Dover-Foxcroft selectmen set property tax rate at $17.65

Dover-Foxcroft Town Manager Jack Clukey
Dover-Foxcroft Town Manager Jack Clukey
Posted July 31, 2013, at 2:10 p.m.
Last modified July 31, 2013, at 9:22 p.m.

DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — The Board of Selectmen approved a mill rate of $17.65 for the 2013-14 fiscal year, during a July 29 meeting. The mill rate of $17.65 represents an increase of 50 cents from the previous year’s figure of $17.15.

“The numbers are in for the commitment,” Town Manager Jack Clukey said. “We had an increase in the school portion of the budget,” as Dover-Foxcroft’s portion of the RSU 68 spending plan rose by nearly $160,000 to approximately $2,546,000.

For a homeowner with an $80,000 property, the taxes on the parcel will increase $40 from $1,372 to $1,412 this year.

With a municipal appropriation of over $3,935,000, along with figures such as a little more than $403,000 for the county tax and more than $192,000 for overlay and $103,000 for the TIF financing plan, the total assessments equal about $7,179,000. The net assessment, after deductions, is nearly $5,289,000 for 2013-14.

Clukey said the town will receive $48,692 less from the state through revenue sharing programs. “That’s the bad news, the good news is we collected $53,000 more than we budgeted for,” he said. As a result the tax commitment for the 2014 fiscal year includes the use of an additional $50,000 from surplus to offset the reduction in municipal revenue sharing. Clukey said town officials should keep the reduced revenue figure of nearly $50,000 in mind as the next year’s budget is being developed.

In other business, the Board signed a resolution supporting the Northern Border Regional Commission Grant Program. Piscataquis County Economic Development Council Community Development Specialist Ken Woodbury “is applying for some funding for the Riverfront Redevelopment program,” Clukey said.

The application is seeking $200,000 in federal funds to refurbish the hydroelectric dam on the Piscataquis River by the former Moosehead Manufacturing site. The property is being redeveloped for multiple uses, and green energy sources are a component of the project.

“Next week they are going to tackle redoing the dump road — base and gravel,” Clukey said as public works crews will be working on the Landfill Road starting the first full week of August. He said the improvements to the travelway “will make it be better in the springtime and if we ever want to put a cover on it.”

“One of the challenges is we can’t do a section by closing one lane and letting traffic through,” Clukey said. As a result, during August sections of the Landfill Road will need to be closed with traffic directed to use either the Milo Road entrance or the entrance at the intersection with Essex Street. The detour will apply to all traffic, including trucks which will be permitted to be driven on Essex Street with weight restrictions being lifted during the project.

“The goal is to get this done as soon as possible with as minimal disruption as possible,” Clukey said.

The town manager informed the Board he received a letter from the Maine Department of Transportation that the agency is looking to pave 3.4 miles of road on Route 15 toward Bangor. Clukey said no date has been set, but the work will continue from where recent paving was finished by the Charlotte White Center.

Clukey said an audience of about 60 attended a public forum the week before at the Center Theatre to hear from developer Jonathan Arnold on the Riverfront Redevelopment. Those in attendance learned the anticipated time frame for having the construction phase done is September 2014.

Nearly two weeks before the selectmen’s July monthly meeting was a ribbon cutting for the new park at the former Browns Mill site. Clukey said a crowd of about 40 was down at the new green space off Vaughn Street. Town officials are looking at a formal name for the park, with suggestions taken at the ceremony and a drop-off box for names currently located at the town office. Clukey said this could be an item on the Aug. 26 agenda.

At the start of the meeting resident Lisa Laser asked some questions leading to a discussion on the east-west corridor. Laser said she spoke with the board about a year prior “and one thing that has happened is we still don’t have any information on where this corridor is going.” Laser said other communities in the region have enacted moratoriums, which “leaves me very concerned with Mr. Vigue’s comment the village of Dover-Foxcroft is off limits.”

Laser said across the country pipelines and gas wells are being built, and she said corporations are using the threat of lengthy and expensive court battles over eminent domain to get landowners to sell their properties.

Select Chair Elwood Edgerly said he has been reading emails from the Maine Municipal Association, or MMA, on legislation related to the east-west corridor. “I still think nobody knows a whole lot yet,” he said.

“Some of us have taken a position because there’s so much unknown, it may be wise to protect ourselves,” board member Gail D’Agostino said.

Select member Scott Taylor said moratoriums have time limits, and can only be renewed once, so “if you jump in early, you are done.”

Clukey, mentioning a list of questions and answers related to the corridor is on the town website at www.dover-foxcroft.org, said MMA is planning a workshop for municipal officials in October in Augusta. The meeting will not take a position on the corridor, but will help town officials be able to better handle actions related to the issue (a similar meeting was conducted for wind farms which informed attendees what they were able to and not able to do).

“A moratorium is a tool used by the planning board to indicate to town officials more time is needed for a land use ordinance issue,” Clukey said. He said a moratorium could provide time to develop a meaningful policy for the town, and the October meeting in Augusta should provide assistance for this process. Clukey also said a more localized meeting with towns from the region could be held after the Augusta session.

“Today’s land use ordinances are not our grandparents’,” Laser said. She mentioned how Sangerville is in the process of updating its ordinances to be able to better address challenges posed by the east-west corridor.

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