(from the
March 2007 Maine Townsman)

Bridgton: By a single vote at the February 12 special town meeting, voters rejected a tax increment financing (TIF) district aimed at improving a two-mile stretch of Route 302. The vote was 25-24, with opponents concerned the improvements would only make the road faster – and more dangerous – to travel and encourage more growth along a road already well-developed.

Cape Elizabeth: Town officials are considering a $2.25 million bond to finance myriad projects, including $400,000 in sidewalk improvements and $540,000 for drainage upgrades. Town Manager Michael McGovern said the town would retire more debt this year than is proposed under the new package.

China: Annual town meeting voters in April will be asked whether they want to run all municipal vehicles on biodeisel.

Bangor: The state’s third-largest city is poised to house its third methadone clinic, as early as this spring.

Bath: Town officials were praised in February for swiftly alerting neighbors of emission problems at the city landfill. The city is moving to correct the problem with a gas mitigation system, which should be installed this summer. Bath also becomes one of the newest Maine communities considering a ban on wood boilers, despite an agreement between the federal Environmental Protection Agency and manufacturers of the outdoor furnaces, as well as pending legislation before the Maine Legislature. Falmouth is another town considering the issue.

Biddeford : The city council is thinking about creating a facilities department and hiring a director to oversee the day-to-day and long-term needs of municipal and school facilities.

Bucksport: The town has secured a purchase and sale agreement on a prime parcel of downtown land on the water as a key part of its downtown revitalization efforts. The town bought the three-unit apartment building and land for $120,000.

Dresden: Special town meeting voters in mid-February rejected a bond request to finance construction of a new firehouse. Townspeople also put the kabosh to a proposed real estate deal worth $108,000 for two acres of land on which to build the new facility. The votes on both requests were 42-33 against. Voters cited the timing of the project and the alleged lack of definite plans as reasons for turning down the project.

Frenchville: Hoping to cover cost overruns without going to taxpayers, the directors of the Northern Aroostook Regional Incinerator Facility agreed to start imposing fees on materials, such as tires, televisions and computers, demolition debris and fluorescent bulbs, among others. The agency ran over budget last year by $63,000.

Kennebunk: The Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Wells Water District has earned The Excellence in Operations Award from the Maine Water Utilities Association, in its first year of competing. The award recognizes the tri-town district’s compliance with federal and state laws, continuous improvement in water quality, and public education and research efforts. Also, Don Gobiel, a 25-year department veteran, received the Sid Anthony Award from the association, the highest honor bestowed by MWUA.

Newcastle: There were no official candidates for three open municipal positions on the 2007 annual town meeting warrant, including one each on the board of selectmen and regional school board. Voters were asked to write-in their selections.

Rockland: The city has won a $100,000 Community Development Block Grant to finance interior and exterior improvements to the Community Recreation Building under the CDBG’s historic preservation program.

Rockport: In the latest example of collaboration among municipal governments in Maine, the directors of Midcoast Solid Waste Corp. and Tri-County Solid Waste have voted to proceed with building a regional construction demolition and debris recycling facility in Union to serve the 10 small communities that comprise the two solid waste groups. Selectmen in all 10 municipalities must vote to support the project, estimated to cost about $500,000. Only Camden’s two representatives on the Midcoast Solid Waste board rejected the idea in late January. The new recycling center would operate on fees and not property taxes.

South Bristol: Selectmen decided to spend a little of the town’s inheritance to keep a lid on property taxes in 2008. The board voted in early February to take $500,000 to $600,000 from the $9.5 million Ann Wilder Stratton gift and “plow it back into the budget for tax relief,” according to the board chairman. Voters must approve.

Winslow: Town and school officials are toying with the idea of merging town office and school space in a rehabilitated middle school. New Town Manager Michael Heavener also said the concept could lead to some internal consolidation and shared resources.

Yarmouth: Although one councilor last month wanted to talk about combining Yarmouth, Falmouth, Cumberland, North Yarmouth and Freeport – and maybe Chebeague Island – into one community, Freeport Town Manager Dale Olmstead said he’d be happy if the towns could agree on consolidating dispatch services.