Please note: The first few issues of this newsletter will be sent to subscribers of both the Falmouth Focus newsletter and Town News & Announcements. We apologize for any cross postings. To subscribe to the Falmouth Focus visit E-Alerts.
News & Issues
Senior Property Tax Assistance Program A Success
Falmouth's Senior Property Tax Assistance Program, now in its second year, grew substantially in 2019, serving 77 Falmouth residents, up from 29 applicants in 2018. The Town Council increased the income threshold for participation in the program from $30,000 to $40,000 this year, allowing 18 residents to qualify for assistance this year who would not have been eligible last year. Three workshops were held this fall to assist residents with their applications and staff from the Town's Finance Department met with several residents individually to help them with the necessary paperwork. A budget of $50,000 was allocated for the program and $49,386 was paid out. Payments to participants were mailed this week.
Falmouth Offers Compost Drop-Off at Community Park
Still composting in your back yard, with a third party, or not at all? It is estimated that 25%-33% of residential trash is food waste that is compostable. Composting can reduce your trash bag costs and also increase overall recycling rates. The Falmouth Public Works Department and Sustainability Office are making it easier for you by offering a brand-new kiosk at Community Park off Winn Road where Falmouth residents can drop off their food waste. It’s really that simple. Meats, bones, dairy, eggs, fruits, and vegetable scraps--even coffee filters/grounds and paper towels (if not used with cleaning products)--can all be dropped off in these green totes. Please no plastics of any kind, including plastic bags (biodegradable bags are okay). As a reminder of what can and cannot be composted, the Town has made a custom sign for your reference, right at the kiosks. The food waste will be collected by a local composting company, We Compost It!, and converted to compost. Falmouth residents can also bring food waste to green totes located at the transfer station facility on Woods Road. This program is free to Falmouth residents. The expansion of the compost drop off program was possible from a grant awarded to Falmouth from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, as well as a continued successful partnership with WeCompostIt!
Upcoming Meetings & Events
3rd Bicycle-Pedestrian Stakeholder Meeting, November 19
Falmouth’s 3rd Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan was passed in 2016. The award-winning plan followed the original 1996 plan and a second plan dating back to 2003, as well as a Trails Master Plan from 2002. The plan outlines recommended, prioritized infrastructure improvements that will interconnect Falmouth’s pedestrian and bicycle network of trails, sidewalks, bike lanes, and paved shoulders. The plan is being used as a guide or reference tool to prepare capital improvement plans and road designs and review future improvement requests from citizens and projects proposed by others. At the Town Council Work Plan retreat held in August 2019, the Town Council identified reviewing and evaluating the 2016 Bike and Pedestrian Plan as a priority. To that end, a 3rd Bicycle-Pedestrian Stakeholder meeting will be held on November 19 at 6:00 p.m. at the Elementary School Cafeteria to outline the progress that has been made in implementing the plan and to solicit feedback from residents. This meeting will be recorded for showing on community TV. The meeting is open to public. Please join us.
Small Business Expo to be Held October 29
Maine State Senator Cathy Breen and Maine Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) Commissioner Heather Johnson will hold a Small Business Resource Expo on Tuesday, October 29 from 9-11 a.m. at Merrill Memorial Library in Yarmouth. The event will include representatives from state and federal agencies, such as the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Finance Authority of Maine, and the Maine Office of Business Development among others, who can help business owners identify resources and answer their questions. Coffee and refreshments will be served. For more information and to register, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/small-business-resources-and-networking-event-tickets-71713800909.
Take the Pledge
At the November 5 elections, Falmouth's Energy and Sustainability Coordinator, Kimberly Darling, and members of the Recycling and Energy Advisory Committee (REAC) will be asking residents to sign the “Recycle Right Pledge.” Generally speaking, Falmouth has relatively low recycling contamination compared to other communities (latest report of 8%). However, it is still extremely important that we only recycle materials than can be recycled. Last summer, sustainability interns conducted an 8 week recycling bin tagging program. One of their recommendations to lower our contamination rate was to ask residents to sign a pledge committing to "recycle right." This recommendation was well received by the Town Council and approved by REAC. Join us at the elections on November 5 and sign the Recycle Right pledge!
WindowDressers Community Build, November 8-11
Falmouth and Cumberland are teaming up for the third consecutive year, to host a WindowDressers Community Build. From November 8-11, over one hundred custom-made insulating window inserts will be assembled by volunteers at Mason-Motz Activity Center. Typically, a rotating crew of 10-12 volunteers per half-day shift come together to assemble the inserts over several days. No special skills are necessary and every single job is taught on-site by experienced volunteers. Want to help? Reach out to Kimberly Darling, email@example.com, and she will sign you up for a shift. Ask around for those who have participated before; it’s a lot of fun and a great community effort! For more information on the WindowDressers Programs visit: https://windowdressers.org/
Veterans Day Ceremony, November 11
The Town of Falmouth’s Veterans Day Ceremony will be held on Monday, November 11, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. at the Falmouth Veterans Memorial, 65 Depot Road. In case of rain, the ceremony will be held at the American Legion Post #164, 65 Depot Road.
