July 13, 2020

Bradley council, school panel against TABOR

BRADLEY – The council and school board earlier this week signed a resolution against the statewide spending cap proposal known as the Taxpayer Bill of Rights slated to be on the Nov. 7 ballot.

“We would have to lessen our budget over $143,000,” Bradley Town Manager Melissa Doane said Wednesday.

In a letter to residents explaining the impact of TABOR, Doane said the bill “imposes a very restrictive one-size-fits-all formula for state and local budgets.”

TABOR is designed to limit increases in state and local government spending. Its formula uses the U.S. rate of inflation plus an area’s change in population to calculate the allowed increase. To override these limits is a two-step process: First, two-thirds of a legislative body (i.e. Legislature or town council) must approve. Then a majority of voters must approve at the next general or special election.

Bradley already has a self-imposed budget cap stating that the budget can’t increase more than the federal cost of living allowance. The tax rate for the current fiscal year decreased from $18.60 per $1,000 of property valuation to $17 per $1,000 of valuation.

Doane’s letter to residents listed several services that would be lost if TABOR were approved and cuts had to be made. Some potential consequences include:

. Reducing hours and programs of the town’s code enforcement office service.

. Reducing office staff and administration.

. Closing the town office one day a week or more.

. Downgrading streetlights and dry fire hydrants to rural areas.

. Cutting road paving and reconstruction projects in half.

Doane also stated that Bradley residents already vote on the municipal and school budgets by secret ballot.

“TABOR will drastically change the voting procedures used by the town of Bradley,” she wrote in a statement on the initiative.

Doane said she encourages residents to inform themselves about TABOR and vote on Nov. 7.

The full text of the TABOR legislation can be found at www.maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/pets02/legbillr.htm.

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