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Caribou Secession Committee Moves Forward

| July 18, 2014

CaribouDisputePart2 from WAGM-TV on Vimeo.

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A group that has proposed a new town to separate from Caribou is moving forward with it’s next step.  We sat down with the committee today to get the details on their initiative, and how they plan to carry out a secession.

A long process, but one that this Caribou Secession Committee is ambitious about.

Committee Spokesman Paul Camping, ” We did some calculation and came up with a target tax rate for the secession territory of about 15.9 percent, where Caribou’s current tax rate, or mil rate, is 22.3. ”

Camping says expense budgets and revenue budgets have been prepared after analyzing information from Caribou. He says the basic idea is to provide only what citizens need, based on the amount of taxation in the city.

Camping, “we anticipate a first year savings for tax payers of at least 28 percent in the territory.”

The territory is said to include about 30 percent of the current Caribou population. As you can see in this outline posted in the video, Lyndon would be about 3 times the size of what the remaining of Caribou would be. And that leads to the question of services.

Camping, “there are 3 participating communities in RSU 39, Lyndon would be the 4th. So we anticipate of joining RSU 39. Our children will go to the same schools they’re going to now, they’ll ride on the same busses. Because those services are provided by RSU 39, not Caribou.”

As far as water, sewage, and public safety goes, Camping tells us they would have some options. Contracting with Caribou and being charged a per capita rate. Forming a volunteer fire department is another option. Camping says most of the sanitation is done by property owners on their own septic system. Caribou City Mayor Gary Aiken says whether that’s feasible or not, depends on statistics.

Caribou City Mayor Gary Aiken, “you can’t determine that without having the numbers. What’s the assessed value for what would be left in Caribou and what’s the assessed value for what Lyndon would be – It’s quite possible that it won’t be discussed again until they have done their work with the petition.”

For the committee, this isn’t a sudden initiative, it’s been in the works for years. It was finally proposed in Monday’s council meeting.

Committe Board member Doug Morrell, “through the years we’ve brought many different ideas and plans forward to try and help curb the growth of government and out of control spending and they’ve been shot down every time by what I call of special interest, those that are feeding out of that troth. And it just has progressed over time where we’re at a point that this seems to be the only thing left on the table.”

The next step for the committee at this point to gather their signatures after distributing the petitions. If the legislature allows the committee to move forward, a mediation process will begin.

Committee Board member Maynard St.Peter, “During that mediation maybe we can work out our differences, maybe we can come to an agreement, but if we can’t, the citizens still feel that they should have the right to determine what their taxes are.”

Mayor Aiken says he hopes this will not end in separation, and says the end goal is to work out a solution to satisfy both sides.

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