AUBURN — Councilors in the Twin Cities are far apart on funding for at least two agencies after separate workshop discussions Thursday night.

Auburn City Manager Glenn Aho said his council is calling for $34,000 less for the Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council and no money for the Androscoggin County Emergency Management Agency.

“Auburn didn’t make any of these recommendations with Lewiston in mind,” Aho said. “The council was thinking of Auburn and Auburn’s needs. Basically, they were saying ‘This is all we can afford right now.'”

Lewiston City Administrator Ed Barrett said his council voted to fund all seven shared agencies.

“There seemed to be support of continuing to fund the joint agencies that allows them to continue doing what they do now,” Barrett said. “There might be some adjustments that we’ll make at a later date.”

Both Barrett and Aho said they’d need to meet to discuss the Twin Cities’ next steps. Both votes Thursday were nonbinding.

“There has been fairly regular contact between the administrations of the two cities,” Barrett said.

Councilors heard from the Auburn-Lewiston Municipal Airport, Great Falls TV, L/A Arts, L-A 911, the Androscoggin County Emergency Management Agency, the Lewiston-Auburn Transit Committee and the Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council at separate meetings Monday and Tuesday. Combined, those groups are asking for $3.1 million from the two cities: $1.5 million from Auburn and $1.6 million from Lewiston.

The growth council asked for $167,487 from each city to continue marketing and economic-development work in the Twin Cities. Aho said Auburn’s proposed cut amounted to a $34,000 reduction in the agency’s employee benefits.

According to the budget that group presented to the city councils, it budgets $68,000 per year for life, health, dental and other benefits for 4.5 employees.

“Of course, the growth council can do what they want with that money,” Aho said. “This is just what the City Council recommended.”

Auburn councilors also agreed that the emergency management agency duplicates the city’s own efforts. The agency works as middlemen to help Lewiston, Auburn and county police and fire departments work together.

Both cities are in the middle of reviewing tight budgets that call for tax increases. 

Lewiston’s draft budget calls for a property rate increase of 84 cents per $1,000 of value. That’s a tax increase of about $122 for a $145,000 home.

Auburn draft budget calls for an increase of $1.78 per $1,000 of property value. That’s an increase of about $258 for a $145,000 home.

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