05/05/2021 - Municipal Best Practices for Disposal of Appliances
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which has been cracking down on scrap metal yards that improperly dispose of refrigerators and other appliances, has learned that many towns and cities are unaware of the best practices for household appliance disposal. If done improperly, refrigerators and air conditioners can release ozone-damaging refrigerants into the atmosphere. The EPA has provided three website links to help local government understand the disposal process better.
04/28/2021 - Bill to Restore Revenue Sharing (LD 328) Passes Senate
A bill to restore Municipal Revenue Sharing to its long-held rate of 5% of state income and sale tax revenues passed the state Senate today by a vote of 33-1. It had previously passed the House of Representatives by a similar margin. The next stop is the Legislative Appropriations Committee, for funding. MMA's State & Federal Relations team will keep you posted on the bill's progress. MMA thanks the municipal leaders who contacted their state legislators in support of LD 328.
04/28/2021 - DEP Invites Public Comment on Existing Water Quality Standards
The Maine Department of Environmental Protection conducts triennial reviews of water quality in the state, and has received proposals for updates. The agency encourages the public to weigh in, either via an online meeting (registration required) scheduled for May 21 or by submitting written comments electronically. This is an opportunity for municipal officials to do the same. Neal Goldberg, with MMA’s State & Federal Relations staff, will compile member input and submit it to the DEP on behalf of MMA, along with recommendations. Neal can be reached via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
04/28/2021 - State Revenue Situation Brightens Considerably
Maine’s nonpartisan Revenue Forecasting Committee is expected to forecast that the state will receive $461.9 million more revenue than forecast for the fiscal year that ends on June 30, 2021, beating not only estimates made during the COVID-19 pandemic but exceeding estimates made before the pandemic began. The Mills administration credits federal stimulus programs, careful state spending and resilient Maine businesses for the positive outlook.
04/26/2021 - Law Court upholds Old Town Property Tax Assessment
In a case of interest to all municipalities, Maine’s Supreme Judicial Court last week upheld the City of Old Town’s 2014 and 2015 property tax assessments of paper mill property. MMA Legal Services participated in the appeal as an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) in support of Old Town. The mill’s owner had appealed the city assessor’s property tax valuations, arguing that the price it paid for the mill at a bankruptcy sale after the statutory April 1 valuation date should determine the mill’s just value for property tax purposes. Had the court ruled against the city, the discretion of local assessors to value distressed commercial and industrial properties could have been significantly limited, with detrimental fiscal impacts on municipalities and other taxpayers.
04/21/2021 - MMA Executive Committee’s Four Newest Members
Municipal leaders from Bangor, Grand Isle, Waldoboro and Ludlow and Reed Plantation have joined the Maine Municipal Association’s 12-member Executive Committee, which steers the organization on operational and budgeting priorities. As is often the case, the four local officials bring varied and impressive backgrounds to their positions.
04/14/2021 - Cannabis Code Workshop
The Eastern States Building Officials Association will hold an all-day workshop on applying building codes to cannabis (marijuana) facilities, recognizing the trend of legalization happening in Maine and throughout the U.S. The April 22 course will help attendees understand how to apply building, fire, mechanical, plumbing, energy, and electrical code requirement to the different types of facilities and a checklist for plan review inspection.
04/13/2021 - EMS Workshops on Finance, Leadership Skills
Starting on May 6, the Maine Ambulance Association will begin a series of five workshops this year for EMS providers and municipal officials interested in EMS services dealing with a host of issues that confront people who run first-response departments and agencies. The workshops may also be of interest to other municipal managers and elected officials who want to learn more about this important field.
04/13/2021 - Lead Pipe Replacement: Small Municipalities
The Environmental Policy Innovation Center will host an online workshop this Thursday (April 15), from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. to help small municipalities understand the importance of replacing lead water service lines. The workshop will include information on programs, funding and resources available.
04/07/2021 - COVID-19 Guidance for Planning Boards, BOA
MMA’s Legal Services Department has issued guidance for local Planning Boards and Boards of Appeal regarding holding meetings and taking actions during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The document states that planning boards and boards of appeal are expected to keep meeting during these difficult times. Members with questions about the process are encouraged to contact our Legal Services team.