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March 11. 2013 8:58PM

Exiting Windham selectman joins taxpayers coalition board

WINDHAM - The acting chairman of Windham's Board of Selectmen will soon begin serving on the board of directors for the recently formed Windham Taxpayers Coalition.

Bruce Breton, a three-term selectman who isn't seeking a fourth term in this week's elections, announced his decision during last week's selectmen's meeting.

Ken Eyring, spokesman for the Windham Taxpayers Coalition (WTC), said Breton's experience in local politics made him an ideal choice for the new position.

"Mr. Breton was instrumental in keeping Windham's town tax rate level," Eyring said, noting that when Breton first took office in 2003, the town tax rate was $4.46 per thousand dollars of property valuation. The town's current rate is $3.64.

"This reflects an amazing accomplishment and a tribute to his ability to balance budgets and needs," Eyring said.

In a written statement, Breton said he's standing by the WTC's continued questioning of the district's proposed new middle school and the accompanying $31 million bond on the March ballot.

Cost estimates for the project total $29.7 million for the new school with the remainder to fund the field improvements, including the addition of multi-purpose turf.

But WTC organizers believe passage of the warrant article would increase the town's school tax burden by at least $8 million over the next three years and still won't solve all the district's facility needs, since the proposed school would only house seventh- and eighth-graders.

"The work the WTC has accomplished in just a few short weeks to educate Windham residents has already transformed the group into a valuable asset for our community," Breton said. "The WTC's presentation of facts and figures questioning the feasibility of the proposed school provides knowledge that can and should be used to cast a more informed vote."

The WTC was recently formed to act as a citizens' oversight group that will monitor the spending of Windham's local tax dollars, Eyring said.

The group studies local issues that have high tax impact consequences, provides facts to the community regarding those issues, and seeks to provide sound, cost-effective solutions by working with the community and elected representatives, according to Eyring.

aguilmet@newstote.com


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