Council opposes repeal of personal property tax

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MECHANIC FALLS – The Town Council has voted to support a resolution that opposes repeal of Maine’s personal property tax.

Town Manager Dana Lee urged the council to support the Maine Municipal Association’s position that L.D. 2056, which would increase property tax rates in all towns and cities in Maine whether or not personal property makes up much of the local tax base, should be defeated.

Lee noted that the law’s impact is uneven. The effect on Mechanic Falls is negligible compared with what would happen to Jay or Rumford’s tax base, and would be “just plain unfair,” he said.

“The shift onto residential is exactly what the public doesn’t want,” Lee said.

The council support for the resolution opposing repeal of Maine’s personal property tax was unanimous.

The council took no position on a Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights for Maine.

Members tabled action on Dwight Nichols’ offer to sell the town a 1988 bucket truck with generator for $5,500. Nichols said he made the offer upon learning that Public Works Department Foreman Scott Penney might be interested in it now that the town had gotten rid of its old bucket truck.

Lee noted that, when the town sold the old bucket truck, the idea was that the town might be better off renting rather than owning that piece of equipment.

Upon Councilman Marchian Crane’s suggestion, the council directed Lee to develop a comparison of what it would cost the town to own a bucket truck versus renting one as needed. Lee will report back at the May meeting.

The council also directed Lee to work with the Timber Lane Homeowners Association to improve the privately-owned road.

Lee noted that the town is obligated to plow snow from the road, but the road’s condition renders it dangerous for both the plow driver and equipment.

In other business, the council:

• submitted a request that state highway department reconstruct the intersection of routes 11 and 26, known as Five Corners;

• reviewed and accepted for official posting the warrant articles for May town meeting;

• signed an agreement transferring New England Public Warehouse’s tax incremental financing agreement and responsibilities to Drew Gilman, Brown Brothers Harriman and Fulton Capital Corp.;

• approved the renewal of a liquor license for the Mason Jar;

• agreed to accept a quit-claim deed for the Freeman Cemetery;

• voted to remove Robert Young from his seat on the Planning Board as he is no longer a Mechanic Falls resident; and

• signed a warrant empowering Animal Control Officer Robert Larrabee to fine 24 dog owners/keepers.

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