Leaders send parking lot question to 2016 referendum

8 years ago
         CARIBOU, Maine — The Caribou City Council decided to create a referendum question for the November 2016 ballot, asking voters if the city of Caribou should sell or keep the downtown parking lots.

     The decision to sell the lots came as a result of the costs associated with their maintenance. Labor costs for winter snow removal are estimated at $7,671 while the equipment costs are $12,766, bringing the overall winter maintenance cost to a total of $20,437.

     “I would urge the council not to make an overly burdensome or complex question,” City Manager Austin Bleess said.

     “We’ve talked about this for quite a while,” said Councilor Joan Theriault. “It’s a hot topic, and it’s not something that we want to do very often but, once in a while, a topic comes up that the citizens should have a say in. And I think this may be one of them.

     “This is why we came to a consensus that it should come to referendum and it should be the taxpayers who actually pay for the parking lot who make the decisions. There are people with opinions in both directions, so we felt this was the fairest way to go about it. If this does go, I think the wording should have some idea of what the maintenance costs,” she added,

     Bleess reiterated that he did not want an “overly burdensome or complex question,” and suggested that Council could create a PR campaign to ensure that Caribou citizens are informed.

     “I don’t completely agree with putting it out to referendum myself,” said Bleess, “but if we do put it out, it should be a simple, straightforward question.”