09/13/2017 - Marijuana Legislative Update, Public Hearing
MMA’s State & Federal Relations Department is updating members on LR 2395, An Act to Amend the Marijuana Legalization Act, and is surveying members about various aspects of the bill. Furthermore, the bill is scheduled for a legislative hearing on Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 9 a.m. in the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee Room at the State House in Augusta. The SFR Department offers guidance on how to submit written comments and/or participate at the hearing.
09/12/2017 - Cyber Security Summit
Several federal, state and regional agencies are teaming up to present the 2017 Partnership in Cyber Security Summit on Oct. 10 at the University of Southern Maine’s Abramson Center. The summit’s goal is to discuss security threats that face the region and address possible solutions. U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King will serve as honorary hosts.
09/06/2017 - All America City Designation
The National Civic League is once again encouraging Maine municipalities to apply to become an All-America City. Each year, the league selects 10 communities for designation. Since 1949, 500 communities have been so recognized, including five from Maine.
09/05/2017 - Upcoming Public Hearing On Marijuana Legislation
For months, the Legislature’s Joint Select Committee on Marijuana Legalization Implementation has worked on a comprehensive bill to update the Marijuana Legalization Act approved by Maine voters and formally enacted into law earlier this year. This updated legislation will provide parameters regarding the legal cultivation, processing and sale of marijuana to adults over 21. Those activities are slated to be licensed by the state starting Feb. 1, 2018, and subject to municipal approval. A public hearing on the bill is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 26. The bill itself as well as information regarding the timing and location of the hearing is expected to be made public in the near future. MMA will update members with that information.
08/28/2017 - MMA Fiscal Survey Due Nov. 9
MMA’s annual Local Government Finance Survey should arrive in your mailbox any day. This survey endeavor consolidates into one effort requests from MMA and the U.S. Census Bureau to obtain important financial information about your community. The latest survey is called the “2016” survey because it requests data for the budget year ending Dec. 31, 2015 for municipalities operating on a calendar year, or June 30, 2016 for municipalities on a fiscal year schedule. The information gathered in this survey is beneficial for federal, state and local government officials, as it is used to generate reports such as the U.S. Census Bureau’s State and Local Government Finance Report and MMA’s Fiscal Survey Report.
08/21/2017 - Tree Growth Program Gets Hard Look
The Maine Forest Service is offering to assist municipalities that want to thoroughly examine properties whose owners file for tax relief under Maine’s Tree Growth Tax Law, but may have non-compliant forest management plans. The service also suggests municipal officials attend Maine Municipal Association’s 2017 Convention (Oct. 4-5, Augusta Civic Center), where findings regarding this program will be shared.
08/18/2017 - Flood Resilience Checklist
The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry and the Maine Coastal Program have developed a 46-page “checklist” for coastal communities that are prone to experiencing flooding. The checklist is designed to help communities evaluate their flood risks and to increase resilience. Maine has 5,300 miles of coastline. Increased weather volatility and rising sea levels have pushed this issue to the forefront.
08/14/2017 - Bureau of Motor Vehicles: Webinars & Workshops
Starting in September, the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles will offer municipalities on-site visits and webinar training. Classes are limited to 25 attendees and include a toll-free phone line that will enable participants to view the materials being presented, in addition to having the ability to chat with a training specialist. The workshops provide an opportunity to learn about the laws, registration and title updates, and changes that may affect daily processing at the municipal level. Read More..
08/04/2017 - Building and Retaining Employee Talent
The Maine Development Foundation, Maine Philanthropy Center and Maine Workforce & Education Coalition will host a one-day conference on employee recruitment and retention on Sept. 28 at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. The event also recognizes Maine-based efforts along these lines.
08/02/2017 - MMA Files Friend of Court Brief
Maine Municipal Association’s Legal Services Department last week filed a “friend of the court” brief with Maine’s Supreme Judicial Court in Town of Eddington, et al. v. Emera Maine, a property tax abatement case that should be of interest to all municipalities. The appeal involves high voltage transmission lines in the Towns of Bradley and Eddington that were assessed to Emera Maine as a result of a reporting error by Emera staff. The State Board of Property Tax Review granted Emera an abatement on the theory that the error created an “illegality” appealable within three years of the date the tax was committed. On appeal, the towns and MMA argue that under established law the error was instead an “overvaluation” issue, for which an abatement may only be sought within 185 days of tax commitment. MMA argued, on behalf of municipalities, that the state board’s interpretation of the law was incorrect and Emera is not entitled to an abatement. MMA also discussed the administrative burdens and fiscal impact on municipal budgets if the state board’s decision is upheld. A decision is not expected for several months.