COVID- 19 & Town Services Update April 7, 2020
The Assessor Board Meeting for tomorrow Wednesday, April 7, 2020 at 4:00 p.m. has been cancelled.
COVID-19 & Town Services Update April 2, 2020
In accordance with the Governor's Executive Order THE WINTERPORT TOWN OFFICE WILL REMAIN CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC FOR WALK-IN CUSTOMERS UNTIL AT LEAST THURSDAY, APRIL 30, 2020. We will continue to monitor the situation and may decrease or extend this closure, if necessary. Closure of other public buildings and suspension of other programs will extend until at least April 30, 2020 as well. I encourage all residents to keep checking the Town's website and Facebook page for updates.
Victoria Grant Civic Center- The Victoria Grant Civic Center will be closed for rentals, organizations, and other events until at least April 30, 2020. This postponement may extend beyond that date therefore keep checking the Town's website and Facebook Page for updates.
Transfer Station- FROM THURSDAY, MARCH 26, 2020 UNTIL MONDAY, APRIL 13, 2020, THE TRANSFER STATION WILL BE OPEN REGULAR HOURS FOR THE DISPOSAL OF RECYCLING AND HOUSEHOLD RESIDENTIAL TRASH ONLY. Demolition Debris, Metals, Freon, electronic wastes such as televisions, light bulbs, and batteries will not be accepted during this time period. The transfer station will remain open with regular business hours, however, personnel will be practicing social distancing, wearing mask and gloves, and will not be able to assist with unloading trash or other items at this time.
Town Council Meeting- The Winterport Town Council will meet remotely using Zoom on Tuesday, April 7th, 2020 at 7:00 PM. A copy of the complete agenda along with information on how the public can listen and participate in the meeting can be found under the Government Tab on the Town's website in the Town Council Minutes and Agenda section. Please contact the Town Office at 223-5055 if you have any questions regarding this meeting, how to participate in the meeting or if you would like to submit written comments.
We encourage residents to visit the town and state websites to make tax payments, re-register vehicles, obtain licenses, and process other transactions that can be done online. If the service that you need can not be found online, please contact the Town Office Staff at 207-223-5055 and they will assist you to the best of their abilities. Additional accommodations will be made on a case-by-case basis. For the time being, staff will be available to answer calls, respond to emails, and process transactions through the mail, whenever possible. A locked drop-box at the Town Office has been installed to assist customers who need to make tax payments or drop off other paperwork to be processed.
VEHICLE AND TRAILER REGISTRATIONS – Motor vehicles, all-terrain vehicles, watercrafts, snowmobiles, and trailers required to be registered in the State that expire during the period of the State of Emergency declared by the Governor in accordance with Title 37-B, section 742 due to the outbreak of COVID-19 is deemed extended until 30 days following the termination of the state of emergency. This does NOT apply to private sales. If you have obtained a new vehicle through a private sale then you can contact the Town Office and we will mail you a form that you can temporarily use to present to law enforcement, if requested.
DOG LICENSES – A license of a dog required to be licensed in the State that expires during the period of the state of emergency declared by the Governor in accordance with Title 37-B, section 742 due to the outbreak of COVID-19 is deemed extended until 30 days following the termination of the state of emergency.
REGISTRATION AND LICENSE FEES DUE – The extensions granted pursuant to the declaration of a Civil emergency does not change the registration or licensing interval for any vehicle or trailer or dog for which the registration or license period was extended, and all registration or licensing fees that would have been due but for the extension are due within 30 days of the termination of the state of emergency.
ONLINE REGISTRATION – Residents of the State of Maine can renew the registration of a motor vehicle, trailer, all-terrain vehicle or watercraft online, regardless of whether the municipality in which that resident resides participates in the online registration service maintained by the bureau or department, for the duration of the state of emergency and 30 days following the termination of the state of emergency. Hunting and Fishing licenses can also be obtained on-line as well as Vital records such as birth, death, and marriage certificates. The following links are being provided for your convenience.
Motor Vehicle and Trailer Renewals:
Hunting, Fishing, ATV and Boat Renewals
Vital Records, Birth, Death, and Marriage Certificates
OTHER TOWN SERVICES:
TAX PAYMENTS can be mailed to the Winterport Town Office at PO Box 559, Winterport, ME 04496 during this closure to the public. You can call the Town Office at 223-5055 or email the town office at firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain from staff the exact amount due at the time of the mailing of your payment(s).
Public Safety- Emergency needs for police, fire, and EMS should be treated as normal by calling dispatch for assistance.
Assessing and Code Enforcement- Individuals that need to speak with the Town's Assessors' Agent and Code Enforcement Officer should call the town office at 223-5055. She will be processing as many transactions as possible via phone, email, and mail.
General Assistance- Persons seeking General Assistance should call the Town Office at 223-5055. Applications will be processed over the phone and through the mail.
Recreation- All recreation programs are postponed until at least April 30th.
Neighbors' Cupboard located on the lower level of the Victoria Grant Civic Center will be open on Wednesday, April 8th, 2020 from 9:00 AM until 10 AM.
We encourage residents to stay up to date on information. Additional resources are included in the links below:
ASSESSOR'S NOTE TO THE COMMUNITY
State of Maine property tax law requires all property which is subject to property taxation be assessed in accordance with the status of that property on April 1st each year. Property tax is to be assessed by the municipality where that property is located, according to its value and to whoever owns it, all as of April 1 each year. To that end, each year all Tax Assessors and/or their agents generally hit the road around April 1st trying to determine what has changed from the prior year. In towns like ours that do not have any building permit or intent-to-improve system, that work has to be done by observation and visitation. This means driving the roads and looking for new buildings and additions to buildings including garages, barns and the like. In order for property taxes to be assessed fairly, all property must be taxed at or about the same level of market value.
In light of our concerns regarding COVID-19 and how it is impacting our citizens, the Winterport Board of Assessors has asked our new Assessors’ Agent to temporarily hold back from making her annual property visits. At a time when social distancing is being encouraged for all, we do not want out citizens to feel put upon with a visit from our Agent. However, we would ask that property owners who have made substantial improvements to their property to be forthcoming regarding any new construction and when it has occurred. We ask that you contact the town office to let us know what construction and improvements you have made over this past year. When the authorities tell us it is safe to resume work as normal, the Agent will be back out on the road to continue her work by visiting and documenting new properties.
As of today, we have made the decision to hold off on any direct property visits for at least two weeks. Our previous Agent, who retired last fall, had been with us for 20 years and had a pretty good grasp of the town and what was on the ground. Our new Agent will still be driving our roads, trying to get familiar with our town and making notes as to where she must visit in the future when things return to normal.
Thank you for your patience and understanding, and if you have been made uncomfortable in any way by her visit, we apologize. If you have any questions, please contact the Town Office and they will take your phone number and either myself or the new Assessors’ Agent will call you back.
Tom Skratt, Chair Winterport Board of Assessors