ORONO — The Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions at the University of Maine is scheduled to host a talk about some of the challenges faced by municipal governments, and how municipalities can help implement state policy priorities.

The talk is to run from 3 to 4 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 29, via Zoom and in person at 107 Norman Smith Hall on the UMaine campus.

Maine has historically relied on municipal governments to provide a variety of services, including police, fire, road maintenance and recreation. Over time, state mandates have expanded the list of municipal responsibilities to include the maintenance of state-aid roads, enforcement of shoreland zoning regulations, code enforcement and the management of solid waste programs.

While the case can be made that municipal governments are more effective at providing services because they are closest to the people, municipalities are often required to provide more services without additional state aid. The end result is greater reliance on property taxes to fund state priorities.

In this talk, Cathy Conlow and Kate Dufour of the Maine Municipal Association will discuss how, with the right partnerships and funding mechanisms in place, municipalities can assist the state in meeting its goals, whether they are focused on climate change, economic development or addressing the state’s housing needs.

Conlow has been the executive director of the association since August. She has served as city manager of Bangor and town manager of Orono, as well as in municipal leadership roles in Minnesota and Oregon.


Dufour has represented the interests of municipal government before the Maine State Legislature for MMA since 1995, including as director of the State and Federal Relations Department since 2017. She also is a member of the Hallowell City Council.

All talks in the Mitchell Center’s Sustainability Talks series are free. Registration is required to attend remotely via Zoom; to register and receive connection information, visit umaine.edu.

Face coverings are required for all people when indoors at a University of Maine System facility. For the latest health and safety guidance, see umaine.edu/return.

Updates for this event will be posted to the event webpage. To request a reasonable accommodation, contact Ruth Hallsworth at 207-581-3196 or hallsworth@maine.edu.

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