Falmouth Focus, Volume 2, Issue 10

April 24, 2020

Focus Masthead

Please note:  This newsletter will be sent to subscribers of both The Falmouth Focus newsletter and Town News & Announcements. Please excuse cross postings. To change your subscription settings, visit E-Alerts

News & Issues

EMA Logo

Updates on the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Town of Falmouth has updated its COVID-19 information page which includes all updates and information sent out by Falmouth's Emergency Management Agency as well as additional updates from the Town. We strongly encourage residents to subscribe to our E-Alert emails in order to keep up-to-date on this rapidly evolving situation. Subscribe to Town News & Announcements and/or Emergency Management at www.falmouthme.org/subscribe. Alerts regarding COVID-19 will be sent to both lists.

Latest Updates

Town Services, Offices, & Facilities

How Can We Help?

As Town operations have stabilized, we want to hear your suggestions for what our residents need during this time. How can we help you and your neighbors? Call 699-5329 or e-mail [email protected].

We've also opened up our Senior Resource Hotline to all residents. If you have non-medical needs such as food and critical supply needs, food emergencies and general assistance, or personal assistance with Town services, please call 699-5302 Monday-Thursday 8am-5pm and Friday 8am-Noon. There are no predetermined qualifications to receive a helping hand for many areas of assistance – just call us and we will see what we can do to assist you.


Falmouth Trail

Falmouth Trails Update

The Town of Falmouth will open trails to the public beginning on Saturday, April 25.  NOTE:  Trailhead parking will remain closed. Parking near trail heads on the street is also prohibited. 

The Town encourages residents to stay active and seek outdoor exercise in their own neighborhoods. However, with public safety as our primary concern, the following guidelines have been put in place with regard to the trails:

  1. Trailhead parking will remain closed. Parking near trail heads on the street is also prohibited. Trail head parking areas are small and do not allow for appropriate social distancing. In issuing her “Stay Healthy at Home” order, Governor Mills encouraged Mainers to seek exercise in places close to their home, rather than travel elsewhere by car. Trails should be accessed by foot or bike only. Rather than drive to a trailhead, residents should visit trails within walking or biking distance of their homes. Falmouth PD will be monitoring trail head parking areas.
  2. Practice social distancing: Stay at least six feet away from other people who do not live in your household. Step aside when passing other people on the trail. Groups of 10 or more are prohibited. We encourage visitors to wear masks. On loop trails, travel clockwise to limit passing others on the trail.
  3. Dogs should be leashed at all times. Pet waste and other trash must be carried out.

Be prepared and stay safe with the following tips:

  • If you are sick or may have been exposed to Covid-19, stay at home.
  • Have a Plan B. If the trail is crowded and social distancing cannot effectively be practiced, seek an alternate activity or return at another time when fewer people are there. 
  • With the continued rainy forecast, be mindful of wet soggy spots. If you cannot walk or bike through wet areas, turn around and find another place to exercise. Stepping or riding off the trail will cause damage to spring vegetation, disrupt wildlife, and encourage widening of trails. 
  • Don’t engage in risky behavior. Trails are still muddy and slick in areas. Stick to easier trails to avoid injuries which might add stress on first responders and medical resources. Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return.
  • Remember: Ticks are out. Take all precautions to avoid them.
  • Consider shortening your visit to limit crowding and also allow others to enjoy the trails.
  • Don’t touch signs, benches, kiosks, etc.

FCP Summer Programs Brochure

Falmouth Community Programs Summer Programming

The Town of Falmouth and Parks & Community Programs staff are hopeful that the Governor’s “Stay Healthy at Home Mandate” will help to flatten the curve and bring an end to the spread of the COVID-19 virus. With that hope in mind, we have assembled our Summer Program Brochure. The printed copy of the brochure will NOT be available or mailed out before the middle of May. You can review the pdf version by clicking here or going to the Parks & Community Programs page on the Town website: https://www.falmouthme.org/parks-and-community-programs.

