06/05/2020 - Secretary Dunlap Promotes Absentee Voting
Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap encourages Mainers to consider non-traditional voting options, including absentee voting, in advance of the July 14 and November 2020 elections. Given the precautions that people are urged to consider during the coronavirus pandemic, many Mainers who are used to voting in person are interested in voting absentee. Secretary Dunlap wants to assure Mainers that this is a safe, reliable way to vote.
06/03/2020 - Governor's Executive Order on Elections, Town Meetings
Gov. Janet Mills today issued a much-anticipated Executive Order addressing issues that arose when the June 2020 election was moved to July 14, due to the public health emergency. Among other things, the order keeps the 50-person cap in place for public gatherings, but gives municipal officers authority to hold secret ballot elections instead, if necessary.
06/03/2020 - Maine Law Enforcement Organizations Mourn Floyd Death
Four of Maine’s leading law enforcement entities – the Maine Chiefs of Police Association, Maine Sheriffs Association, Maine Prosecutors Association and Maine Department of Public Safety – issued a joint statement today mourning the “senseless and unjust death” of Minneapolis resident George Floyd, and condemning the police officers responsible for it. Their statement, in part, said: “There is no place for racism and police brutality in Maine or in our country.”
06/03/2020 - $5.5 Million Available for Wetland Conservation and Restoration
The Nature Conservancy is seeking initial proposals for a new round of competitive grants from the Maine Natural Resource Conservation Program, which it administers on behalf of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. More than $5.5 million will be available in 2020 for those seeking to restore and protect wetlands and significant wildlife habitat in Maine. Coastal wetland projects are strongly encouraged this year, as well as any wetland restoration and enhancement projects. Public agencies, municipalities, tribes, and non-profit conservation organizations are encouraged to submit a Letter of Intent. To be considered, letters of intent must be submitted online by 5 p.m., Tuesday, June 30, 2020.
06/02/2020 - NLC Toolkit for Safe Municipal Reopening
The National League of Cities has created a new series of guidelines, “Safely Reopening Municipal Facilities,” that is available for use. This toolkit touches on many aspects of municipal government, from reopening public buildings to parks and recreation programs to public transportation.
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.