By Diana Bowley, Of the NEWS Staff - DEXTER - Local Cub Scouts who attended a Dexter Town Council meeting Thursday got a civic lesson on how a citizens tax-cap plan could possibly affect local government.
Town Manager Robert Simpson said that if the Maine Taxpayers Action Network proposal is approved by taxpayers in November, the town would be forced to sell facilities, eliminate half the staff, reduce operating hours and reduce the budget.
"We will, in effect, have to turn out the lights," Simpson said.
The November ballot will carry the following MTAN question: "Do you want to limit property taxes to 1 percent of the assessed value of the property?" If that referendum question is approved, the cap would limit property taxes to $10 per $1,000 of assessed valuation based on the assessed value in 1996-97, according to Simpson.
Under this scenario, the town would have a shortfall of $1.5 million, the town manager said. He attributed the situation to the Legislature"s failure to address tax reform for the past 20 years.
In other business Thursday, the council learned that three individuals had submitted proposals for the privatization of the Dexter Municipal Golf Course. Town officials are looking for someone to enter into a three-year contractual agreement to manage and operate the facility. In his proposal, Gary Rees, the current manager of the golf course, offered to perform the service for 90 percent of the gross receipts the first year, and 85 percent the second and third years. Jim Costideo"s proposal was for 100 percent of the gross receipts. A third proposal from John Chappell offered a 25-year lease with an option to purchase. His percentage of take during the 25-year lease was not specified Thursday.
Although Simpson said he was disappointed in the number of proposals, he said the three received were good ones. The council will meet next week to review each of the proposals and is expected to make a decision next month.
The council also learned that nine new applications have been received for the position of Dexter police chief. Applications for the position close Feb. 20.
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