Police & Fire

Dover-Foxcroft mill rate set at $18.55

DOVER-FOXCROFT — The Dover-Foxcroft Select Board signed the 2023-24 tax commitment during a meeting on Monday, Aug. 21. The mill rate for the fiscal year will be $18.55 per every $1,000 of assessed property, a decrease from $20 for the previous year.

Town Manager Jack Clukey said Dover-Foxcroft has more than $10.6 million in total appropriations including over $6.8 million in the municipal budget  close to $2.8 million for RSU 68, about $650,000 in Piscataquis County tax, and $260,000 for overlay. After various revenues totaling $3.8 million-plus, the net assessment for commitment is $6,751,539.

Dover-Foxcroft’s valuation is $363,964,400 for 2023-24, up from $326,283,660. “That one year change from $326 million to $363 million brought our mill rate down a mill and a half,” Clukey said.

Select Board Chairperson Tom Lizotte said a broader tax base has increased the valuation and had an inverse impact on the mill rate — although some property values may have increased. He said residents are investing in and improving their homes and other parcels are selling for more than would have been the case in past years.

The tax commitment is typically set in late July but this summer the state had to do some stabilization of its finances so more time was needed in Dover-Foxcroft. 

Clukey said tax bills are normally mailed out in the first half of August with a September due date. In 2023 the bills will be sent out right after Labor Day and the first payment installment would be Oct. 27. The second tax bill installment would be due by March 29, 2024. Late payments would start accumulating an 8 percent interest rate.

When asked, Clukey said town operations would be able to continue as normal despite the payment due dates each being pushed back.

In other business, the board approved the purchase of a 2006 Johnston Sweeper from Allied Equipment of Hartland for a net cost of $32,500. The sweeper will replace a 1995 model, which is being traded in, with the funds coming from a public works reserve account.

Clukey said Dover-Foxcroft bought the 1995 sweeper a few years ago, but now the machinery is aging and it would be better to replace rather than putting more money into repairs.

He said the 2006 sweeper would not have a vacuum feature, but the town contracts this work out in April to clean up leftover winter sand. “We feel it’s going to give us what we need at this point,” the town manager said.

“Our sweeper would take forever,” Clukey said about why spring cleanup is contracted out and performed in about a week. “We can maintain our streets once they have picked up the heavy bulk of winter sand.”

When asked, Public Works Foreman Geoff Foreman said the town sweeper is used about twice a month and more often if there are gravel road washouts. He said the town should be able to get at least 10 years out of the model.

The select board appointed Norton True to the Mayo Mill Dam Steering Committee.

Lizotte said True has been attending the group’s meetings regularly and he is a retired engineer with an environmental and wastewater background.

“He’s certainly a great addition to this and I look forward to working with him,” Lizotte said.

More than a decade and a half has passed since the Mayo Mill Dam on the Piscataquis River in downtown Dover-Foxcroft has produced energy. In the years since the municipal-owned structure has remained in place but it is only deteriorating under the continual water flow.

There are no easy answers on what to do with the site but under the auspices of a steering committee, a partners team is working to consider the various possibilities and everything tying into the dam — such as an assessment of the physical condition of the structure and property, an inventory, and being in compliance with all regulations — to be included in a community-based feasibility study to help determine the long-term future of the dam. 

The public learned more during a forum in late June and another such session is planned for the fall.

Clukey said the Piscataquis River water level will be brought down for part of a day in the near future to assess the condition of the dam. “It may not even be noticeable because it won’t be down for too long,” he said.

A total solar eclipse is set for around 3:30 p.m. on Monday, April 8, 2024 and Dover-Foxcroft will likely have a lot of visitors due to its prime viewing location in eastern Maine.

The select board is looking to form an ad hoc committee to plan for the eclipse to accommodate traffic, logistics, emergency response, the benefit for town businesses, etc.

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