Media Archive

Towns investigating deorganization option

Article from The Piscataquis Observer, Vol. 165, No. 5, January 29, 2003

By Jessica Lee
Staff Writer

MILO Milo Town Manager Jane Jones confirmed Tuesday that the town is looking at the possibility of deorganization - as one remedy to cure the rising tax rate.

"We're looking at this from a standpoint of education," she said. "It was brought up by one of the budget committee members, and selectmen, and we want to ensure that all our options have been explored as we continue to struggle fiscally here."

The town's mill rate last year was $25 per $1,000 valuation, and Jones said it is unlikely that the rate will maintain or decline this year.

Milo has been a town since 1823, she said, and now is home to about 2,300 residents.

Rising costs of education and municipal services, combined with the uncertainty of the Bangor & Aroostook bankruptcy settlement, Jones said, have lead to the discussion.

"It's the extreme," said Jones. "Ironically, it's become much higher on our radar screen as our fiscal difficulties continue."

The town of Shirley, as well, is looking to gather information on the subject of deorganization, according to town selectman Rick Lavigne. A public informational meeting is set for 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21, at the town hall, he said, which will be attended by representatives of several state agencies, including the Bureau of Taxation, Department of Education, Department of Audit and the Land Use Regulation Commission.

"People in town have asked about it and we wanted to discuss the pros and cons," said Lavigne.

He said, depending on the response at that meeting, the item may come up as an article on the warrant at the annual town meeting in June. "We want to see how the town feels about it and proceed from there," said Lavigne.

The town of Atkinson is the most recent municipality in Piscataquis County to consider deorganization as a means to solve its financial woes.

NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.