This is a public story
Prev Story Previous Story   |  Story 4268 of 4355  |   Next Story next Story

Now that the voters of Brewer have supported the school budget, which is a major cause of a tax increase, it is time to reconsider the actions taken by city hall, in changing the hours of an open window at the dispatcher center at the Public-Safety Building.

Brewer has 7,333 registered voters (14 new ones registered at the polls on Monday), and the vote to support the $365,000 increase in the school budget, was just 8% of the voters. The overall school budget approved was over $20 million dollars, and the result and was a final 465-122 decision, which was not a surprise, especially considering that the school department saw fit to run a 'robo' call to the citizens of Brewer shortly after 11:00.

What has been brought to the citizens of Brewer is this: They voted, in essence, to raise their taxes ($1.93/1000.) from $18.99 to $20.92, which averages out to a nearly $200.00 increase on a $100,000 dollar home. Did the voters actually realize the repercussions of their school budget support? We will certainly know all about this when the tax bills arrive at their mail boxes in September. Unfortunately, the ballot question never mentions the amount of the school increase, or the effect on the mill rate. We are all aware of how this works when the state bonding issues are presented, in that the amount of the bonds, as well as the timing of the bonds in print.

By the way, the Penobscot County budget was upped some $31,042, which is a very small portion of the increase.

As for the Brewer City Council, they certainly could have sent the school budget back to the elected school board officials, and told to revise the figures. That has happened a few times over my career on the City Council, and it has worked. However, the municipal side of the budget presented was $61,880 less than the previous year.

My understand is that this was one of the worst years of trying to prepare a budget, as the school department either refused to release necessary figures in a timely fashion, and/or presented several versions of their desired budget.

Back to the original intent of this blog item: The city has decided, in order to save $7,000- out of a $1,714.00 police budget- the front desk-the face of the Public-Safety Building, will only be staffed on a partial basis. On Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, the office will be opened from 8:00 until 4:00. On Wednesday and Friday, the hours will be 8 to noon. Otherwise, a rolling steel door will be the look at this important place. Furthermore, the 'red phone' will be available for those wishing to communicate with a live person.

This office is the only public place that our citizens can actually communicate with those they need to see. This is most unfortunate, and now that the citizens have voted to support a major tax increase; it seems that Brewer can afford to come up with the $7,000, otherwise being saved. A sacrifice that seems unnecessary for our citizens, and I realize it is just a matter of eight hours for two days (416 hours); however, why cannot the city find, in a 13 million dollars budget, something more user friendly at the Public-Safety Bldg...


Add a commentAdd a comment