June 11th Elections
On Tuesday, June 11th there will be a Primary Election to select candidates to represent their respective political parties in the General elections scheduled for November. The election will also include two State referendum questions dealing with bond issues as well as the annual budget for School Administrative District #46. Election voting polls will be set up in the Town Council Chambers located in the Morrison Building on Main Street. Polls will be open from 9:00AM until 8:00PM. Sample ballots may be viewed at the Town Office. If you have questions concerning the June 11th election, please contact Shelley Watson, the Registrar of Voters, at 924-7351.
Dexter Utility District Summer Work
In 2001 the Dexter Utility District began a major project to replace many of the Town’s aging water lines. Once upgrades to the water system have been completed, users will experience a notable increase in water flow rates. This project is scheduled to be completed during the Summer of 2002 at a cost of more than $1.7 million. The majority of funds required to undertake the project are derived from Federal grants.
During the process of replacing lines and drains there will frequently be a number of streets that will be torn up and occasionally we will have to divert traffic. There will also be times when the present water supply will be degraded or intirely disrupted. Please be assured that the Utility District and Contracor will work as quickly as possible to restore any water outages.
To help keep you better informed about the status of our construction work, we have arranged with the Town Office to have updates and site construction schedules posted on the Town of Dexter web site (www.dextermaine.org). We appreciate your continued patience while we undertake efforts to upgrade the Town water system. If you have any questions please contact the Dexter Utility District at 924-7367. Our office is located in the Morrison Building on Main Street, and we are open Monday thru Friday from 9:00AM to Noon and 1:00PM to 5:00PM.
Dial 9-1-1 for Emergency Service
If you require police, fire, or ambulance service to respond to an emergency you should Dial 9-1-1. The appropriate public safety agency will be dispatched through the Penobscot Regional Dispatch Center in Bangor. Unfortunately, many residents continue to call the old emergency numbers for police, fire, and ambulance. Currently, if the old numbers are used, the caller will receive a taped message which directs them to hang up and dial 9-1-1. We have kept the old emergency lines active since going to 9-1-1 in August of 2001; however, retention of those lines has become very costly. Therefore, on or about July 1, 2002 the old emergency numbers for fire (924-7321), ambulance (924-7315), and police (924-7322) will be permanently disconnected. If you wish to contact the Dexter Police Department on non-emergency matters, you may call 924-7622 during normal operating hours.
New Road Ordinance
The Dexter Town Council recently adopted a new Municipal Road Ordinance. In addition to providing plenty of information about Town roads, their status, and details on maintenance, the ordinance also establishes a requirement for a special permit when new driveways are constructed that access Town roads or new culverts are installed in the Town Right-of-Way. A permit will also be required when road “openings” are created by other than the Town’s Public Works Department. If you anticipate doing any projects that would fall into these categories you should stop by the Town Office and take a look at the new ordinance. There is no fee for the permits; however, there is a substantial fine for failure to acquire the necessary permits.
Give Your Business a Boost!
The front windows of the Town Council Chambers in the Morrison Building are frequently used for seasonal displays and special events. However, we now offer local small businesses, as well as artists and crafters, the opportunity to use the Main Street windows to promote their products and services. Generally, one of the windows can be used for an entire month by an individual or business to display their products and wares. If you’d like to take advantage of this FREE service, contact the Town Office.
Prohibited Diving and Swimming Areas
As we approach the summer season it’s important to point out that there are several public areas on Lake Wassookeag where swimming and diving are prohibited. One of the most visible and dangerous locations is the bridge over the causeway separating Little Wassookeag from the big lake. Because we’ve had several injuries at the location, the Town Council has elected to prohibit diving from the bridge or swimming in the immediate area. Also restricted from swimming is the shoreline adjacent to Ronco Park
and the area in the vicinity of the public boat launch on Little
Wassookeag Lake. There is a substantial fine for violating these restrictions.
For a number of years now the Town of Dexter has provided
public campgrounds at the recreation area on Lake Wassookeag.
The camping area offically opens on Memorial Day weekend and stays open through Labor Day. There are only a limited number of sites and they are available on a “first come, first serve” basis. The fee for camping is $10 per night. State law requires that certain facilities be provided at a camping area in order to meet compliance standards. In the past we’ve been able to meet the requirements by keeping the Public Beach House
open on a 24-hour basis. Unfortunately, over the last several years, we’ve experienced a dramatic increase in vandalism at the site. This has been costly to the Town and raised the issue of whether or not the community can continue to offer camping facilitities at this location. We solicit everyone’s help in aiding us in our effort to keep the public camping area open; however, abuse and vandalism issues continue to present a real problem and may jeapordize the future of the campground.
Reminder’s From the Animal Control Officer
Our Animal Control Officer has asked that we remind pet owners about some of the issues that continue to surface regarding the care of domestic animals. Obviously one of our big concerns is the spread of rabies. Dogs as well as cats are required to have rabies vaccinations. Proof of the vaccination should be displayed on thier collar, along with other information about the pet. Unfortunately, many pet owners neglect this responsiblity and don’t immunize their animals or register and tag their dogs as required by Maine law. Another concern voiced by the Animal Control Officer is the number of pets she encounters that are not being adequately fed, watered, or housed. These animals depend on their owners for their welfare. If a situation occurs where abuse or neglect of an animal is apparent, it could be viewed as a violation of the law and subject to severe penalty. The Dexter Animal Control Officer is Kathy Ricker. She can be reached at 924-7513.
