As a member of the committee opposed to the current Lewiston Auburn merger proposal (COLAC), I have been challenged on several occasions to provide details as to why I believe the Joint Charter Commission/CGR report is inaccurate. While this space does not provide enough room to detail each item, consider just three factors missing from the final estimates given by the JCC in touting $2.3 million in annual savings.

First, while the report indicates that leveling up (increased wages for more responsibility or more staff) costs could be $1.6 million annually, they do not reduce the savings by that amount in their final calculations.

Second, they assume unions would settle for a lesser deal (“blending of wages”).

Third, the JCC makes no mention of any transition costs, whether those would be signage, legal fees, more consultants, severance or early retirement payouts, or anything else related to the 26-month process they spell out needed to complete the transition.

As someone who spent the past 12 years understanding municipal finance, those costs cannot be ignored and the impact of them clearly outweighs any immediate or long-term savings. I call upon the JCC and their political allies to revise their estimates to include these detailed costs in any future calculations.

I invite everyone to ask these questions and understand the true costs of a merger.

COLAC will soon present a series of live-stream events where we review and challenge many of the other assumptions the JCC has provided.

Robert Reed, Lewiston

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