If you recall, last year we put out the first edition of the Town Newsletter; however, that was our only publication in 1998 due to budget constraints. This year we have the newsletter funded for four editions, beginning in September. We've undertaken this project in an effort to help enhance public awareness, increase interest in local activities, and serve as an outreach mechanism to provide information and updates on both municipal activities and functions sponsored by local service organizations. In order for this effort to truly be successful we need inputs from the public. If you would like to contribute an article to the next newsletter, or help in the editing and publication process, please stop by the Town Office and see the Town Manager.
November Elections & Referendum
Tuesday, November 2nd is the date for 1999 state and local elections. In addition to electing local officials, voters will have the opportunity to cast ballots on a number of state referendum items as well as two local referendum questions. As a result of citizen petition action there will be a local referendum question pertaining to the adoption of a Dexter Land Use Ordinance and voters will also be asked if they will approve the creation of a Charter Commission to conduct a review of the Dexter Town Charter for possible revision. Polls will be open at the Dexter Reserve Center from 9:00 AM until 8:00 PM. If you're not registered to vote please come by the Town Office and complete the simple process, and you can even register at the polls. Remember to exercise your privilege to vote....your vote counts!
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 but only the voter can designate a 3rd person to deliver a ballot and must be through a written request. There are a number of special requirements associated with voting via absentee ballot
and those can be best explained by our Town Clerk/Registrar of
Voters. If you have questions concerning absentee voting please call or stop by the Town Office.
Candidates for Local Offices
A number of municipal and school district positions will be filled during the upcoming November election. For Town Council we have two seats vacant, for Charter Commission we have six seats available, for Utility District three vacancies, for the Hospital Administrative District two positions, and five seats on the School District Board of Directors. If you're interested in being a candidate for any of these positions you must file the necessary papers with the Town Clerk no later than 5:00 PM on
Friday, September 17, 1999. Not less than 25 signatures and no more than 100 signatures are required for each candidate to be nominated.
Notes From the Tax Collector
This year's municipal property taxes are based on 20.5 mils, a rate which remains the same as last year. This equates to $20.50 of property tax on each $1000 for which your property is valued for assessment purposes. For example, if you have property that we have assessed at a value of $100,000, you are paying about $2,050 in property taxes for the fiscal year 1999-2000.
Property tax liens must be placed within 12 months from the date of commitment. Liens which have not been paid within an 18-month period are subject to foreclosure by the Town. Notices on property with unpaid 1997-98 property taxes will be sent out by January 12, 2000. Once foreclosure notices are sent, property owners are given 30-days to pay all 1997-98 taxes including interest and administrative costs. If not paid within the required time the Town will proceed with foreclosure. In order to reacquire the property, the owner must receive the consent of the Town Council, and pay all back taxes and costs of processing a Quit Claim Deed. Property acquired by Town foreclosure will be disposed of by Council action.
Taxpayers are reminded that 1999-2000 property taxes are due by November 30th.
Boat Launch, Beach & Campgrounds
During September the Town will be working in cooperation with the Maine Department of Conservation to construct a new public boat launch at the Town Recreation Area on Little Lake Wassookeag. In addition to the launch site there will be a dock adjacent to the concrete launch ramp and a new entry road.
Additionally, we'll be doing some work on the Town Beach to reshape and restore some of the site, and reconfiguring the campground arrangement. Due to the planned construction,
the camp area will be closed shortly after Labor Day.
Fire Department's Jaws of Life
After a lengthy effort to raise enough money to purchase a
Hurst "Jaws of Life" Rescue System, the Dexter Fire Department was recently able to acquire the new equipment thanks to generous contributions by the local chapters of the American Legion and VFW. The Fire Department would like to extend a sincere note of gratitude to all of the individuals and groups that contributed to this effort. The new equipment has already been successfully used in several life threatening situations. Thank you for supporting your local fire fighters.
Charter Commission....What's That?
The current Dexter Town Charter was adopted in January 1975, and although it may have been an excellent document at inception, it's now in serious need of revision. Recognizing this need, the Town Council recently took the initial steps down the path required in order to undertake the revision process. State law requires that revisions to municipal charters be conducted through a review process conducted by a local Charter Commission. Recommendations presented by the Commission must be ultimately approved by vote of the general public. The law further specifies that such commissions will be composed of nine members, three of whom are appointed by the Town Council and the remaining six elected by Town voters. Once formed, the Commission will have at least one year to review the Charter and provide a final report to the Council. The Council has the authority to extend this period an additional year. In November, voters will be asked to take two actions concerning the Charter Commission. First, they will be asked to approve the formation of the Commission, and second they will be requested to elect six members to sit on the Commission. During the course of the following year the Commission will review the current Charter and become very familiar with the accompanying Code of Ordinances. The ultimate goal is to remove inconsistencies, clearly define responsibilities, and improve compatibility between the Charter and Codes. If you are interested in participating in this very important process, please contact the Town Clerk for details concerning candidacy.
