Rockland council may weigh in on DHHS cuts

Posted Feb. 03, 2012, at 6:25 p.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine — The City Council may add its voice to those opposed to proposed cuts in the state’s health care program for low-income residents.

Councilor Elizabeth Dickerson has sponsored a resolve in an effort to convince the states to not make the cuts.

“The Rockland City Council encourages the Legislature and the Governor to seek budgetary alternatives that do not put Maine’s most vulnerable citizens at increased risk,” the resolve states.

Dickerson argues that elimination of people from the MaineCare program and the reduction in services to those remaining on the program will hurt municipalities, the local hospital and nonprofit organizations in the region. She said the services provided by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services provide a minimal safety net.

Mayor Brian Harden said he normally does not support resolves that involve other levels of government since it is not within the jurisdiction of the council. But he said he supports this one because of the direct impact it would have on the city.

The city’s community development director has been asked to compile the specific monetary impact of the proposed cuts on Rockland. That information has yet to be developed.

One area the city will look at is the general assistance budget. Rockland’s general assistance budget for 2011-2012 is $45,264, a 19 percent increase from the previous year.

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