Dover-Foxcroft selectmen set $21.50 mill rate

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DOVER-FOXCROFT — The selectmen set the tax commitment for the 2019-20 fiscal year during a July 22 meeting, with the mill rate rising 30 cents (1.41 percent) from last year to a rate of $21.50 per $1,000 in assessed property.

The mill rate covers an approximate $5.47 million municipal budget for 2019-20, Dover-Foxcroft’s $2.8 million appropriation for RSU 68, the town’s share of the county spending plan totaling just over $466,000 and several other expenses including the $109,508 TIF financing plan and overlay.

The $9 million-plus in total assessments are offset by about $2.6 million in revenues for a net assessment for commitment totaling $6,491,890.

The Dover-Foxcroft valuation increased by more than $2.1 million to a total taxable valuation of $301,948,400, compared to $299,833,900 in 2018-29.

The selectmen signed the necessary tax commitment forms for the new fiscal year.

In other business, the board signed a 2-year extended warranty agreement for the new street lights with the consortium represented by RealTerm Energy and with installer On Target.

“We talked about our new street lights and some issues we’ve had with them,” Town Manager Jack Clukey said. He said several communities had similar lights installed after 330 were placed in Dover-Foxcroft and soon issues with the fuses were discovered.

“They have been working on a resolution so we get anything that’s faulty replaced,” Clukey said. He said the warranty will cover replacement of a fuse by On Target at no charge if the piece fails and if the fuse was not installed according to specifications. This should be a benefit to town as it appears a significant number of fuses were installed without caps.

Board member Jane Conroy asked about the $6,813 annual cost with the warranty.

“That’s more of a worst case scenario,” Clukey said. “I don’t expect it to be that but there is a regular maintenance cost anyway.”

The selectmen made a pair of appointments, starting with Barry Hutchins to the planning board for a term to run through June 30, 2020. Clukey said Hutchins will succeed Scott Wellman, who opted not to return when his term expired.

Ryan Edgerly was appointed to the board of appeals for a term to expire on June 30, 2022.

“We still have an empty seat on the appeals board if anyone is interested,” Clukey said.

In his report, the town manager discussed several items.

“The big dig, so to speak, on Route 15 by Fox Brook (Variety) is underway,” Clukey said. The Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) is replacing a large culvert at the base of the hill with a temporary traffic light installed to allow vehicles through via a single lane.

“If everything stays on schedule everything will be done by Labor Day, the key words are stays on schedule,” he said.

The town’s nearby paving work is expected to start in late August to lessen the congestion on Pleasant Street caused by the culvert work.

Clukey said MDOT Commissioner Bruce A. Van Note was in town last week with Sen. Paul Davis, R-Sangerville and Rep. Norm Higgins, I-Dover-Foxcroft to look at traffic issues downtown.

“It took less than two minutes to see some of the issues going on,” Clukey said. He said Van Note saw the common site of a tractor trailer needing to go up on the sidewalk in order to turn right from East Main to South Street.

The town manager said recently cameras were installed in the area for data collection as the MDOT and town are in the process of getting a consultant on board for a downtown traffic study. The consultant should start by the middle of next month and the timeframe for the final report is next April.

There is set to be a public meeting early on in the process for attendees to address any concerns related to vehicles, pedestrians, traffic lights and more. “Whatever issues people have,” Clukey said.

He said the week before there was a fire at the vacant buildings at Monument Square, with the incident being investigated as arson.

“The fire department was very fast to respond,” Clukey said. “It could have been fully involved but damage was limited to the second floor.”

He said the town-owned structures have since been made more secure and are scheduled to be torn down in the fall. “I’m hoping to have it lined up with September as the goal,” the town manager said.

“Hopefully everyone has seen the News Center commercial, that’s the first in a series of four,” Clukey said — the ad is posted at the town homepage He said the production crew will return in the fall for the next commercial.

Representatives from News Center Maine, which includes television stations WLBZ 2 of Bangor and WCSH 6 of Portland, had approached town officials about creating commercials in town based on a theme of Dover-Foxcroft is not a boring town specific to each season highlighting various activities and establishments.

Earlier this year the online magazine called Dover-Foxcroft the most boring town in the state, based on factors such as median age, nightlife and population density.

The commercials are running statewide as well for streaming services featuring network programs. The town is covering 25 percent of the cost, about $5,000, and the business community is funding the other 75 percent of commercial costs.

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