending job cuts in June should town meeting voters fail to override Maine’s tax cap law, Detective Lt. Mark Cayer said Wednesday that he’s resigning as of then to protect the job of a patrolman.

“If LD 1 doesn’t pass by our citizens in June, I’m anticipating a 10 percent cut in our budget, and that’s significant,” he said. “We can’t take patrolmen off the streets, so it falls to my job. Our patrolmen are the backbone of this department.”

Cayer said that four weeks ago, he had no intention of leaving. But all of that changed rapidly when budget talks by selectmen and Town Manager Jim Doar mentioned having to override the state tax cap.

Contacted Wednesday afternoon, Doar said that should voters choose not to override the tax cap, that means municipal government would operate on one-twelfth of its budget and that all departments would take cuts. But that doesn’t necessarily mean job cuts.

“That wouldn’t mean personnel cuts while we give out $300,000 in services,” Doar said. “Our municipal government has core services – police, fire and public works. If we did nothing else, we need to do that.”

Doar said that he and selectmen have cut more than $3,000 from the budget, but due to the municipal building renovation bond issue and the Med-Care Ambulance expansion project increases, the budget will come in higher than the tax cap.

Regarding Cayer, Doar said if they have to cut jobs in the Police Department, it would be Cayer’s and not a patrolman’s position, because Cayer’s job is a nonunion position. However, Doar said he’s pretty confident that it won’t come to that.

Cayer, however, doesn’t share that optimism.

“We’ve never faced a 10 percent cut if LD 1 isn’t passed. I’ve got two mortgages and I’ve invested money in this town, so this is too big of a risk, and I wouldn’t put my family through that. This town has never before in the past OK’d an LD 1 override and that’s their choice, but that’s not a risk I’m willing to take,” Cayer said.

He blamed the situation on political differences between selectmen who should be focusing their energies on economic development instead of petty attacks on one another, Cayer said.

“This could be the next booming town, but as it stands now, it isn’t. There’s no economic growth. Instead of focusing on growing the economy, they’re focused on the negatives. Jim Doar is one of the best town managers around here in years, and I actually enjoy working here. I think this community has so much potential,” Cayer said.

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