CARIBOU, Maine — With 2014-15 budget discussions right around the corner, Caribou and Presque Isle city councilors will sit down for a joint meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 7, to explore possible areas for the two municipalities to achieve cost savings.
The meeting is slated to take place at the Emergency Management Building, in front of the Caribou Fire Department.
During their regular meeting on July 8, Caribou councilors were more intrigued with the “what” rather than the “where.” They expressed their interest in exploring ways that Presque Isle and Caribou could work together to help offset the greater shortfalls in state revenue sharing anticipated to occur next year.
“My first thought would be big items like ladder trucks or street sweepers,” Councilor David Martin suggested, adding that equipment usage for some items could be scheduled if shared.
Mayor Gary Aiken agreed that there were a lot of things that could be discussed, referencing dispatch services.
During the public input portion of the meeting, citizen Paul Camping vocalized his support of exploring cost-savings opportunities between the two cities.
“I am excited by the prospect of consolidating services to lower costs,” he said, mentioning that the Tri-Community Landfill is a “sterling example of municipal cooperation in which the citizens benefit from low cost trash disposal and it may serve as a model for your discussion with the councilors from Presque Isle.”
While Camping approved of the council’s proactive approach to the budget numbers, he also admonished them for recent actions.
“There have been multiple letters written to the editor of the Aroostook Republican regarding the compensation city councilors receive for their service. Some donate their salary to charity and some do not. Some may want to decline all payments from the city to save money,” Camping stated.
“In the overall scheme of things, the total of council’s compensation is rather inconsequential. But this controversy has degenerated into a squabble that is distracting you from the business at hand,” he said. “We deserve seven councilors working together to overcome the obstacles that lie ahead. All of you have good ideas and all of you are committed to the well being of our city. Please agree to disagree like ladies and gentlemen, bury the hatchet and move on.”
Camping also stated his hopes that there would be no additional letters to the editor.
“We the people of Caribou deserve better,” he said.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Caribou City Council starts at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 12, in the Councilors’ Chambers.