The Falmouth Emergency Management Team met today, March 27, 2020, and continues to monitor the evolving COVID-19 pandemic. Sadly, today, the Maine CDC reported the first COVID-19-related death in Maine of a resident of Cumberland County.
Today’s Town Council Meeting
The Town Council held a meeting today at 3:00pm via Zoom in which they discussed the necessity of issuing a proclamation that declares a local civil emergency. After receiving input from other Councilors, Chair Kuhn declined to issue a proclamation at this time. As a result, Item 2 on the agenda (an extension of the proclamation) was rendered moot, at this time. The Council concluded with a discussion about directives, orders, and other actions that could help stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus and directed Town staff to draft a resolution encouraging residents to stay at home, as well as a stay at home order to have at the ready in the event the Town deemed it appropriate to act upon such measures. The Council expects to hold an additional meeting next week.
Unfortunately, the meeting ended abruptly due to the inappropriate and lewd behavior of one individual whose actions were viewed by several of the meeting participants. We believe that what people saw may have been a recording that was hacked into the meeting. The individual was unknown to anyone at the meeting. Fortunately, this behavior was not captured on the live video stream. We apologize for this incident and will explore ways to prevent such an occurrence from happening in the future. At the time of the incident, Council business on all agenda items had already concluded and the Council was simply taking the opportunity to inform residents of new developments regarding property tax bills. (See information below)
Property Tax Bill
Property Tax bills will be mailed next week and the deadline for payments is May 7. Town officials have explored several avenues for deferring payments, reducing interest rates, or extending payment deadlines. While other communities have enacted such measures, currently, there is no statutory authority to move the date taxes are due or the date when interest accrues, even for emergency circumstances. Neither the emergency bill enacted by the Legislature last week nor the Governor’s emergency declaration or orders have made any changes to the laws governing property taxes, due dates, interest accrual, or tax lien procedures. Maine Municipal Association has petitioned the Governor for a remedy. If this occurs, the Council may consider local action.
Bottle Redemption Center is still open at Central Station on Bucknam Road.
Trails and Open Space Reminder
We want to remind everyone to please be respectful and responsible. Falmouth trails are closed (this includes bikers as well as hikers) to protect the integrity of the trail system in Falmouth and the hard work put in by many volunteers who maintain this resource for residents. We will continue to monitor the trails and open as soon as it dries out and the frost is out of the ground. Also, please take note that the State of Maine has closed Mackworth Island State Park due to crowding. Please find other locations to get outside in and around your homes. The following locations remain open: Pine Grove Preserve, Falmouth Nature Preserve, McCrann Preserve (FLT), Hurricane Valley Farm (enter near kiosk and not near barn) (FLT). While enjoying these outdoor spaces, practice social distancing as necessary.
Resources for Residents
As Town of Falmouth operations have stabilized in the past week, Town staff has turned their attention to the special needs of residents during this difficult time. We hope the following resources will prove helpful to our residents.
The Town of Falmouth has established a Senior Resource Hotline managed by the Falmouth Parks and Community Programs Office. Seniors, caregivers, and family members of seniors may call 207-699-5302 Monday-Thursday 8am-5pm and Friday 8am-Noon for assistance with the following non-medical needs:*
- Food and Critical Supply Needs (prescription drugs, toilet paper, etc.)
- Food Emergencies and General Assistance
- Falmouth Community Programs We Miss You TOO! Program (phone call check-ins from FCP staff)
- Falmouth Police Department Reassurance Program
- Delivery Service Options from Local Businesses (restaurants and pharmacies)
- Personal Assistance with Town Services (license renewals, vehicle registrations, permits, etc.)
- Sign Up for Mailing Lists (for senior-related information distributed electronically and via mail)
*Descriptions and details of all these programs can be found on our Senior Resource Fact Sheet.
On weekends and evenings, seniors with immediate needs may contact Falmouth Police Department dispatch at their non-emergency number: 207-781-2300. As always, in the case of a health emergency dial 9-1-1.
The Town of Falmouth administers a General Assistance (GA) program to provide immediate help to eligible people who do not have enough money for basic needs, such as rent/mortgage, food, heating fuel, medications, non-elective medical care, and other items that are essential to maintain themselves or their families. In order to receive GA, people must follow program rules and meet the eligibility requirements. For more information on this program and how to apply, see our General Assistance Fact Sheet.
The Town of Falmouth is very aware of the disruption that COVID-19 has caused our local businesses. We want to help where we can. We invite business owners to reach out to Town staff with questions, concerns, and ideas on how we can assist you. Please contact: Theo Holtwijk, Director of Long Range Planning and Economic Development, 207-699-5340, email@example.com. In the meantime, we have compiled a Business Resource Fact Sheet which includes a list of resources including information to help your business recover from losses as well as best practices to protect the safety of your customers and the health of your employees.
Residents with Disabilities
The following resources may prove useful to residents with disabilities.
- Disability Rights Maine: https://drme.org/news/2020/covid-19-resources-for-pwd
- Maine Department of Health and Human Services - Aging and Disability Services: https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/oads/Coronavirus-COVID-19.shtml
- Southern Maine Agency on Aging https://www.smaaa.org/covid19.html
- Administration for Community Living https://acl.gov/COVID-19
- US CDC Information for Caregivers: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-prevent-spread.html
Resources for Staying Active and Engaged from Falmouth Community Programs
The staff at Falmouth Parks & Community Programs wants you to know we have all been thinking about you during these uncertain times and while we all may not be working in the office, WE ARE HERE FOR YOU as a resource and to assist you in connecting to other resources, to provide ideas and ways to keep you engaged and active, as well as to provide you with links for virtual programming such as “Virtual Museum & National Park Tours”, “Fitness Class with Coach Alice”, “Online Cooking Classes”, etc.
If you have a Facebook Account, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/Falmouth-Parks-Community-Programs-146817128713038/ where you will find lots of positive information. In addition, FCP will send weekly emails to subscribers with activities, ideas, and online resources. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 699-5302 to opt in. You may opt out at any time. If you have any ideas and or videos of activities you think we should share please send them along to Kate Harris; email@example.com or Ashlee Quirrion: firstname.lastname@example.org .
The deadline to file for a Homestead Exemption is April 1. To learn more about this program read our Homestead Exemption Fact Sheet. Applications can be found HERE. Completed forms can be emailed to: email@example.com
Nomination papers are available from the Falmouth Town Clerk’s Office by calling 699-5305. Residents interested in running for either Town Council or the School Board must submit nomination papers with a minimum of 25 and a maximum of 100 signatures no later than 5:00 p.m. Monday, April 13. The Municipal election will be held on Tuesday, June 9, for the purpose of electing:
- Two (2) people to the Town Council for three (3) year terms, and
- Three (3) people to the School Board for three (3) year terms
While seeking signatures, please practice safe social distancing and consider having the person signing the paper use their own pen. Washing hands will help reduce the spread of the virus.