Millinocket tax increase
At Millinocket’s Aug. 14 council meeting, our town manager informed the council and the public that the town would probably be in need of obtaining a tax anticipation note to provide us with the operating cash we will need to get us through until the tax payments begin to be received in mid-November.
Why is the town in this situation? Having attended council meetings for quite a few years, I have heard our auditors caution the town to maintain as high an undesignated fund balance (surplus) as possible mainly because the town relies on only one large taxpaying entity. We have gone from a $3.5 million surplus to slightly over $1.5 million in a very short time.
If those attending council meetings heard that message, why then didn’t our councilors hear it? Instead a majority have continued to vote to spend money as though we had it to spend. Blame must also lie at the feet of those who chose to vote in favor of our inflated school budget despite the declining enrollment.
Because of these errors in judgment, the taxpayers now not only face a higher property tax bill in November, but they will also have to support the interest costs for this note.
• • •
Big business is bully
Isn’t it nice that some big-business bosses outside of Maine can afford a famous HBO “Sopranos” star for their antiunion ads? Big-business bosses are the ones intimidating employees, not union representatives.
The Employee Free Choice Act gives employees another option from the continued choice of a private ballot. That is because the intimidating employers have intervened before a vote can even be arranged. Effective big-business bosses may not need unions because they already support good pay and benefits for their workers. Others are more interested in short-term profits than in the longer term viability of a trained, effective work force and business operation.
• • •
Collins in the mud
On Aug. 13, Sen. Susan Collins speculated on radio that Sen. John Edwards is the father of an illegitimate child. Collins brazenly stated that, “Would he be sneaking into the hotel in the middle of the night to see a child who’s not his? I don’t think so.” It is reassuring that Collins is concerned with the personal life of Edwards because she certainly is not concerned with lowering the price of home heating oil and gasoline.
In November 2005, Collins voted against an amendment that would tax the windfall profits of oil companies and direct the tax revenue toward struggling American consumers. In September 2005, Collins voted for the Bush-Cheney Energy Bill which gave the oil and gas industries $14 billion in tax breaks and tax incentives. In June 2003, Collins voted against an amendment which would regulate the trading of online energy derivatives and impose penalties for market manipulation. This amendment would have closed the “Enron Loophole” which exempts from regulation most over-the-counter energy trades and trading on electronic energy commodity markets. Experts say that as much as 75 percent of future trading is conducted through unregulated “black markets” created by the Enron Loophole in 2000, which Collins supported in 2003.
Is Susan Collins going to help reduce the price of home heating oil and gasoline? Using Collins’ own words, “I don’t think so.” Collins should spend less time rolling in the mud of political gossip and more time explaining why she has repeatedly voted to provide big oil with tax incentives and why she opposed regulation of energy market manipulation.
• • •
Rice, Russia and Iraq
Condoleezza Rice, U.S. Secretary of State, has bluntly warned Russia that the use of military power is not the way to resolve problems in the 21st century. Oh really, Madam Secretary? Just what is it the U.S. is doing in Iraq?
• • •
Thank a veteran
I am a World War II veteran. I joined the U.S. Marine Corps out of Bangor on June 11, 1941, and returned to civilian life in October 1945.
While at the Togus VA Center one day for a medical appointment, I visited the gift shop as I often do. The first thing you notice are the large selection of military caps. I’ve bought some Marine caps before, but on this day one in particular caught my eye. It was a World War II veteran with three combat ribbons.
Ever since that day, many people come up to me, shake my hand and say, “Thank you for what you did for us.” I can be grocery shopping, eating at a restaurant or pumping gas, etc., when it happens.
I served my country willingly, but I feel proud, thankful and very good inside when people from all walks of life take the time to remember World War II vets like me. Now in our 80s and 90s, our time grows short. Folks often tell me their dad served in World War II and in what branch.
I want to thank all the folks who honor me in this way. I would also like to mention there are many veterans in our area who have served in Korea, Vietnam and, more recently, Afghanistan and Iraq. They deserve our sincere thanks as well. Please don’t hesitate to shake their hands and thank them for their service, too.
Big postal picture
What is the U.S. Postal Service thinking, or is it? With diesel fuel approaching $7 a gallon, is trucking the mail to southern Maine to be processed and then back again for delivery a wise choice? I wonder what the big picture will look like?
Gerald W. Bartlett
• • •
There still seems to be controversy over the use of wind farms, especially in the Mars Hill area.
I was concerned when construction was initiated. We were investing a considerable amount to make a three-season room into a four-season with an excellent mountain view. Although we aren’t close to the mountain to hear whatever noise is emitted from the turbines, we’re close enough to enjoy the view. I think the destruction of the mountain through the many ski trails carved there is much more repulsive than the turbines strutting across the top. I realize the ski area is badly needed for all who enjoy the sport and a little disturbance is a necessity.
I’m quite sure if some of us had the opportunity to lease land to companies, we as landowners would do so. And, the tax benefit received, although not huge, is certainly a help. This land is privately owned and the last time I checked, I believe we are still free to do most anything we choose to, if we stay within the law.
Most of us have some disadvantages and disappointments, whether through road traffic all day and nigh; gigantic potato equipment (necessary for our farming economy) on roads which we have to stay clear of, bad roads; too much snow, too little, or too much water; too little sleep; too many bills, etc.
We need to count our blessings and maybe disregard some of the unpleasant offsets.
Dorcas B. Mahan