I write in response to the comments Lewiston Mayor Mark Cayer made in a Sun Journal story, “Lewiston hopes for tax windfall from hydropower project” (April 30).

The citizens of Lewiston deserve better answers from their mayor. As a 12-year past member of the Lewiston Finance Committee, I offer clarification and suggestions.

While Lewiston could receive somewhere between $7-8 million annually from the project, the added valuation to property being taxed means a reduction in the state revenue sharing of roughly 30% of any increase. That $7 million that Cayer wishes to spend is more likely to be an increase of only $5 million to the city’s bottom line. As the article suggests, Lewiston faces a revenue decrease this year of $1.6 million, due to the pandemic.

While it is unclear what funds would not be collected, it is likely that state sharing will be further reduced due to the excessive spending on other projects in Augusta, creating a problem moving forward. We are also faced with the truth that non-taxable property is growing at four times the rate of taxable property — a trend that is unsustainable as it is taking taxable property off the tax rolls each year for the benefit of others.

I call upon the mayor to look further than his statement of “provide the cash to address key social issues” at a time when Lewiston’s roads need significant work; infrastructure, such as water and sewer lines are failing due to age; and other issues are affecting this city.

Robert Reed, Lewiston


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