June 8th Elections
Tuesday, June 8th is the date to mark on your calendar to cast your vote pertaining to the FY 2005 MSAD #46 School Budget and Bond Issue Questions as well as several important State Referendum Questions, one of which deals with property tax reform. This is a great opportunity to be a part of democracy in action. Don't just talk about voting and the issues….get out and cast a ballot! Town Office will be closed on Election day to allow our clerks to work at the polls.
Where Do I Vote?
Beginning with this year's June election we'll be setting up the polls at the Old Town Hall next to the Abbott Memorial Library. 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 8th election or voter registration please contact Shelley Watson at 924-7351.
Voting by Absentee Ballot
In the event you will be unable to get to the polls on election day, registered voters can vote via absentee ballot. In order to acquire an absentee ballot, the registered voter can visit the Town Office or request a ballot by phone or by mail. A third person can also pick up an absentee ballot for a registered voter; however, only the voter can designate a 3rd person to deliver a ballot and it must be done by a written request.
Summer Paving Program
This summer the Town plans to pave portions of three rural roads. Targeted for paving are the Charleston, Crockett , and Crawford roads. Additionally, the Maine Department of Transportation will be doing work on the Ripley Road as well as paving Route 7 from the Corinna Town line to the intersection of Free Street. We had hoped to be able to pave the downtown municipal parking lots this summer; however, limited funds will necessitate that we slip this project for another year.
Planning a Garage or Yard Sale?
If you're planning a garage or yard sale this summer please note that a permit is required. Permits cost $5 per event and individuals are allowed to have three sales per season. Residents are also reminded that if signs are put up that direct customers to your location they must be removed after the sale.
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 Communication Center in Bangor. If you wish to contact the Dexter Police on non-emergency matters, you may call 924-7622 Monday – Friday during normal operating hours.
Town Campgrounds and Bath House
As a result of costly long-term problems with vandalism and abuse of the bathhouse at the Town's Wassookeag Lake Recreation Area, the Town Council has elected to close the bathhouse. Consequently, because state law requires that sanitary facilities be made available for public campgrounds, we will no longer be able to keep the campground open. Portable toilets will be available at the site; however overnight camping will no longer be allowed.
The Town of Dexter will once again sponsor a fireworks display as part of the July 4th holiday weekend celebration. This year's fireworks will be held on Saturday night, July 3rd.
Universal Solid Waste Disposal
State and Federal laws now mandate that we must manage potentially hazardous unwanted waste items differently than we have in the past. These potentially hazardous items are now known as Universal Wastes because they are hazardous wastes generated by all of us in our homes and places of work. Special handling, storage, and disposal for items such as TVs, Computer Monitors, Florescent Bulbs, and devices containing Mercury have necessitated the implementation of a new user fee schedule that will impact both residents and businesses. A list of the new fee structure is available at the Town Office or the Transfer Station.
Illegal Roadside Dumping
We are experiencing an alarming increase in the level of trash, appliances, and furniture items being discarded on roadsides. Such action is irresponsible, unsightly, and costly to the Town. We urge residents to be vigilant for the illegal disposal of trash and other items along our roads and on private property. We intend to be aggressive in seeking out the responsible individuals and taking appropriate action to levy fines and seek restitution for damages. If you are suspect of who may be responsible for such actions please contact the Dexter Police Department at 924-7622.
Property Tax Relief – Coming or Going?
Maine has the distinction having one of the heaviest tax burdens on property owners. There is currently an array of proposals that would make changes in the property taxation system in Maine. Although the state legislature has been debating the matter for months (even years), they recently adjourned without taking any substantive action. However, a number of proposals have recently surfaced, five of which are "on the table" to be acted on either by state voters or the legislature during the coming months. The first on the list of proposals is the "Speaker's Bill", sponsored by House Speaker Colwell. It would replace the current Homestead Exemption program with an arrangement that would require individual homeowners to apply to the State for a reimbursement of the value of exemption. This proposal also expands the existing "circuit breaker" program, but will actually require an up-front increase in local property tax bills to support, and adds a layer of "paper shuffling" in Augusta as well as with the local tax payer. Second on the list is the "Governor's Bill" which increases state aid to education and eliminates the tax on business equipment. This proposal would be phased-in over a multi-year period. The "Governor's Bill" also places a cap on municipal spending and attempts to increase the level of contributions by municipalities for the maintenance of some state roads as well as for the support of general assistance programs. This proposal could actually serve to increase local property taxes while saving state government millions of dollars annually. Third on our tax initiative list is the "Republican Bill" which similarly caps municipal spending, but changes the property valuation formula so that local assessments are based on sale price. This bill would probably require a constitutional amendment to enable the valuation basis to be changed. Fourth in our line-up is the "Palesky Bill". This will be on the ballot in November in the form of a referendum question. This initiative caps the local mil rate at ten mils, and rolls the valuation basis for calculating the mil rate back to 1996. This is the most extreme of proposals, and though it sounds simple, would probably spawn endless litigation and undoubtedly would have a negative impact on the level of services and programs provided by municipalities. The fifth tax proposal, and one which will be on the June referendum ballot, is the former 1A, or "Maine Municipal Association Bill". This bill requires the state to fund 55% of education costs and 100% of special education costs. The law, as currently written, implies that the state will pay 55% of the cost of education but doesn't require the state to do so. This is the only bill that is likely to offer Maine property taxpayers immediate relief, but in doing so it shifts significant financial burden from the local level to the state. If adopted, it would likely impact state income and sales taxes.
