02/20/2015 - Municipal Officials Turn Out for Statehouse Hearings
This week, the Legislative Appropriations and Taxation Committees held hearings on parts of Gov. LePage’s proposed budget that have serious ramifications for towns and cities. Foremost among them, yet again, is a proposal to reduce and then eliminate Municipal Revenue Sharing, which was established by law 43 years ago. Under that law, the state shares 5 percent of its sales and income tax collections in recognition of all the mandated work that municipalities do for the state, and to help keep property taxes down. The law has been abused for years; the state honors only 40 percent of its $158 million a year commitment. Municipal officials from across the state had a lot to say about the Governor’s proposal.
02/13/2015 - Presque Isle Letter Warns of Homestead Elimination
The City of Presque Isle is mailing letters to all property owners telling them that, if they are under the age of 65, the Governor’s proposed budget would eliminate their Homestead Exemptions, thus result in automatic increases in property taxes – increases triggered by the state, not the city or the local school system. The letter also encourages recipients to contact their state legislators if they oppose this change. Read More..
02/10/2015 - Clear Those Rooftops, Safely
Municipalities shouldn't forget their own rooftops these days, just as homeowners and businesses are scrambling to clear their roofs of several feet of snow that could become wet in the coming days and weeks. However, clearing roofs needs to be done safely, above all else. OSHA has prepared an excellent guide on how to do so. Read More..
02/09/2015 - Stream-Smart Workshops
We all know how important properly placed culverts are, both for motorists and wildlife. The Maine Audubon Society begins a series of “Stream-Smart Workshops,” primarily designed for elected officials, managers and Public Works employees, on Feb. 26 in Lewiston. Four workshops will be held around the state, concluding with one on April 1 in Augusta. Read More..
02/04/2015 - MMA: Governor's Budget Presents Tax Reform Opportunity
On Tuesday, the Bangor Daily News published an op-ed column from the Maine Municipal Association that said Gov. Paul LePage's proposed state budget, while flawed, offers the Legislature an historic opportunity to fix Maine's antiquated tax code. Some of the ideas the Governor is proposing have been suggested by MMA for years. Read More..
01/23/2015 - 2016 Municipal Revenue Sharing Figures
Maine Municipal Association’s State & Federal Relations staff has compiled numbers showing how much towns and cities should receive in FY 2016 from the Municipal Revenue Sharing Program, and how much they are now projected to receive, depending upon what happens to the proposed state budget. The figures are beyond disappointing: Statewide, $158 million is due municipalities, by law; the Governor proposes to allocate $62.5 million, and end the program after that (FY 2017).Read More..
01/23/2015 - Senate President Wants Mandate Information
State Senate President Michael Thibodeau is aware there are too many unfunded state mandates placed on municipalities – and he wants to know more about them. Maine Municipal Association strongly encourages members to contact Sen. Thibodeau’s office (for directions on doing so, see the link below) with a list of mandates facing your town or city, and the effects of those mandates. Read More..
01/15/2015 - New Publication: Municipal Partnerships With State Government
Maine Municipal Association this week mailed to members and to legislators a report that details 20 programs that towns and cities operate on behalf of state government. They range from animal control to local General Assistance to conducting elections and enforcing state zoning and planning laws. The upshot: This is why the Municipal Revenue Sharing Act was passed in 1972, and why it should be fully funded. Municipal revenue sharing provides meaningful financial recognition for important work that’s done at the municipal level. Read More..
01/09/2015 - NLC Congressional City Conference
The National League of Cities will hold its annual Congressional City Conference on March 7-11 in Washington, D.C. This is your chance to interact with and hear from federal officials whose decisions affect your communities and talk to Maine’s Congressional delegation. Maine Municipal Association sends a contingent to this event, and to meet with the delegation, every year.
01/06/2015 - MMA Fiscal Survey Released
Every year, Maine Municipal Association’s State & Federal Relations staff issues a report on how municipalities are handling their finances – revenues and expenditures. This year, participation dropped to 27 percent of our members, a sign that staffing cuts have affected our members’ ability to participate in the extensive survey. The low response rate makes comparisons to previous years unreliable. However, the partial results may have value, so we are releasing what was reported.