LINCOLN, Maine – It’s been a mild snow season so far, but with the Farmer’s Almanac predicting a long winter and federal and state officials calling for public assistance budget cuts, more residents than ever might need help paying their home heating bills, town Administrative Assistant Gilberte Mayo said Friday.
Mayo is seeking donations to the Town of Lincoln Heating Fuel Assistance Donation Fund. She said the program had already received $1,895 — a strong start but nowhere near the $6,163 expended helping 26 town families last winter.
“It’s a very good, respectable amount,” Mayo said. “We have had probably eight families apply for help already this winter. I think we’re probably going to see more families needing help than ever before. Probably we’re going to need maybe $8,000 to $10,000 this year.”
Since then-Town Manager Glenn Aho proposed and the Town Council approved the program in 2006, 98 local families have received home-heating aid, town records show. The busiest year was 2009, when 31 families received $7,470 in home heating donations through the program.
The donation fund program is designed to supplement federal and state heating assistance programs for Lincoln residents who do not qualify for other aid.
As of Monday, the average heating oil per-gallon price in Maine was $3.66, with a high of $3.85 and a low of $3.44, according to the weekly Governor’s Office of Energy Independence and Security survey at maine.gov. In northern Maine, the average price was $3.80 per gallon, with highs of $3.85 and lows of $3.75.
The average price on Jan. 3, 2011, statewide was $3.07 per gallon. The average northern Maine price was $3.19 per gallon.
Anyone interested in getting aid or making donations can see Mayo at the town office on Main Street. Donations can also be mailed to her care of the Town of Lincoln Heating Fuel Assistance Donation Fund, 63 Main St., 04457. All donations are tax-deductible.
Mayo mailed a letter to all of last year’s significant contributors late last month and is seeking grants or other aid from several charity foundations and other programs, she said.