Falmouth Harbor Committee Meeting, November 7
The Falmouth Harbor Committee will meet on Thursday, November 7, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. at Town Hall in the Council Chambers. The agenda will included the review of a proposed increase to the Town Landing mooring fees. The fee increase is intended to bridge the gap between current fee revenue and operating expenses. The proposed fee structure of $100 for residents, $300 for non-residents, and $120 for Handy Boat Service and Portland Yacht Club, were determined based upon research of surrounding communities' fees. Members of the public are welcome to attend the meeting which will include a public comment period.
November 5 Election Absentee Voting
Absentee ballots for the November 5, 2019, State of Maine Referendum Election are available at the Town Clerk’s Office at Falmouth Town Hall, 271 Falmouth Road. Sample ballots are available upon request. Absentee voting will end on Thursday, October 31, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. The Clerk’s Office will be open on October 31 for extended hours until 7:00 p.m. to accept ballots. For more information, please call 699-5320.
Dog Licenses Now Available
Dog licenses are now available for 2020. All current dog licenses expire December 31, 2019. According to Maine State Law, any dog over age 6 months must be licensed by January 1.
Cost: Neutered/Spayed Dog - $6.00; Unaltered Male or Female - $11.00
Two Ways To Register!
In person: Registration is available at the Clerk’s Office at Falmouth Town Hall. You must present the following at the time of registration: a current Maine rabies certificate and a neutering certificate if the dog has been altered
Online: Register online via www.maine.gov. On-line registrations require a credit card, a rabies certificate, your veterinarian’s information, a license/tag number (if a renewal), and a spay or neuter certificate (if your dog has been altered). The online dog licensing service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Real Estate Taxes Due November 7
Tax bills were mailed in September and are due November 7. Bills can be paid in person at Town Hall, by mail, or online at: https://falmouthme.munisselfservice.com/citizens/default.aspx
Leaf Bags Now Available
Leaf bags are available in quantities of 15 per Falmouth resident (while supplies last) and can be obtained at the Public Works Building at 101 Woods Road.
Note: Leaf bags are for leaves only. Do not put brush in leaf bags. Brush is not collected curbside but is accepted at the Transfer Station during opening hours, Tuesday-Thursday, 12-4 p.m., Friday 7 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
At the October 16 Meeting of Falmouth's Town Council...
On Wednesday, October 16, a Town Council Workshop was held in advance of the Town Council Special Meeting at which, the Council provided guidance to staff regarding the charge of the Ad-Hoc Marijuana Committee.
At the Town Council Meeting the Council approved the renewal of food service licenses for Circle K, Walgreens, European Bakery, and Waldo’s. There were public hearings held on ordinance amendments related to the Tidewater Master Development Plan time limits and nuisance dogs. Orders for these items were scheduled for November 13. A public hearing was also held on general assistance maximums. A second public hearing will be held on this issue on November 13.
Heather Huntt from Cumberland County Soil and Water Conservation District delivered a presentation on the Highland Lake Watershed Management Plan Action Steps. The public was invited to provide comment on these Action Steps at a public meeting on October 23 at the Cornerstone Church in Windham.
Pete LaFond, Chair of the Recycling and Energy Advisory Committee, presented on Falmouth’s plan to install a solar array on the closed landfill on Woods Road. Town staff will initiate the bid process for solar energy firms and/or contractors.
A supplemental appropriation to perform a feasibility study on the historic preservation, renovation, or adaptive reuse of the Tidewater buildings did not pass.
The Council passed an order to approve the purchase of land for permanent trail rights on the Cross Falmouth Corridor between Community Park and Town Forest.
Town Manager Nathan Poore delivered a summary of the Senior Tax Assistance Program participation. Seventy-seventy residents benefited from the program, up from 29 from last year. Eighteen residents were eligible to participate because the income threshold was raised from $30,000 to $40,000 this year. Spending for the program remained within the $50,000 budget allocation. An order to approve a supplemental appropriation from unassigned fund balance in the amount of $10,000 to fund senior tax relief awards above the $50,000 was not deemed necessary.
Erin Cadigan, Education and Outreach Coordinator, gave a presentation on the results of the recent Communications Methods Survey, expanded efforts in communications, and an update on the development of a Communications Strategic Plan. She also presented on Falmouth’s proposed participation in the State of Maine’s Bicentennial Commemoration in 2020.
The next regular meeting of the Falmouth Town Council will be held October 28, 2019, at 7:00pm in the Council Chambers at Falmouth Town Hall. View the agenda here.
Stay Informed with the Town of Falmouth Website and E-Alerts
The events calendar on the Town of Falmouth website homepage lists upcoming board, committee, and Town Council meetings. Agendas and Minutes for these meetings are also posted online. Town Council, Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals and School Board meetings are live-streamed on Falmouth Community TV Channel 1301 (Former Channel 2). Recordings of these meetings are also available for viewing online. E-Alerts allows you to subscribe to specific email lists about Town-related issues that interest you. Over 70% of respondents to our Communications Methods Survey found E-Alerts to be an effective means of getting info about Town activities. The Falmouth Focus, this bi-weekly newsletter, is another way to stay in the loop. Subscribe via E-Alerts. Please let us know what kind of information you would like to see included in your town newsletter.
Town of Falmouth, 271 Falmouth Road, Falmouth, ME 04105