Milo’s mil rate approved at $21.30

By Stuart Hedstrom 
Staff Writer

    MILO — The Board of Selectmen gave their approval to a tax rate of $21.30 per every $1,000 in assessed property, during a July 8 meeting. This figure represents an increase of $.95 from the previous mil rate of $20.35.
    The fiscal year and calendar year run concurrently in Milo, and the $21.30 mil rate will be for 2014 taxes to cover this year’s budget approved at the March annual town meeting. Town Clerk Betty Gormley said tax bills were scheduled to be mailed out to property owners on July 14.

    With a $21.30 mil rate, the overlay — which helps cover tax abatements and uncollected taxes that legally can no longer be acquired — would be $25,000. A slightly lower mil rate, $21.10 was another possibility but Gormley’s recommendation was $21.30, would have resulted in less in overlay for the town to work with.
    In other business, Town Manager David Maynard gave on update on the Route 11 project which involves repaving the travelway from the West Main Street bridge toward the Brownville town line. “The water company is in the process of starting to lower manhole covers and a number of other things,” he said.
    Maynard said the underground drainage work is set to begin on Aug. 7 with the work to mill (remove) the existing surface scheduled for several days in the middle of next month. “Then over the ensuing few weeks the water company will raise things back up,” Maynard said, with paving scheduled for mid-September.
    “People need to be real careful for the next two months,” he said, asking those in attendance to help spread the word. “I can guarantee if you’re not driving slow it’s going to be a heck of a bump.”
    The project includes the installation of a turn lane for the Eastern Piscataquis Business Park from the Mayo Medical Center to Gerrish Drive, which accesses the park.
    The meeting included a number of items on the agenda, and Selectman Bob Ade discussed a meeting he had with Foxcroft Academy Head of School Arnold Shorey to look at one potential educational option for students in Milo and its fellow SAD 41 communities. “I want to be open and transparent,” Ade, who has five children who are currently in the school system or will be entering, said. “I’m just researching other avenues for our children’s education and a better avenue for our community.”
    The preliminary idea Ade said he discussed with Shorey was having Foxcroft Academy be the secondary education provider for SAD 41, which Ade said could result in both educational and financial benefits. He said Foxcroft Academy could provide a greater number of classes and programs and extra curricular offerings, potentially at a lower cost than the present per-pupil expenses.
    “Those will be the two things to focus on,” Ade said, adding Foxcroft Academy officials are talking with other school districts to see what all of its options could be for the long term. The Dover-Foxcroft-based school is looking to expand its facilities, which could help house a larger student body.
    Ade said any changes would need to be developed over at least several years, and would have to be made by the SAD 41 school board.
    Earlier in the day Maynard said a representative from the state board of labor conducted a surprise safety inspection of town operations, including the fire department, public works and on town records. “So far my understanding is no substantial findings at all,” he said, with this result being exceptional.
    The inspection, which is conducted every five or six years, was scheduled to continue the following day.
    Police Chief Damien Pickel thanked both the Milo Fire Department and Three Rivers Ambulance for their response to several recent motor vehicle accidents. Pickel said no one was seriously hurt and said it was a “team effort” on scene by the various first responders.
    When asked by Selectman Jerry Brown, Pickel said the police department has a number of gun locks available — free of charge.

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