City of Caribou in crisis
To the editor:
To the people of this community, I went to the Jan. 14 council meeting to discuss my concerns about the Public Safety Building that looks like it is going to be built according to 5-2 vote. I want people to know I am not against updating the police station. I think we need to do something with it. It probably is the oldest building in our community and should be upgraded. As far as the fire station built in the late ’70s, if more space is needed, which seems to be the problem, my solution is to build on an extra bay.
What my problem is: when the fire chief introduced this project to the council two years ago, it was told that the project was going to cost $8 million and he would be able to get 50 percent in grant money. Today the cost is $11.75 million with no guarantee of grant money.
Folks, this city is in a crisis this year. Our city budget went up over $900,000 from last year. Where are we going folks? At the Jan. 14 meeting, councilors approved fixing the River Road which is going to cost over $1.5 million if we are lucky to get it that cheap. The cleanup at Birdseye site was supposed to be around $75,000 and to date, I believe we are over $200,000 and I don’t believe it is done.
Then we get to the school. We were told before it went up to vote that the cost was going to be $45 million and was not going to cost the citizens one cent to build. Seems like the next day, we were told it needed a second gym and a larger music room for $2 million, but not to worry the money was going to be donated by different organizations and fundraisers. To date, I believe only $500,000 has been collected.
Also, when the project was started, Limestone was included in paying part of this cost. Since then, Limestone has pulled out of RSU 39, so now, we the people of Caribou and Stockholm are on the hook for over $2 million. That’s not the worst of it folks — when we voted for the school we were told the cost was $45 million.
I asked Mr. Doak at the school meeting, “How much more over cost do you anticipate it’s going to cost the taxpayers before the job is done?”
He said, “It’s not going to cost taxpayers one extra cent.”
Well folks, guess what? The project never even got started and it was $12 million in the hole.
Who pays for this mistake? Taxpayers. So what I am trying to say to the council is, it’s nice to want, want and want, but those wants come with a price tag and people are suffering for those wants. All I ask is, when does it end? My guess is when it’s too late.