2014-01-10 / Columns

Proposed renovation projects are too much to handle

To the editor:

The proposed RSU 21 expansion projects we will vote on this Jan. 21 are a poor use of taxpayer dollars at this time. No doubt, the schools of RSU 21 may need some attention, but the current proposal is calling for what appears to be a fantastic wish list of expansion items such as a 500-seat theater in a standalone arts building, reconfiguration of athletic fields, etc.

The proposed price tag for this wish list is $74 million. For this West Kennebunk homeowner with a very modest residence of 1,000 square feet on half an acre, this expansion comes with an increase of 9.3 percent or $180 per year. This projection doesn’t take into account any additional tax increases that may occur during the length of the bond, or the reductions in state funding aid being passed along to municipalities. How many folks on fixed incomes or family farms will have to relocate so Kennebunk can sport a standalone arts center at the high school?

As a taxpayer, it is so disappointing to see this lavish proposal as the only offer on the ballot, before we even know how much more we’ll be paying as a result of the increases to municipalities in the governor’s budget. If our schools are truly in such poor shape that it will take $74 million to fix them, what have we been doing spending our money replacing trees downtown, building curb cutouts and potting flowers in little wooden boats?

This taxpayer would like to see a reasonable proposal for appropriate maintenance to the RSU 21 schools available for a November ballot, one that won’t tax us out of our homes and family farms. Please get out to vote no on the current RSU 21 bonds.

Steven Kelley

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