LEWISTON — It’s not the City Council’s place to tell residents how to vote, councilors said Tuesday.

Councilors opposed passing two resolutions urging residents to vote against two ballot issues at the polls on Nov. 3 aimed at cutting taxes.

Ballot question 2 would reduce the amount of excise taxes paid on new cars and hybrid vehicles. Ballot question 4 — also known as TABOR II — seeks to put limits on state and local government spending.

“I think this is a big conflict for us,” Councilor Larry Poulin said. “What we think about the issue is irrelevant. I think it sends a message that we are not ready to carry out their wishes.”

Councilors agreed that the issues would make Lewiston budgets tight and could lead to cuts. Councilor Tom Peters said he’s happy to share his private opinion with residents and hopes they investigate both issues carefully.

“But I think people are going to vote for these for reasons what it will do to the library or the schools,” Peters said. “I’m not sure I want to be in a position to tell people how to vote.”

But Mayor Larry Gilbert said that might be the councilors’ job.

“The impact would be great on this city,” Gilbert said. “Certainly this council will abide by the wishes of the voters, but we owe it to them to tell them what the impact would be so they understand what would have to happen.”

In the end, councilors Betty Dube and Tina Bailey voted in favor of the resolution. Councilors Tom Peters, Poulin, Denis Theriault and Reed voted against it. Councilor Nelson Peters abstained.

So far, 25 Maine municipalities have passed resolutions urging voters to turn down the excise tax reductions and 15 have urged their voters to turn down TABOR II.

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