The Town of Dexter offers a "standing reward" for information leading to the apprehension of individuals responsible for the vandalism or theft of public property. If you have information that could aid in resolving any such incident you are encouraged to contact the Dexter Police Department at 924-7622.
Annual Fireworks Display
On Friday evening, July 5th the Town of Dexter will hold its annual summer fireworks display. Fireworks can be observed from several locations in Town, including the athletic field at the Dexter Regional High School and the Public Recreation Area off Route 23. Fireworks are scheduled to begin about 9:30 PM. We hope you enjoy this year’s show.
Municipal Budget Workshops
During late May and early June the Dexter Town Council will hold a number of budget workshops as part of their reveiw process of the proposed FY2003 Municipal Budget. Once the series of workshops are concluded the Town Council will hold a public hearing prior to adopting the final budget. The workshop schedule is available in the Town Office. Workshop sessions are open to the public and are held in the Town Council Chambers. For more information contact the Dexter Town Office at 924-7351.
Memorial Day Parade
On Monday, May 27th the local chapter of the American Legion will hold their annual Memorial Day Parade. The parade will begin at 10:00AM at the municipal parking lot behind the Bangor Savings Bank and proceed up Main Street to the intersection of Church Street where it will turn left and proceed to the new Veteran’s Memorial Park at the corner of Dam and Church Streets. After a brief ceremony at the park, the parade will resume down Grove Street and return to the municipal parking lot.
Dexter Municipal Golf Course
A new season has just begun at the Dexter Municipal Golf Course. The nine-hole public course also features a pro shop, snack bar, and driving range. For information about membership or course operations call Gary Rees at 924-6477.
2001 Annual Town Report
The 2001 Town Report is available at the Town Office. The report is filled with great information and details about Dexter. If you’re a Dexter resident its a “must have” publication. Best of all.....it’s free! Come by the Town Office and pick up your copy.
Public Safety Advisory Committee
The Dexter Town Council recently directed the creation of an ad hoc committee to take a look at structure, manning, and funding of all of Dexter’s Public Safety organizations. The group, which is composed of Dexter residents, has begun its review process and has been tasked to provide a report to the Council within four months. The committee’s findings and recommendations will be considered by the Town Council in any future changes to Dexter’s public safety organizations. The Public Safety Advisory Committee usually meets on the first and third Wednesday of each month at 7:00 PM. Meetings are open to the Public. For more information contact the Dexter Town Manager at 924-7351.
Planning To Have A Yard Sale?
If you’re planning on having a yard sale this summer, please remember that a permit is required. Permits can be issued for a single sale date or for an entire year. Additionally, yard sales are restricted to opertation between the hours of 8:00AM and 7:00PM. Permits cost $2.00 for single dates or $5.00 for an annual permit. For more information contact one of the Town Clerks at 924-7351. If you put up signs on public streets to advertise your yard sale......please remember to remove them when you’re finished.
Comments from the Assessor
Although the Tax Mill Rate for the new fiscsl year will not be set until the school budget has been adopted at the June elections, and the Town Council finalizes their budget, there are a number of developments that give me reason to be concerned that we will be forced to raise the tax rates this year.
First, in spite of our efforts to persuade state government otherwise, Augusta has determined that the total valuation of the Town of Dexter has increased for the coming fiscal year, and that residents should be able to contribute more to funding schools, roads, county taxes, and all such obligations. The reality is our tax base will be shrinking by an estimated $3 million due to the removal of machinery from Dexter Shoe and the correlated loss of real estate value.
Second, with last year’s mill rate of 20.7, each million dollars loss in valuation means a loss of revenue of $20,700. So, we would be starting out with a budget that would need to be cut by $62,100 just to hold the mill rate constant. Adding to the dilema is the fact that the State has signifcantly reduced it’s level of revenue sharing to communities, causing another dramatic negative impact on our local revenue situation.
Finally, Penobscot County has raised its demands on Dexter by about $3,400, and the proposed SAD #46 budget includes a line-item Local Option of $298,574 to raise money beyond what the state is providing and what the funding formula requires from property tax. The net change in the SAD #46 budget will mean an increase of $33,000 to Dexter tax payers.
So, before the municipal budget even comes before the Town Council, there is about a $138,000 hurdle to clear if the mill rate is to stay level. We can’t do anything about what the State and County have passed,. If the school budget Local Option is approved, the Town Council will be left with the hardest choices they’ve confronted in recent memory.
Covered Bridge Project
This summer a project will be undertaken to construct a covered bridge across the Mill Stream connecting the Museum complex and the Mill Side Park. The project is part of an effort by Kyle Wilson to attain his Eagle Scout rating. The cost of the project is being funded entirely from donations. If your group or organization would like to help fund this worthy project, please contact the Town Manager.
Reminder from the Tax Collector
The Legislature recently set the maximum interest rate for delinquent taxes committed during calendar year 2002 at 8.75%. Taxpayers should be aware that State Law requires that Town Reports include the names of individuals who do not pay their propery taxes. If your taxes are not paid by June 30th your name will appear in the 2002 Dexter Annual Report.