2013-10-11 / Letters

Resident has stake in city

To the editor:

I have no stake in the waterfront from a business standpoint, but I do have a stake in our fine city. I pay property taxes.

I just read the Waterfront Protection Ordinance. I read section 4 several times just so I would understand it. It can be interpreted several ways but what it boils down to is “there shall be no enlargement or expansion of existing petroleum . . . facilities . . . in the Shipyard District . .” from section 4(a).

If this ordinance passes consider the following probable scenarios:

Soon the Montreal refinery will no longer need imported oil, it has enough from Canadian sources. Our pipeline operation is forced to shut down because it cannot export Canadian oil. As a result people lose their jobs and our property taxes would then go up, way up.

Oil related businesses in the zone will need to replace old equipment, upgrade their facility or expand to meet demand. They cannot under the terms of the ordinance, so the demand shifts to other modes of transportation that result in an increase of the price of oil products. These companies will be forced to shut down because they cannot modernize creating a loss of tax revenue and forcing the city to raise our taxes yet again and lay off employees. How many teachers, police and firefighters do you want to lose?

As these companies are forced out of business, property taxes go up and up, city staff is laid off, and the increased taxes cause property values to drop. It becomes increasingly difficult to sell a home in South Portland because the taxes are so high. Older citizens are forced to sell because of the high taxes they cannot afford.

This scenario is not what we have heard from some members in our community, but if you read the ordinance and look closely at it this is a more probable long-term outcome.

I, for one, will vote against the ordinance because I do not want folks to lose their jobs or for my property taxes to go through the roof.

Richard Prince
South Portland

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