Registration for programs opened on April 23. While we are cautiously optimistic that summer programming will be up and running, we also need to be mindful that this may not happen as soon as we hope or as we have outlined in this brochure. Should the need arise, programs will be evaluated on a weekly basis for modification, postponement, or cancellation. Please remain hopeful and flexible.

All camp field trips are currently to be determined and will be planned according to Federal and State CDC protocols and guidelines. For Senior Camp, it is our hope to run the Adventure Week as planned (August 3-7) but adjustments may need to be made to adhere to state and federal guidelines. We have streamlined the selection process for Day Camp & Senior Camp as well as added two additional weeks in August we are calling Gap Camp. We hope this will help parents with coverage later in the summer before school starts.

How can I register?

  • Onine: You can register online anytime of day using our online registration site. Please note: On-line convenience fees are NON-Refundable.
  • By mail: Fill out the registration form and mail to FCP Summer Registration, 190 Middle Rd., Falmouth, ME 04105.
  • By Phone: Generally we do not accept phone registrations but given current circumstances, phone registrations will be accepted on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 9am-3pm with EFT, credit card, or debit card payments only.

Currently, we are limited to 2 people working in the office during the day, Monday-Thursday, so you may have to leave a message. We will check messages regularly and get back to you.


Home

An Update on Property Taxes

As noted in our last newsletter, property tax bills have been mailed out. The deadline for property tax payments is May 7. Town officials explored several avenues for extending payment deadlines. Currently, there is no statutory authority to move the date taxes are due or the date when interest accrues, even for emergency circumstances. Despite actions taken by other municipalities, neither the emergency bill recently enacted by the Legislature, 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. The Town of Falmouth and other communities, through the Maine Municipal Association, have petitioned the Governor for a legal remedy but, as of yet, have not been notified of any action taken on this issue. The Council approved an order to authorize the Town Manager to extend the property tax payment due date to June 30, 2020 if the Governor issues an executive order to enable such action. We will continue to provide regular updates on this issue via our website (www.falmouthme.org), social media pages, and E-Alerts. We strongly encourage you to subscribe to our Town News and Announcements e-mail E-Alerts at www.falmouthme.org/subscribe to keep up-to-date. 


home office

Falmouth Business Update

As Falmouth’s businesses feel the impacts of COVID-19, please do not hesitate to reach out to Theo Holtwijk, Director of Long Range Planning and Economic Development, 699-5340, [email protected], for assistance, support and/or questions. If you have not already, it is important for you to be in communication with your landlord and bank. Below is information to assist the business community with COVID-19 questions. Please note that some of the financial programs below are currently closed, but it is expected that additional funds are forthcoming.

SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION (SBA)

FINANCE AUTHORITY OF MAINE (FAME)

MAINE HOUSING

STATE OF MAINE GOVERNMENT

  • Economy Re-opening Suggestions: The Administration works to re-open the economy and continues to strive to have a transparent process. Using this comment form, you can share your thoughts on potential goals and initiatives or on issues we should address in the planning process: https://appengine.egov.com/apps/me/decd-suggestions
  • Maine Department of Economic & Community Development (Weekdays 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST) 1-800-872-3838 in Maine/1-800-541-5872 from outside of Maine or by email at [email protected]

MAINE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

MAINE SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CENTER

HELLO ALICE


Food Pantry Logo

Falmouth Food Pantry To Offer Food Pick-Up

The Falmouth Food Pantry will once again distribute food for current food pantry clients and those in need of help. They will be in front of the Falmouth Elementary School on Tuesdays, April 28, May 12, and May 19, a little before 9:30am and will distribute until all the supplies have been given out or until 11:00am.

If you have a food emergency, please call the Falmouth Food Pantry emergency line 632-2687 (primary) or 781-2996 (secondary). Leave your name and phone number. The Food Pantry is not accepting food donations at this time nor, given current operations, are they seeking additional volunteers. 

