Is Colby College the Key to Lower Taxes in Waterville?

9/6/18, Maine First Media Staff Report,

Colby College is gaining influence in Waterville, and some residents are concerned. However, Colby is in a position to play the role of hero in turning the city around.

As Maine podcaster, Sean Ross Still, explains in the above video, many residents fear Waterville is turning into “Colbyville.” But now a petition is circulating requesting the college voluntarily provide millions in more revenue to the city so that the municipality can lower its mill rate.

If the mill rate is lowered, property taxes will go down with it. State House Candidate Mark Andre — who is responsible for the petition — believes the lower mill rate will make Waterville competitive and revitalize the city.  If you’re interested, you can sign the petition here.

As part of an initiative to draw in more tuition-paying students, Colby has been very active in the revamping of the city’s downtown area. Unfortunately, if you drive away from downtown, you’ll notice a community that has seen better days. It’s these residents who feel they’re being left behind as Colby and the City Council focus on making downtown Waterville the priority.

Colby has gained so much influence in Waterville, City Council meetings are soon moving from City Hall to the new dormitory buildings. And with efforts to get more Colby alumni on the Council, there are grumblings from locals about a potential conflict of interest. They worry that conflict could lead to even more of a disparity between downtown and the rest of Waterville.

However, there is no denying the role Colby needs to play to get all of Waterville humming again. Lowering the mill rate several points will not happen without cooperation from the college.

If Andre’s petition succeeds, Colby College agrees to offer additional funding, and the City Council passes the motion, Waterville will enjoy one of the lowest mill rates in the state — making them a true competitor for new businesses and the jobs that come with them.

And there is a benefit for Colby as well. If all of Waterville is rejuvenated — not just downtown — more tuition-paying students will select Colby for their higher education. And there will be more businesses for the college to partner with, providing more opportunities for Colby students.

The Original Ross Purow Show host, Still, has been following the relationship between the college and the city and is providing Maine First Media readers with all the details in the video at the top of the story.

Still live streams his podcasts multiple times weekly in a 3D format. He discusses a variety of political topics, running the gamut from local to state to national stories.

Again, if you’d like to sign the petition requesting Colby College to help the municipality lower its property taxes, click here.