By Diana Bowley, Of the NEWS Staff - DEXTER - The state did little to lower the town's valuation despite Dexter Shoe Co.'s decision to cease its manufacturing process here in 2001.The town has filed a petition to the state asking for consideration for a sudden and severe economic loss, which must be acted upon by the State Board of Property Tax Review by Jan. 31.
Town officials also will decide in the next few days whether to appeal the state valuation, an appeal that must be filed by Dec. 21. The Town Council on Thursday signed documents to begin that process.
The state valuation this year has been set $127,250,000 for Dexter, a decrease of $350,000 from last year's valuation of $127,600,000.
"I'm not happy about that," Dave Pearson, Dexter's tax assessor, told the council Thursday. Pearson said the state was aware of the town's loss before it calculated the valuations. He said he figures the town lost $2.5 million in valuation in 2002-2003 with the removal of some of the company's equipment. He anticipates an even greater loss next year.
In other business Thursday, the council directed Town Manager Robert Simpson to solicit proposals from Mayo Regional Hospital in Dover-Foxcroft and Sebasticook Valley Hospital in Pittsfield for the operation of the town's ambulance service. Town officials want to determine if it is cost-effective to continue to fund the service or to contract with a local hospital to supply the training and manpower. This investigation was one recommended by the Ad Hoc Public Safety Committee based on a lack of volunteers.
Will Hesketh, ambulance service chief, said he felt the local crew could pull the department together if its members could get strong direction and an increase in pay.
He said there are 10 licensed EMTs on staff with two more to be added soon.
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