The best way to support the Falmouth Food Pantry is through monetary donations. Donations should be made payable to the Falmouth Food Pantry and mailed to: 279 Middle Road, Falmouth, ME 04105. Donations can also be made online via PayPal at: 

Additionally, Rivalries restaurant in Falmouth is collecting donations of grocery store gift cards on behalf of the Food Pantry. Safe drop off is available between 11:30am and 8:00pm at 2 Hat Trick Drive. Call 747-4020 upon arrival for instructions. 

New Initiatives

Earth Day Logo

Earth Month 2020

The Town of Falmouth’s Recycling and Energy Advisory Committee (REAC) and Conservation Commission (FCC), along with Falmouth Open SpaceMaine AudubonFalmouth Land Trust, and Falmouth Memorial Library have joined forces to mark Earth Day's 50th anniversary with a month-long virtual celebration. The Earth Day Planning Group formed in January to organize a slate of activities, presentations, author talks, film screenings, hikes, book clubs, tree plantings, clean-up days, and other community events to kick off on Earth Day, April 22, 2020, and continue through May 22. However, the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated an immediate change of plans. The Earth Day Network, an organization that grew out of the first Earth Day in 1970 and promotes Earth Day globally, shifted their plans to a digital celebration, inspiring the Planning Group to follow suit.

A whole month of virtual events and fun activities have been assembled to get residents active, engaged, and safely celebrating our planet. Activities include attending a virtual film festival, planting seeds in the garden, taking up bird watching, enjoying virtual park tours, reading nature-related literature and poetry, and listening to Zoom lectures. Check out our Earth Month 2020 online calendar and let the celebrations begin! 

Special thanks to our sponsor: OceanView Logo


Compost Bin

Public Works Offers Compost Delivery

The Falmouth Public Works Department has a supply of screened organic compost for sale this spring. Compost can be beneficial when used to provide additional nutrients for vegetable gardens, perennial bushes, flowers, plants, and your lawn. The cost of compost is $20 per cubic yard.  Note: Compost is not available for pickup at Public Works.

Also, now is a good time to start your own backyard composting!! Falmouth Public Works also has backyard composters for sale. The cost of a backyard composter is $56.00. The “Earth Machine” (shown above) converts, grass, leaves, and table scraps into an abundant supply of rich garden soil. Large 80-gallon capacity with easy, snap-together assembly. Assembled dimensions are 33” x 35”.  Made of recycled plastic.

During this time, the Town is providing delivery of both compost and backyard composters to Falmouth residents. Pick up is not available. Call 699-5370 (Mon.-Thur., 7:00am to 4:30pm) to set up delivery and arrange payment. At this time, the Town is only accepting credit card payments over the phone.


silverlinings logo

#silverlinings campaign

Falmouth Community Programs is working hard to help residents stay active and engaged and to make staying safe at home a little more enjoyable. To that end we are pleased to launch our #silverlinings campaign. We are posting uplifting positive stories to our Facebook page and the Town’s new Instagram account @MyFavoriteFalmouth. Share with us your stories and photos of how you and your neighbors are coping, helping others, getting things done, and finding many silver linings or small moments of joy during this unprecedented and difficult time. 

How can you participate?

  1. E-mail us your stories or photos and give us permission to share at: [email protected]
  2. Tag @Falmouth Parks & Community Programs on all your silver linings posts on Facebook
  3. Tag @MyFavoriteFalmouth on Instagram when you share silver linings photos
  4. Don’t forget the hashtags! #silverlinings, #covidcoping, #MyFavoriteFalmouth, #FalmouthME

Living Lawns Logo

Living Lawns Education Campaign

The Falmouth Conservation Commission, in collaboration with Falmouth’s Energy and Sustainability Office and the Cumberland County Soil and Water Conservation District, have launched the Living Lawns education campaign to share healthy lawn care practices with residents. Over the next several weeks, the Town will post healthy lawn care tips and tricks including requests for your lawn care provider, seasonal growing advice, soil care, and more on social media and in the Falmouth Focus Newsletter.

