Rockland city councilors told their legislators Monday night that continued cuts in municipal and school aid would simply shift the cost to property owners.

But councilors also voiced empathy with the difficult position legislators are in as state revenues continue to decline. Some councilors suggested that the state consider an increase and expansion of the state sales tax.

State Sen. Christopher Rector, R-Thomaston, and state Rep. Edward Mazurek, D-Rockland, met with city councilors during their regular monthly meeting.

“I’m disheartened by the shift to the property taxpayers,” Councilor Eric Hebert said. “I’d rather see an extra penny on the sales tax than a shift to property taxes.”

Councilor Brian Harden said the Legislature should look at expansion of the state’s sales tax. Harden, business manager for the Reading Corner bookstore on Main Street in Rockland, said many out-of-state tourists are surprised that magazines are not subject to a sales tax as in their home states.

Councilor Elizabeth Dickerson said the solution to the state’s economic woes is a commitment to education.

“What dismays me more than the loss of [municipal] revenue sharing is the loss of education aid,” Dickerson said. “I would be willing to pay extra taxes for that.”

At the beginning of the meeting, City Manager Rosemary Kulow said the city will probably receive $226,000 less in state revenue sharing than expected. She has instructed the department heads to come up with a plan to cut 2 percent of the budget between now and the end of the budget year on June 30.

Rector and Mazurek said they understood the concerns of the council but noted the decline in state revenues.

“I’ve been on both sides of the table,” Mazurek said. He served on the City Council from 2001 to 2004 before being elected to the state Legislature in 2004. “I’ve been on your side and it was difficult,” he said. “And it’s difficult on this side.”

Mazurek also said he served as a teacher for 30 years and schools need to make fundamental changes and better use of the money they receive.

The Legislature last year approved an expansion of the sales tax to include a variety of services while also reducing the top income tax rate. Supporters said it would generate more revenues from out-of-state visitors while offering relief to Mainers.

Opponents of the sales tax expansion launched a petition drive that put the law on hold. Maine voters will decide on June 8 whether to repeal the law.