AUBURN — Backers of an effort to combine Lewiston and Auburn are running short on time to get the matter on November’s ballot, city councilors were told Monday.

City Clerk Sue Clements-Dallaire said councilors need to schedule a vote on the charter at their Aug. 15 meeting to meet the schedule and make the ballot. They should schedule a public hearing on the matter for the Oct. 28 meeting.

“I have to submit the information to get the ballots printed, the programming and memory sticks for the ballot boxes,” she said. “So council should set the date of the election in August if they want it on the November ballot.”

But councilors sounded frustrated. Councilor Robert Stone said councilors have little control over when the matter comes to a vote.

“They have absolutely no deadline on their charter commission to complete their work,” Stone said. “They could be done in August. They could be done in August in four years.”

Lewiston and Auburn voters elected six commissioners — three from each city — in June 2014 to study and draft a new charter combining the two cities. The group has met twice each month discussing government options, meeting with local government representatives and writing a draft charter combining language from the Lewiston and Auburn charters and a national model charter.

When they are done, the proposed charter goes to both cities for a final vote. Voters in both cities must agree to adopt the charter independently.

The commission released the draft of the charter as well as a document comparing it with the current Lewiston and Auburn charters in January and a baseline report of both cities’ operations in June. The group is discussing potential names for the two cities.

That baseline report is available via download at, the Charter Commission’s website.

Stone said he just wants to be sure the ballot falls during an election with many voters.

“My one interest in this is to schedule on a date when there is a lot of people voting,” Stone said. “This will be a milestone resolution in both cities.”

Councilor Leroy Walker was more blunt, saying the vote needs to happen as soon as possible.

“We are better off getting this done sooner rather than later,” Walker said. “This is a wedge that’s being driven between two cities that want to run their cities they way they want, not the way these (six) people sitting at the top here feel they have to right to drag us.”

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