  • Tip #1: Rake! It's best to give the lawn time to warm up, dry out and start waking up from dormancy before raking it. So, wait until the ground has thawed, and your lawn begins to turn green before you start to rake grass in spring. Spring raking removes lingering fall leaves and grass blades that didn't survive winter. Left alone, these dead blades add to your lawn's thatch layer. Raking also loosens matted grass clumps caused by snow mold, which can smother new growth. Use a spring-tine rake with a strong upward pull to remove dead grass.
  • Tip #2: Thatch? What’s that? Thatch is a layer of dead and living grass shoots, stems and roots that shows up between the soil and the grass blades in your lawn. Thatch build-up starts when the turf produces organic debris faster than it can be broken down. A good thatch layer is a half-inch thick or less. Some thatch helps protect the roots, but excessive thatch prevents moisture, oxygen and nutrients from penetrating the soil. Dethatching isn't recommended in the spring during the transition between dormancy and active growth because at this time the energy and nutrient stores in grass roots are low. But detaching is a good thing to plan for come fall if your lawn needs it.

Have healthy lawn care questions or tips you would like to share? E-mail Kimberly Darling at [email protected].


MyFavoriteFalmouth logo

My Favorite Falmouth

During Falmouth’s 300th anniversary in 2018, the Town of Falmouth asked residents to consider: How do we understand our hometown? How do we perceive our community? Which places speak to us? Which landscapes define us? Where or what is our favorite Falmouth? Now, as Maine commemorates 200 years of statehood, MyFavoriteFalmouth has moved to Instagram! Join us by sharing your favorite Falmouth photos, art, and stories. Follow us at:  https://www.instagram.com/myfavoritefalmouth. Tag #MyFavoriteFalmouth, #falmouthme, or e-mail submissions to: [email protected].

Upcoming Meetings 

Town Council Virtual Meeting, April 27, 7:00pm

The Falmouth Town Council will conduct a virtual meeting using emergency legislation, Sec. G-1 MRSA §403-A, that allows cities and towns to conduct meetings online. The Town will use “Zoom” to conduct this meeting. This application will allow attendees to connect via computer or phone. A meeting link and phone instructions will be provided in advance of the meeting via the Town website homepage and E-Alerts that will allow you to join the meeting via computer or phone, as well as, a phone number to dial in. An agenda can be found here. Check out our Guide to Participating in Virtual Public Meetings.  If you have questions, please call (207) 699-5329. 


Board of Zoning Appeals, April 28, 6:30pm

On Tuesday, April 28, 2020, at 6:30 pm, the Falmouth Board of Zoning Appeals will conduct a virtual meeting using emergency legislation, Sec. G-1 MRSA §403-A, that allows cities and towns to conduct meetings online. The BZA will use “Zoom” to conduct this meeting. The link to join the meeting via computer and phone instructions will be posted the day of the meetingVisit our new information page here on how to participate in virtual public meetings. Follow this Link to see the Agenda. 

Please e-mail Lisa Sangillo at [email protected] with questions or if you need assistance participating via zoom. Ms. Sangillo will be unavailable to assist during the 30 minutes prior to the start of the meeting as she will be participating in the meeting.


Public Hearing on the FY20-21 Budget, April 29, 7:00pm

At the April 13 Town Council meeting, the Council voted to schedule a public hearing regarding the FY2020-2021 budget for both Town and schools to take place on Wednesday, April 29 at 7:00pm via Zoom. The public is encouraged to provide input on the budget during this public hearing. Items under consideration include significant staffing increases for Falmouth Fire-EMS. In order to minimize the impact that this will have on property taxes, the budget includes significant reductions in capital projects/purchases along with not filling some vacant positions and the elimination of originally proposed staffing in other departments. The Council will consider increasing mooring fees at Town Landing and raising the price of Town trash bags to better align with actual waste disposal costs. The public hearing is an opportunity for residents to weigh in on the proposed budget and accompanying fee increases. The proposed budget can be found online at: https://www.falmouthme.org/finance/pages/fy-20-21-budget. The meeting agenda can be found here. A link to attend the Zoom meeting will be forthcoming via our website and E-Alerts. Check out our Guide to Participating in Virtual Public Meetings.


