Talking Points from William Bridgeo, Augusta City Manager, Press Conference to Release Analysis of Governor LePage’s Budget

“The principal problem of financing municipal services is the burden on the property tax; and to stabilize the municipal property tax burden, it is necessary to provide funds from the broad-based taxes of State Government”. – Legislative findings and purpose of revenue sharing statute

• Because of its population and tax base, the City of Augusta receives approximately 2% of the revenue sharing funds distributed state-wide.

• In the last few years, due to the combination of a terrible economy and state raids on the revenue sharing fund to balance the state budget, the City’s annual receipts from revenue sharing have gone from $2.6 million in FY ’08 to $1.5 million in FY ’11.

• During that same period, the City’s budget (including schools) has shrunk from $51 million to $49 million. Ten percent of the workforce has been eliminated (including lay-offs); employee wages and benefits have been frozen or reduced; shut-down days have been utilized and important capital improvements to streets and public buildings have been deferred.

• In that time, there has been no diminishment in the demand for municipal services including police, fire, ambulance, schools, winter road maintenance, trash collection, parks and libraries, operation and upkeep of cemeteries, code enforcement or health and welfare functions.

• Over a ten year period, the City has managed all of this with an average increase in property tax rates of less than one percent.

• In the same period, we have closed two schools and consolidated junior high school students into the high school; we have consolidated utility operations; we have done the same with municipal operations like Information Technology and Clerk/Treasury, to cite a few of many.