DIXFIELD — The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously Monday to approve an agreement that will allow residents to use credit and debit cards at the Town Office.

“The dilemma for many years was that a municipality would have to budget the fees that are charged when citizens used their credit cards,” Town Manager Carlo Puiia said. “A lot of towns never approved the use of debit or credit cards at their town offices, or were reluctant to do so.”

However, the state later amended a law that allowed municipalities to charge the service fees to customers, Puiia said.

“Let’s say somebody comes into the Town Office and wants to register an ATV or snowmobile, which is about $34,” Puiia said. “For any purchase made at $40 or less with a credit card, there will be a $1 minimum charge on the credit or debit card. If you spend more than $40, it’s a 2.5 percent charge. That means if you spend $100, you’d be charged $2.50. If you spent $1,000, you’d be charged $25 for an extra fee.”

He said for some Maine towns the fees were adding up fast because everyone was using their credit cards to buy things.

“It was costing a lot of money, but this amended law allows the customers to pay that charge,” he said.


Puiia said he has heard some people say they didn’t want to pay the fee, and would continue to take out money at the ATM or write checks to pay for services at the Town Office.

“That’s their prerogative,” Puiia said. “However, I’ve also heard people say that they would pay the $1 charge to use their card at the Town Office instead of writing a check.”

It would cost the town $85 to purchase the machine to process credit cards, and a $15 annual fee to encrypt the machine, Puiia said.

“We’d also have to pay $175 to upgrade the software on our current computers to allow us to process the cards,” he said.

The service agreement is with InforME and the Maine Information Network. InforME, which stands for Information Resource of Maine, is the Internet gateway for businesses and citizens to interact with government electronically.

In 1997, the Maine State Legislature enacted the InforME Electronic Access to Public Information Act, which called for the creation of a public/private long-term partnership to build a portal network to public information. The Network is operated with oversight by the InforME Board, comprised of public and private members, who set policy and approve fees for InforME services.


The state’s private partner, Maine Information Network, is a Maine company specializing in eGovernment services.

Selectman Eugene Skibitsky asked Puiia if the town could try it for a year, and if nobody used it, to opt out.

Puiia said it was a possibility, but he viewed the agreement as a “good option for the town.”

“It’s a matter of convenience,” he said. “It gives people a chance to pay for things at the Town Office without having to cut a check or go to the ATM to take out cash.”

Chairman Hart Daley said he would use the new system and pay the service charge rather than “writing a check every time I go to the Town Office.”

In other business, the selectmen voted to appoint Code Enforcement Officer Michael Moore as building inspector.


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