Tax rate up in Alna

Thu, 07/30/2020 - 7:30am

Alna selectmen set property taxes July 29 at $18.95 per thousand dollars of assessed valuation. The rate is up 75 cents per $1,000 over last year, according to Second Selectman Doug Baston.

Via Zoom, Baston said education is up, excise tax collections are down, the town is saving toward the next fire truck; and homestead exemption reimbursement and state revenue sharing are up. He expected bills to go out in a day or two, which he said would make taxes due around Oct. 29.

The board will follow Maine Municipal Association’s recommendation the town, as one of the landowners, pay 20%, an estimated $500, toward possible work on the private Sand Building Road. Selectmen said voters forwent the issue at the abbreviated town meeting in March. Going by MMA this year “still allows the conversation (on the town’s share) to take place for a future year,” Third Selectman Greg Shute said.

Baston announced Ralph Hilton is leaving the Sheepscot Valley Regional School Unit 12 board after years of “immeasurable service,” including work on a “win-win” teachers’ contract and being a strong supporter of the public school system. “I wish he wasn’t stepping down (and) I want to thank him ...”

Shute recalled Atlantic Salmon Federation’s Andy Goode’s remark after Hilton helped with the Head Tide Dam makeover, that every town needs a Ralph Hilton. “I don’t know if we could take two,” Baston said, prompting a laugh from Shute. “But we’re sure glad we have that one,” Shute added.

Statute calls for selectmen to appoint someone for the rest of Hilton’s term, about a year, Baston said in an email reply July 30.

Shute will get training to field Freedom of Access Act requests now that the town is no longer using an attorney for those, Baston said. And he said MMA is giving the town a $286 insurance rebate. “Geez, it’ll cover half of our share on the Sand Building Road.”

The men led the Zoom session side by side, in face masks. In public comment, resident Jeff Philbrick requested the board resume in-person meetings at the town office “sooner rather than later.”