1999 Annual Town Report
Very soon we'll begin the process of assembling the Town's Annual Report. In past years the Report focused only on municipal operations; however, we feel the document is very important to the community from a historical perspective. We are seeking to expand the Report to include activities relating
to the Town's public service and professional organizations.
If your group or organization is interested in being included in the Dexter Annual Report please contact the Town Manager.
Upcoming Parks & Recreation Programs
We're currently preparing for our new Fall youth sports activities, and as we progress further into the year there'll be announcements about our Winter Basketball program as well as a variety of other winter programs. As registration time gets close we'll make certain that there's plenty of notification through the local newspaper and schools. Remember, the fee for each program is generally $10. If you have any questions about our recreation programs please contact Gary Sinclair, our Recreation Director, at 924-7351. There's a handy booklet available at the Town Office which briefly describes many of our programs.
Dexter Ambulance Service Update
Dexter's Ambulance Service recently underwent a change
relating to the way ambulance billing is handled. The Town recently contracted with a private billing agency to manage the bulk of billing responsibilities. This move will hopefully increase the Town's efficiency in collections and improve revenues. Our service now has a new Chief, Mel Thurlow, who assumed the leadership responsibility with the departure of Ed Walker earlier in the year. The service will soon retire its 1985 ambulance and take delivery of a new vehicle, which should notably improve our capability.
Dexter on the World Wide Web
If you have access to the internet check out Dexter's Web Page. We've had a Web Site for over a year now, and we're very excited about the new communication opportunities it provides. We offer a wide variety of information dealing with everything from municipal activities and school functions to a list of local businesses. The Web Page address is www.dextermaine.org.
As part of our economic development initiative we've funded
the development and publication of a brochure which will favorably depict Dexter. Work on the brochure has already begun; however, we're looking for photos that would send a positive message about Dexter to anyone interested visiting or establishing a business in the community. If you would like to contribute photos to this effort please contact the Town Manager.
Municipal Plan for Dealing with the Y2K Bug
As most of you are already aware, as the clock strikes midnight on December 31st we may all begin to experience some problems associated with the millennium and the inability of many computer systems and related programs to deal with the date change from 99 to 00. The exact extent that this problem will impact the world community is unknown; however, many businesses and government agencies have taken action to preclude a crisis occurring. In Dexter we've upgraded our municipal data management system and are in the process of addressing the problem on most of the municipal PC systems that support a variety of day-to-day operations. Our other concern is our ability to deal with any crisis situation that may develop as a result of possible breakdowns in the ability to provide basic services. During the last several months we've been attempting to address some of the problems that could occur as a result of the "millennium crisis", and have put together a plan to cope with a variety of situations. Later we'll be publishing some information that may be helpful to residents in the event we encounter problems on January 1st. We also plan to hold at least one informational meeting on the matter. We're hopeful that we'll pass into the new millennium without incident, but we should all be prepared in the event problems arise. It may be an interesting New Year's Eve!
Town Council Meetings
The Dexter Town Council meets on the second Thursday of each month at 7:00 PM in the Council Chambers. The public is always welcome to attend Council Meetings and it's an excellent way to better understand what's happening in the community. If you wish to place an item on the agenda for discussion please provide your input to the Town Manager by the close of business on Wednesday the week prior to the scheduled meeting. If you have an issue or concern that you feel is important to bring to the attention of the municipal leadership, this is the forum you should consider. For details and particulars please contact the Town Manager.
Elm Tree Project
Thanks to the efforts of members of the Dexter Conservation
Commission and help from the Dexter Sunrise Kiwanis, over 100 young Elm trees have recently been planted. This program was initiated last year by the Kiwanis Club in an effort to bring the Elm back to Dexter. As part of that initiative the Town purchased 100 trees for planting at selected sites around the community. We'd like to extend a thanks to those individuals, groups, and organizations that responded to our request to plant trees on their property. Hopefully, with a little care and attention, the young Elm trees will help restore some of the beauty and character to the Town that was lost when Dutch Elm Disease took its toll earlier in the century.
Land-Use Plan Revisited
Earlier this year a number of Town residents formed a group named the "Committee for Town Progress". The group filed a petition with the Town Council requesting approval of a local
Land-Use Ordinance which mirrors the ordinance that was previously approved by the Council, but later repealed in the
November 1998 referendum. The Town Council elected to send the issue to referendum in November in the form of a question that will ask voters to vote "yes" or "no" on the adoption of a Land Use Ordinance for Dexter. We anticipate the Committee for Town Progress" will hold a public hearing on their proposal
sometime in the Fall.
Council Chamber Displays
The front windows of the Council Chambers in the Morrison Building are frequently used for seasonal displays; however, if your group or organization would like to create a display reflecting your activities, programs, or achievements, window space can be made available as the schedule permits. This opportunity is designed for non-profit and service organizations to enhance public awareness about community programs.