05/27/2020 - Gov. Mills Extends Dining Restrictions in Three Counties
Gov. Janet Mills today updated her reopening plan by extending restrictions against indoor restaurant dining in Androscoggin, Cumberland and York counties beyond June 1. Mills said COVID-19 cases and coronavirus-related hospitalizations are still rising in these three counties, where “community transmission” also has been determined. Mills said outdoor dining is permitted. Otherwise, she said, Stage 2 of the reopening plan is proceeding.
05/27/2020 - Legal Guidance on Excise, Property Tax Executive Order
The Legal Services Department at MMA today released revised guidance to help members deal with changes in excise and property tax collections that, initially, were triggered by public building closures as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency. The upshot, following a new Executive Order from Gov. Janet Mills late yesterday, is that municipal officers are authorized to extend property tax due dates. Municipal officers also have two options regarding excise tax due dates, if the municipality has the ability to accept excise tax payments. Details are spelled out in the Legal Services’ document.
05/26/2020 - MMA Legal Guidance on Stage 2 Reopening
The Legal Services staff at Maine Municipal Association has produced a three-page guide to help towns and cities continue to reopen, during the month of June. The document says municipalities have discretion in determining “essential” and “non-essential” services and buildings. Towns and cities need to follow guidance from the administration of Gov. Janet Mills and, when applicable, from COVID-19 related checklists provided by the state Department of Economic Development.
05/26/2020 - Proposed Slate of MMA Executive Committee Members
Maine Municipal Association’s 2020 Nominating Committee is pleased to put forth a slate of candidates to lead our Executive Committee in 2021 and beyond. Our current vice president is James Gardner, Jr., Town Manager in Easton, who is scheduled to become president on January 1, 2021. The Nominating Committee has proposed that James Bennett, City Manager in Biddeford, become vice president in 2021. Also nominated to the EC were: Robert Butler, chair of select board in the Town of Waldoboro; Terry Helms, selectperson in the Town of Grand Isle; and, Diane Hines, Town Manager in Ludlow and Reed Plantation. There is also a petition process for people interested in running for a seat on the MMA Executive Committee. Petition forms are due no later than July 10, 2020.
05/21/2020 - Mills Administration's Reopening Checklists
Highly anticipated checklists from the administration of Gov. Janet Mills were released Wednesday afternoon, offering criteria to follow when reopening public buildings -- including municipal offices, community centers and libraries -- among other things. Separate checklists were released with guidance for large gatherings, summer camps and community sports, as the state gradually emerges from the COVID-19 public health emergency.
05/20/2020 - U.S. CDC Unveils Reopening Guidelines
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its widely anticipated guidelines for communities, as they reopen commerce, public activities and the like. The six-checklist, “Community Mitigation Framework” includes advice for individuals, businesses, workplaces and events.
05/19/2020 - State Releases Revenue Report
The month of April, as expected, saw a drop in various revenues collected by the State of Maine. The Department of Administrative and Financial Services reported that the coronavirus public health emergency is behind the loss, as is the decision to delay the state income tax collection deadline from April 15, 2020 to July 15, to coincide with a similar move made by the federal government.
05/18/2020 - Bipartisan U.S. Senate Group Backs Municipal Aid
A group of six U.S. senators from both political parties has proposed a plan called the SMART Act (State and Municipal Assistance for Recovery and Transition) that would provide $500 billion in aid for towns and cities across the U.S. that have seen increased demands for services, and falling revenues, due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Maine would receive $2 billion under this proposal, according to Sen. Susan Collins’ office.
05/15/2020 - Why Municipal Stimulus Matters
The National League of Cities is pushing its “Cities Are Essential” campaign, which makes the case for coronavirus-related, federal government stimulus aid for towns and cities. The NLC projects municipalities will experience $134 billion in revenue losses this year, and $360 billion in losses over three years. Unlike the federal government, municipalities must balance their budgets annually, so without federal aid, those losses will mean steep cuts in local services and school spending, higher property taxes – or both.
05/14/2020 - Gov. Mills Extends Emergency Declaration
Gov. Janet Mills on Wednesday signed a proclamation extending Maine’s state of civil emergency for 30 more days through June 11, 2020. This will be Gov. Mills’ second extension of the State of Civil Emergency. A big reason for doing this is so the state can continue to receive federal funds for its efforts to combat the coronavirus outbreak. Mills’ office said that all 50 states have an ongoing state of emergency at this time.