Twelve jobs are set to go away with the scheduled closing of the Maine Revenue Services Office in Houlton. Workers at the office received a letter notifying them that they will be laid off later this month. It was news that came as quite a shock.
Houlton Town Manager Gene Conlogue says, “To some people in Augusta, Houlton or Aroostook County is like an outpost somewhere, and they don’t understand the distances they don’t understand the people in this area, the work ethic.”
In it’s 14 year lifespan, the state has tried to shut down the Houlton Office of Maine Revenue Services several times, And now it’s trying AGAIN… It’s location on Water Street is set to close the 21st of this month due to mandatory general fund savings requirements- and that means 12 full-time positions will be no more.
Executive Director of the Maine State Employees Association Chris Quint says, “This really was done outside of the normal realm which is doing it with an appropriations committee and allowing the appropriations committee to ask questions or provide feedback.
Houlton Town Manager Gene Conlogue says, “People want this office here it has a very strong history with the state of doing an excellent job, the rate on return for the amount of cost of this office it brings back 9 dollar in income for every dollar that’s spent.”
It’s a decision that comes down to meeting state budget obligations, and IRS guidelines; officials stating the office doesn’t meet what’s required for state services of it’s kind.
Executive Director of the Maine State Employees Association Chris Quint says,
” When you actually review the guidelines, one of the things they said is it needs to be a key card entrance or security cameras. If you actually read the IRS guidelines there’s nothing in the guidelines that says that it requires a key card or security camera.”
If the proposal does close the office location… Quint says it will have a ripple effect through the Houlton economy, that’s why he’s looking to the community for help.
Executive Director of the Maine State Employees Association Chris Quint says, “Talking to community members, we’re reaching out to local businesses, getting signatures of support, petitions of support.”
Community members plan to go to an appropriations committee meeting being held in Augusta Tuesday morning in an effort to reverse the decision to close the Houlton Revenue Services location.