As a resident of Lewiston, I oppose the current charter commission’s efforts to consolidate Lewiston and Auburn. This is a bad idea put forth by a small group of otherwise well intentioned people. There is no significant sentiment among the general public in favor of this ill-conceived idea.

There are many reasons why consolidation is a bad idea, especially for Lewiston. Will Lewiston be taking on a disproportionate share of road maintenance from the geographically larger city of Auburn? What will be the impact of Auburn’s Edward Little problem? Will consolidation hurt Lewiston more in the state school funding formula?

Lewiston has become a very well run municipality that, despite its problems, has made great progress. Let’s not sidetrack our progress by taking on these unnecessary issues.

There will be plenty of time later on to debate the pros and cons of municipal consolidation. For now, I urge Lewiston city officials to oppose endorsing the charter commission’s efforts to obtain $50,000 in funds from an over-stressed state budget to assist the commission. The commission has set up a political action committee to promote its efforts. Will the state taxpayer funds be commingled with those private PAC monies? Has anyone checked to see whether this is even legal?

There will be organized opposition to the consolidation effort. It is inappropriate for public tax dollars to be allocated in support of one side over the other in the referendum vote that is planned for next year.

James Howaniec, Lewiston

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