Nov. 5: time for a change

To the editor:

On Tuesday, Nov. 5, the voters of Caribou have an opportunity to replace two sitting members of the Caribou City Council who have served on the city council for a combined total of nineteen years. Most Caribou taxpayers are sick and tired of seeing their property taxes increase every year and their property-tax valuations exceed the market value of their property. 

Then there is the pending issue of a brand new multi-million-dollar public safety building or maybe just a brand new multi-million-dollar police station. How is the city of Caribou going to pay for such expensive pipe dreams? Will the city of Caribou once again inflate the value of your property and then lower the mill rate? This tactic would still likely leave you paying more property-tax dollars than you did the year before. That is what happened in 2012. Alternatively, the city could just raise the mill rate by an arbitrary amount of dollars. When will the city of Caribou’s spending spree stop?

What do you think Caribou will look like in 10 years? Is there a realistic vision in all this progressive spending? Between 2010 and 2018 Caribou lost an estimated 555 residents. Today its population is around 7,600 and decreasing, with estimates of below 7,000 residents by the next census. We know that Caribou’s population is aging, and that senior citizens eventually will become the overwhelming majority. How are we going to care for our seniors? The two major exports that Caribou produces are agricultural products and nearly all our best and brightest high school graduates. 

The city of Caribou needs to become more realistic about its future: It must recognize that it is destined to become an aging and less dynamic community. More and more senior citizens will be aging in their homes. Who is going to care for them? The number of employable young people is dwindling because so many of them are leaving the area, have given into substance abuse, or simply do not want to work at low-wage jobs. 

For the sake of our senior citizens and for all taxpayers, our property taxes need to go down, not up. Spending on unrealistic and/or unnecessary building projects must be recognized as incompatible with Caribou’s less-than-rosy future. 

I think that it is time for a change. That is why I am endorsing and voting for Doug Morrell and Milo Haney on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019. They are two local, fiscally conservative businessmen who recognize that foolishly attempting to spend your way into unattainable prosperity is a form of fiscal insanity. 

Larry Shea

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