Spending Money Wisely

Here are some quick thoughts as we head into election day.

  • I believe it is important to support the statewide transportation bond. Infrastructure reduces delays in traffic and makes our economy more efficient. This is an $85 million bond funding one year of operations.  Here’s how it will break down: $22 million will go to repair of high-priority highways, including $5 million for municipalities; $46 million to bridge repairs, many of which are rated ‘critical’; and $17 million to ports, harbors, and rail service. This is only a one-year bond, so you’ll probably see another one on next year’s ballot. We do need to do a better job of funding MDOT in a predictable way – which will create savings as we can plan farther ahead.
  • I support all three of the Biddeford capital repair bonds.  Roads, sewers and stormwater separation, and critical improvements to City Hall are all ultimately “non-optional”.  We’ll have to find a way to do them.  For the roads, filling potholes only goes so far, can be dangerous, and delays traffic which is bad for business.  The sewer and stormwater separation is a must for the health of our oceans and beaches.  The way it works now is, when there’s a big storm, the two flow together into the ocean, which is not good.  For the repairs to City Hall, we’ll have to make these improvements one way or another to keep the building dry and stay code compliant (and don’t overlook the impression our beautiful clock tower makes on visitors – we take it for granted but it is meaningful, and something we should be proud of).

I’ll admit to being a little conflicted about this because of the tax implications.  As an owner of both commercial and residential property in Biddeford, I feel property tax increases pretty strongly.  But bonds are the most financially effective mechanism to finance long-lasting infrastructure improvements.  Yes, there will be a tax impact of approximately $35 per year per 100,000 of valuation (for 20 years).  But this impact would be much larger if we performed these projects using the general fund – about $515 per 100,000 (in one year). And I do think we will have to make these updates and repairs no matter what – they can’t be put off forever.

Being fiscally conservative doesn’t mean not spending any money ever: it means spending money wisely.  When you can invest in a good project and develop an asset of high value that will provide returns greater than the cost of the project, you should proceed.  Please join me in voting to support these critical bond measures.

Here are the ballots:

State of Maine

Biddeford

I’ll be at the polls at Tiger Gym at Biddeford High School most of the day.  Please stop by and say hi when you come to vote!

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