The number of vacant, dilapidated homes facing foreclosure in Auburn has doubled in the past nine months, while the city manager and planning director say we are just beginning to see the results of the recession.

There has been a 10 percent increase in the price for water and sewer; a 10 percent increase in Central Maine Power rates.

In the schools, there are plenty of principals, vice principals and other administrators, fewer and fewer students, year after year. Ten different directors going in 10 different directions.

It is criminal the way the land behind East Auburn School has been butchered. That is taxpayer land, where ancient oaks and pine were home to eagles, owls and hawks. Nothing now but stumps. Take a walk behind the school. It is eye-popping. An old-growth forest, decimated.

Things are out of control.

The city manager needs to sharpen his axe and cut, cut, cut. And I don’t mean trees or just one teacher. The school department is in dire need of restructuring.

The police department does a great job. So good, in fact, that there is no crime. Hand that department over to the Androscoggin Sheriff’s Department. They do a great job in surrounding towns. Why not Auburn?

As for the fire department — one chief and volunteers. All new buildings have sprinkler systems. Send out the snorkel for fender benders.

No children, no crime, no fires; those departments need to be restructured. Meanwhile, the homeowner gets hammered by unsustainable budgets.

Jeffrey Keenan, Auburn