It’s the political kill season. Budget time. An ugly annual rite during which every know-it-all suddenly appears, to take pot shots from the sidelines.
It happens in every Maine town. Of course, that’s your reward when you run for
office. You have to be thick skinned and be able to take a punch. It will
certainly happen in Biddeford this spring, because there’s a steep price to pay
for 25 years of impeded economic development downtown. There’s a budget crunch that has been years in the making, and the critics will be throwing
some very hard punches.
Ironically, Biddeford’s city council removed a downtown economic
impediment last year that had been suppressing the growth of tax revenue for 25 years,
and good things are happening as a result. The council closed the MERC
incinerator, and began paving the way for a much brighter economic future.
(Nonetheless, all that will be lost on those who can’t see beyond the nose on
A rosier future is indeed already on the way. Positive and upbeat media
stories like the one about the new pedestrian bridge connecting downtown
Biddeford and Saco keep appearing with regularity, helping position
Biddeford-Saco as one of the hottest places for business opportunity in the
northeast United States. MERC’s departure has accelerated the arrival of a new
restaurant and hotel in Biddeford, and that’s just the beginning.
Over here in Saco, are we upset that our “competition” is doing well and making news? Just the opposite, actually. As Kevin Mattson, Saco Island’s owner, comments in this video: “The better we all do together, the better we all do.” Tough budget meetings are ahead for city officials in Biddeford. But we salute those who had the political courage to make the tough decisions in 2012. Decades from now, they will be hailed as visionaries.