Bangor councilors, delegation to meet

Posted Jan. 27, 2010, at 11:34 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — City councilors will meet tonight with members of Bangor’s legislative delegation to discuss a number of state issues that are of particular concern to the Queen City.

At the top of the list is the proposed reduction of the state’s supplemental budget that has been introduced by Gov. John Baldacci. The cuts will result in $900,000 less in municipal revenue sharing for Bangor this fiscal year and an estimated $1.5 million less for the 2011 fiscal year, which begins on July 1.

In addition, the Bangor School Department is expected to lose $754,000 in general purpose aid this year and an estimated $1.5 million to $2 million for 2011.

Some councilors have been critical of state legislators for balancing the state’s budget by passing the buck to municipalities such as Bangor. Sen. Joseph Perry, D-Bangor, responded to those criticisms during a City Council meeting earlier this month, referencing an OpEd piece written by the council that ran in the Bangor Daily News.

“The letter lays out the really difficult challenges that the state is facing with its own budget and the city is facing, and then it points the finger back at Augusta,” Perry said, challenging councilors to take a position on what else the state could do to address the $438 million revenue shortfall.

In addition to Perry, House Reps. Adam Goode, Sara Stevens, Jim Martin and Emily Cain — all Democrats — have been invited to meet with the council.

Although state budget woes will take the main stage, other topics of discussion at the 7 p.m. meeting at City Hall are expected to be:

ä Issues affecting Hollywood Slots, specifically the citizens’ initiative to bring a casino to Oxford County and a proposal to offer promotional credits at the Bangor gambling facility. Steve Lambert and Bruce Badger will be in attendance representing Hollywood Slots.

ä The issue of homelessness and how it affects city departments such as the Police Department and the Department of Health and Human Services. Police Chief Ron Gastia and Bangor’s Health and Community Services Director Shawn Yardley will address this issue.

ä Pending legislative bills that could affect Bangor, such as an act to reduce automobile excise tax that could result in a $400,000 revenue loss for Bangor and an act that would allow municipalities to pass a local option sales tax through referendum.

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