Welcome Chief Roy!
After several months conducting a search for a new police chief to fill the vacancy left with the retirement of David Clukey, the Town Council has named Arthur Roy to head Dexter's Police Department. Chief Roy brings with him law enforcement experience from the local, state, and federal level, as well as security work in the private sector. He served 22 years with the Maine State Police and recently worked as the Training Coordinator for Transportation Security Agency's Bangor office. Chief Roy holds a degree in Public Administration as well as Associate of Science degrees in criminal justice, business management, and legal technology.
Concert In The Park
The Sebasticook Valley Community Band is slated to present two band concerts this summer at the Wayside Park. The first concert is scheduled for Tuesday, June 29th and a second evening concert will be held on Tuesday, July 27th. Both concerts will begin at 7:00PM and are free to all. We plan several enhancements to the park this summer that include the construction of a new bandstand gazebo, additional benches, area lighting, and access to electricity.
Give Your Business A Boost!
Did you know that the Town maintains a roster of local businesses and you can also post your business name and phone number on the Town's Web Site. We also offer use of the Town Council Chamber windows for month-long displays by small businesses, artists, or craftsmen. If you'd like to take advantage of these FREE services, contact the Town Office.
Town of Dexter Web Site
Check out the Town of Dexter Web site on the Internet at www.dextermaine.org. The site is a great source of information about the community, current events, and local business. Want to keep up to date on municipal affairs.....then this is “one stop shopping”, and it's “user friendly”!
Abbott Memorial Library Summer Programs
On the second Wednesday of each month, Dexter's Abbott Library offers the "inquiring minds" of the community a chance to meet with others and share in a discussion on a variety of topics. Join us when we explore and examine many of the questions and issues that have defeated greater minds than ours. This monthly event generally begins at about 6:00PM and refreshments are available. Look for advertisements about our guest speakers and sometimes controversial subjects.
On Wednesday, June 30th our summer reading program begins. Entitled "The Mirror of Maine: The Maine Community in Myth and Reality", the series is comprised of a five part program sponsored by the Maine Humanities Council. During the course of the program we will read five books by Maine authors that explore the values associated with community life in Maine and examine the question of whether or not these values continue to exist today. "A Maine Hamlet" by Lura Beam will be the first book in the series. Dave Richards of the Margaret Chase Smith Library will be the discussion leader for all five programs. Copies of all the books in the series will be available in the Abbott Library.
Wild West Weekend 2004
Wild West Weekend is scheduled for the weekend of July
30- August 1. This will be the 2nd year for the event and it
is going to be even bigger and better. The event is a jointly
sponsored by the Town, the Dexter Development Corporation, Dexter businesses, NCRC and Dexter's community of service organizations. For information contact Judy Wilbur Craig at 924-3067.
Property Tax Relief - Cont'd
Under existing law there are currently only three forms of relief available to property tax payers. One is a Veterans Exemption that amounts to $5,000 of value on the property.
Eligible individuals include veterans or widows of veterans who are 62 years of age as of April 1, 2004 and who served during a federally recognized period of war. It also applies to veterans who are 100% disabled by a service connected injury. The second type is the Homestead Exemption which allows up to $7,000 on the value of a primary residence of a Maine resident who has owned property in Maine for at least 12 months prior to April 1, 2004. The final form of property tax relief is the Circuit Breaker Program administered by the state. It reimburses a portion of the property tax payments for persons who are income-eligible.
All voters should become familiar with each of the tax
reform proposals. Inevitably the number of proposals will grow during the coming months and they all may seem appealing in one way or another; however, each has the potential for creating more problems that can be even more costly for the residents of rural Maine.
If you have questions concerning the existing property tax exemptions you're invited to contact the Town Tax Assessor.
Note: At "press time" we received confirmation that Gov. Baldacci has signed into law the tax reform proposal that we
dubbed as the "Governor's Bill". This will not preclude voters from having the opportunity to vote on other tax reform initiatives that will be on the ballot in June and November.
Municipal Services Directory
Town Office ~ 924-7351
Town Manager: Bob Simpson
Assessor: Dave Pearson
Tax Collector: Marilyn Curtis
Town Clerk: Shelley Watson
Human Services: Linda Clukey
Code Enforcement: Bill Murphy
Recreation ~ 924-3438
Director: Andy Conway
Facilities Maintenance ~ 924-3438
Manager: David Leighton
Police Department Non-Emergency ~ 924-7622
Police Chief: Arthur Roy
Fire Department Non-Emergency ~ 924-7301
Fire Chief: Melvin Wyman
Ambulance Non-Emergency ~ 924-6212
Abbott Memorial Library ~ 924-7292
Librarian: Elizabeth Breault
Public Works Department ~ 924-6257
Director: Mike Delaware
Water District ~ 924-7367
Director: Randy Webber
Superintendent of Schools ~ 924-5262
Superintendent: Lester Butler
Transfer Station ~ 924-3650
Manager: Jim Silverman
Municipal Golf Course ~ 924-6477
Manager: Jim Costedio
Animal Control Officer ~ 924-7513VOTE JUNE 8TH
ACO: Kathy Ricker