LEWISTON — The Twin Cities could agree more when it comes to funding cross-city agencies, City Councilor Mark Cayer said Tuesday.

Lewiston councilors were reviewing budgets for shared agencies — Lewiston-Auburn 911 Communications Center, the Auburn-Lewiston Municipal Airport, Great Falls TV and Lewiston-Auburn Transit Committee — at their budget workshop discussion.

All told, those three agencies are requesting $1.47 million from Lewiston in the 2015-16 fiscal year.

That’s the same topic their Auburn counterparts considered at their meeting Monday, with Auburn calling for cuts to keep proposed increases below 1.8 percent. That’s a spending limit the Auburn council wants on its entire budget, including shared agencies. Auburn councilors said Monday they expected the agencies to trim theirs to stay under that rate and most said they could.

Finance Director Heather Hunter said the cities typically adopt the lowest spending plan for each city.

Cayer said he wished Lewiston had more say in the discussion.


“What’s the point of having an interlocal agreement if it’s already set by the time we discuss it?” Cayer asked.

The councils hosted joint meetings in years past to review those budget requests. Two years ago, two councilors from each city met in a special committee to review those requests, then reported back to their councils.

Lewiston City Administrator Ed Barrett said the joint meetings were phased out because the two councils didn’t really interact or discuss the budgets.

Councilor Don D’Auteuil, who served on the special committee two years ago, said there just was not interest among councilors to continue the practice.

Situations like this are bound to happen sometimes, D’Auteuil said.

“I don’t think we can really avoid this,” he said. “Somebody is bound to see the budgets first.”


Lewiston’s proposed budget looks to increase spending for city services by about $1.2 million in the 2015-16 fiscal year compared to this year. That’s a 2.81 percent increase. It includes increases in personnel costs and health insurance, state retirement fund payments, general fund capital spending and contracted services.

Councilors would have to trim $3.7 million from their budget to get under a spending limit written into the city charter.

Councilors continue their review at 6 p.m. Thursday with another budget workshop discussion, reviewing potential cuts to the departmental budgets.


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