Special Town Council Virtual Meeting, April 30, 7:00pm

A special virtual meeting of the Falmouth Town Council will be held Thursday, April 30, 2020 at 7:00 pm using emergency legislation, Sec. G-1 MRSA §403-A, that allows cities and towns to conduct meetings online. At this meeting, the Council will consider an order to adopt the fiscal year 2020-2021 General Fund budget and associated budget orders. An agenda can be found here.  The Town will use “Zoom” to conduct this meeting. The link to join the meeting via computer and phone instructions will be posted in advance of the meeting. Check out our Guide to Participating in Virtual Public Meetings.


Planning Board, Tuesday, May 5, 6:30pm

The Planning Board will conduct a virtual meeting on Tuesday, May 5 at 6:30pm via Zoom, using emergency legislation, Sec. G-1 MRSA §403-A, that allows cities and towns to conduct meetings online. The agenda will be posted in advance of the meeting. The link to join the meeting via computer and phone instructions will be posted the day of the meetingVisit our new information page here on how to participate in virtual public meetings.


At the Most Recent Town Council Meeting...

The Town Council held a meeting on April 13 via Zoom. 

  • The Council approved a permanent food service establishment license and a new liquor license for Bueno Loco.
  • The Council passed an Ordinance to amend the Code of Ordinances Division II-19-1-2 and Division II-19-1-1, Sections 19-11, 19-13, 19-14, and 19-19 relative to kennels.
  • The Council approved an order to request the Town Manager to suspend the townwide property revaluation project.
  • The Council approved an order to authorize the Town Manager to extend the property tax payment due date to June 30, 2020 if the Governor issues an executive order to enable such action.
  • Town and School Department staff provided an update on the FY21 Town and School Department budgets.
  • The Council discussed the FY21 budget development process and approved an order to reschedule the public hearing on the FY21 Municipal and School Department Budget for April 29, 2020.
  • The Council discussed two outstanding land acquisition items: 80 acres of undeveloped land on Falmouth Road and the Falmouth Land Trust’s request for the Town to contribute funding towards the purchase of a 52-acre property on the corner of Johnson Road and Route 1. Councilors remained interested in both of the acquisition items but expressed concern regarding the current economic uncertainty and the revised FY21 budget. The Council expressed interest in revisiting these items in 60 to 90 days. The Land Trust and the Town will negotiate extending the purchase deadlines with the respective sellers.
  • The Council discussed the status of the community vision and values project. The Council decided to suspend the project due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Council will check-in on this topic over the summer and will discuss possible social distancing engagement strategies with Future iQ.
  • The Council discussed COVID-19 updates and issues.

Take Note

 

Construction Cone

Route 100 Construction

Construction work on Route 100 (Gray Road) has resumed. You can receive weekly e-mail updates about the Route 100 Project and its impact on traffic by subscribing to the Route 100 Project E-Alert at: www.falmouthme.org/subscribe

MaineDOT Construction On Lunt Road

MaineDOT work will continue on the Lunt Road Bridge from Monday, April 27 through Wednesday April 29 resulting in a one lane road closure over the bridge between 7:00am and 6:00pm daily.


 

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Stay Informed with the Town of Falmouth Website and E-Alerts

There are many Town committees and boards that meet on a regular basis. The events calendar on the Town of Falmouth website homepage lists upcoming board, committee, and Town Council meetings. We send E-Alerts when Town Council, Planning Board, and Board of Zoning Appeals meeting agendas and minutes are posted to the website. Subscribe via E-Alerts to those that most interest you. Agendas and Minutes for these meetings are also posted online. Town Council, Planning Board, 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. Board of Zoning Appeals Meetings are not broadcast live but can be viewed online within 24 hours after the meeting. E-Alerts allows you to subscribe to specific e-mail 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

207-781-5253
www.falmouthme.org

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