Municipal Bulletin Board
(from the June 2010 Maine Townsman)

PROPERTY TAX VIDEO

Searsport and Whitefield are among numerous municipalities already taking advantage of the Maine Municipal Association’s recently released Homeowner’s Guide to Property Tax in Maine video presentation.

The narrated presentation explains how property taxes are calculated and details the broad array of municipal services that property taxes fund. Some municipalities are showing it before Town Meeting. Others are posting it on their websites or are linking to the MMA site, where the presentation is hosted.

The presentation was produced by Jeri Holt and narrated by Carol Weigelt, both of whom work in the MMA’s Communication & Educational Services department. It is part of the MMA’s Citizen Education campaign, which is intended to make citizens more aware of the crucial role that municipal government plays in Maine and, perhaps, it will spur citizens to get more involved.

The slogan for the Citizen Education campaign is, “Local Government Begins with You.” The Web link to the property-tax presentation and the campaign is: http://www.memun.org/public/local_govt/ed/default.html. The property tax presentation also is available as a DVD. To receive one, please contact the Communication & Educational Services staff at: 1-800-452-8786.

PB/BOA WORKSHOP: MACHIAS

Becky Seel, an attorney with the MMA Legal Services staff, will lead a workshop for Local Planning Boards and Boards of Appeal in the Science Building at the University of Maine at Machias on June 24, from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The workshop is designed to introduce officials to legal rules governing decisions made by local planning boards and boards of appeal. It is primarily aimed at new or less experienced board members but long-time members also may find the refresher to be helpful.

Among the topics to be covered: jurisdictional issues; conflicts of interest; public-notice requirements; site visits; use of e-mail; and, procedures used for reaching decisions.

The cost for MMA members is $40 and non-members will be charged $60. To register, please see the MMA website or call the Educational Services team at 1-800-452-8786.

MUNICIPAL LAW FOR CLERKS

MMA Staff Attorney Kristin Collins and Portland City Clerk Linda Cohen will present an all-day class on municipal law at the Waterville Elks Banquet & Conference Center on July 14. The workshop is sponsored by the Maine Town & City Clerks’ Association. Registration starts at 8:30 a.m. The class is scheduled to end at 3:30 p.m.

The workshop is designed to strengthen clerks’ knowledge in major subject areas. Both veteran and new clerks will benefit from a wide-ranging discussion period and an examination of statutory changes and modifications of state agency rules.

Among the topics to be covered: basics of the clerk position; the state Freedom of Access Law; license issuance; and, basic vital statistics.

The cost is $50 for MTCCA members and $60 for non-members. Participants are strongly encouraged to bring copies of the MMA Municipal Clerk’s Manual with them to this workshop. For more information, or to register online, please visit the MMA website at www.memun.org.

VITAL STATISTICS: HOULTON

The Maine Town & City Clerks Association also will sponsor a workshop on Vital Statistics at Shiretown Inn and Suites in Houlton, on Aug. 23. Registration for the workshop begins at 8:30 a.m. The workshop ends at 4 p.m.

Kathy Montejo, city clerk in Lewiston, and Patti Dubois, city clerk in Bangor, will co-present. Vital Statistics is a one-day overview of the law, rules and regulations concerning important documents such as birth certificates, marriage licenses and death certificates. The workshop is among four courses needed for MTCCA certification.

Among the topics to be covered are: a history of vital statistics in Maine; duties of the Municipal Clerk; the integrity of vital records; and, amending vital records. The cost is $50 for MTCCA members and $60 for non-members, which includes coffee, lunch and workshop materials.

Participants need to bring their Vital Records Manuals with them. If you need a manual, please call Office Services staff at 287-2558. If you have questions about the workshop or want to register by phone, please call the MMA Educational Services office at: 1-800-452-8786.

NEW CLERKS WORKSHOP

A workshop designed to familiarize newly elected and appointed municipal clerks with the position will be held at the MMA headquarters, 60 Community Dr. in Augusta, on August 24. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. Sponsored by the Maine Town & City Clerks’ Association, the course will conclude at 4 p.m.

The workshop will cover many topics, including: forms, procedures and duties; where to obtain clerk-specific information; dog licenses; marriage licenses; birth and death certificates; council/selectmen obligations and duties; and, elections. A question-and-answer period will follow the session.

The cost is $50 for MTCCA members and $60 for non-members. This program may be used as an optional course for MTCCA certification. Participants must attend the entire day to receive a certificate. Registration can be done online at: www.memun.org.