Bangor budget gap stands to spell cuts for city departments

BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --- City leaders are continuing to try and sort through a tough budget mess before June.

Officials are left trying to fill a $1.4 million budget hole going forward, which was mostly created due to cuts in state revenue. As a result leaders say the city's options are limited: either raise taxes or cut city services.

At this point the Bangor city council appears to be keeping every city department on the table as they try to fill the gap. That could affect services ranging from public works, parks and recreation and even public safety.

There has also been the mention by some leaders to find ways to trim Bangor's school budget. That department is already taking its own hits going into this year since it's losing about a $1 million in state support.

School superintendent Betsy Webb says at about $44 million her budget is 80 percent personnel costs. She says any further cuts could impact jobs as well as student programs.

"We have not in this budget...have cut personnel...because we're unable to," she said, "We have larger class enrollments coming in in some of our elementary schools..we also have increased standards that we have to meet at the high school level."

"I think that all of our department heads know that this is a lean budget year and unfortunately there's going to have to be some cuts," said Ben Sprague, who is chair of the Bangor city council, "it's not going to be easy."

Bangor officials will be continuing their budget talks over the coming weeks. Both budgets have to be finalized by June. The school budget then has to be voted on by city residents --- once it is passed by the council.


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