POLAND — The Board of Selectpersons wants to let the governor and Maine Department of Education officials know that undue financial hardship has been placed on towns comprising RSU 16 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

At Tuesday night’s board meeting, Chairman Stephen Robinson said that due to student enrollment dropping significantly this year — between 75 and 111 students — the state’s appropriation for next year’s budget is nearly $488,000 less than the current budget.

The impact on the tax rate for the towns in RSU 16 — Mechanic Falls, Minot and Poland — is significant, he said. On a $100,000 home in Mechanic Falls the property tax would increase by $104.93, Minot would face a $71.33 jump, and Poland would see a $34.37 hike.

Robinson said because the Department of Education operates on a two-year average cycle, the same amount or more could be taken away from RSU 16 again the following year, even if the student enrollment returns to pre-COVID-19 figures.

Robinson and fellow board members agreed that a letter should come from the three towns, RSU 16 administration and the School Committee to request a year of “amnesty” from the current state revenue formula, and allow the district to get the same state appropriation as the current year.

Vice Chairman Jane Pentheny said amnesty was given to car registrations this year due to the pandemic, so why can’t the same be done in state aid to education.

Pentheny said RSU 16 can’t be alone in this state funding situation.

It was also suggested that legislative representatives from the three towns also be contacted for support and cooperation.

In other business, the board authorized the contract with the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office to provide 24/7 coverage beginning July 1.

The town will also begin accepting bids on the 9.5 acre Sadie Jackson lot off Estes Way. The minimum bid is $65,000. Bids are due by 11 a.m. May 13.

A committee of residents, students and town officials will make up the Municipal Park Committee. Their job is to come up with concept ideas for the area beside the Recreation Building and behind the Ricker Memorial Library.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: