Residents of Lewiston and Auburn need to think before they vote. Will consolidation of the two cities save money?

A clear example comes to mind. Some 21 years ago, the mayors of both cities appointed a group of 24 citizens, councilors, city managers and officials to study joint municipal operations and make recommendations. Those 24 people, assisted by 25 citizens and municipal employees, worked for nine months and produced a thick report.

They concluded that working together had saved money and improved service through the years and recommended more cooperation.

The simplest of nine recommendations was to combine the two welfare offices. There were two welfare directors — a full-time person in Lewiston and a part-timer in Auburn. The Auburn welfare director was about to retire. The recommendation was to have one person run the two programs, saving about a third of the combined payroll.

Neither city council considered this recommendation or any other. All this time later, there are still two welfare offices with two payrolls.

Would the cities have saved money?

Those people who think the answer is yes should vote for the merger in November.

Tamera Grieshaber, Lewiston

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