Category Archives: General Town News

This is about Town Government news

Kittery names ‘outside’ interim police chief

https://www.google.com/amp/www.seacoastonline.com/news/20180723/kittery-names-outside-interim-police-chief%3ftemplate=ampart

Read the full story above by Hadley Barndollar

KITTERY, Maine — As the announcement comes that a retired Maine police chief will serve as interim chief of the Kittery Police Department while the search for a permanent successor takes place, strong support has developed for an internal candidate to get the final nod. This follows the turnover of three chiefs hired from “outside” of the town over the last seven years.

Don O’Halloran, who spent 26 years leading Old Town’s police department preceded by 20 years on the Bangor force, has been tapped as interim police chief, Town Manager Kendra Amaral confirmed Monday.

 

 

 

 

 

There is a lot more to this story so visual the above link.

Since the police chief vacancy arose once again, some have expressed support for longtime department member Sgt. Gary Eaton to get the job. Eaton was appointed as acting chief on July 6 directly following Soucy’s resignation and is a 38-year Kittery Police Department veteran, having started with the department in 1980 as a patrolman, and then promoted to sergeant in 1987. Eaton has already expressed that he will apply for the job vacancy when it’s posted.

Visit the Portsmouth Herald for the rest of this story by clicking on the above link.

Sgt.Gary Eaton

Kittery deploys technology to slow speeders

As a result of citizens concerns about speeding vehicles, action by the Kittery Town Council and the Town manager Kendra Amaral, the town has deployed three Speed Radar Pole Signs. One sign kit was obtained with a grant and the others purchased by Kittery.

They were deployed last week by Acting Chief Gary Eaton at the direction of the Town Manager in three critical areas. State Road by the Lions club, Rte 103 (Pepperell Rd.) and Rte. 236 before Dana Ave.

It is the hope that additional signage will be sought and deployed in areas of high priorities as funding becomes available.

From Wikipedia, some of the following information was obtained.

A radar speed sign is an interactive sign, generally constructed of a series of LEDs, that displays vehicle speed as motorists approach. The purpose of radar speed signs is to slow cars down by making drivers aware when they are driving at speeds above the posted limits. They are used as a traffic calming device in addition to or instead of physical devices such as speed humps, speed cushions, speed tables, and speed bumps

Signs are available in a range of costs with a variety of different features. Manufacturers of radar speed signs abound, ranging in style and features from a basic inexpensive sign to more sophisticated signs with myriad features to help analyze data and improve results. Pole mounted signs that combine speed display with variable message capability are often used in school zones, eliminating the trailer’s “footprint”.

Standard signs have stationary block letters that display the words “your speed”. More advanced models include variable messages such as Your Speed, Speed Limit, and Slow Down, which can be programmed based on motorist speed.

Many manufacturers offer optional solar power, which allows the signs to be powered via solar energy with rechargeable batteries included for nighttime operation.

RTE 236

Some of the features offered on the higher end signs include focused viewing systems to avoid distractions for motorists in other lanes, vehicle data collection, programmable software that allows you to determine sign behavior, and/or access via portable devices such as Bluetooth or PDAs.

Studies conducted both in the UK and in the US have found radar speed signs to effectively slow traffic down.[2][3] Although the overall speed reductions are generally less than those resulting from physical measures, the signs have the greatest effect on those drivers that are exceeding the posted speed, or traveling within speed transition zones.[4]

Kittery Point Rte. 103

The signs were most effective on streets where vehicles were driving more than 10 mph above the posted speed limit. In the Bellevue study, streets where signs were installed continued to experience speed reductions even two years after the signs were installed.[

After the recent deployment on State Road, Kittery residents including a local resident Dominic Goupil stated “it was immediate obvious that many of the cars heading north approaching the signs reduced their speed.” This is evolving process and the hope is that Kittery continues to add these through out the Town. These work, and helps our police department and keep our streets safer. Many times people forget or daydream and the flashing strobe lights remind them they need to pay attention.

In Kittery Point, one resident said “you could see brake lights as soon as the sign began to flash.”

This is an example of Kittery being proactive. Other Kittery initiatives are being pursued such as changing all the street lights to LED to help significantly reduce our monthly $9000.00 street light bill and lowers Kittery’s carbon footprint.

More to come.

Kittery names Sergeant Gary Eaton Acting Chief

http://www.seacoastonline.com/news/20180706/kittery-names-eaton-acting-police-chief

from an article in the Portsmouth Herald

 

KITTERY, Maine — Thirty-eight-year Police Department veteran Sgt. Gary Eaton was appointed as the town’s acting chief effective Friday, Town Manager Kendra Amaral announced.

The interim chief pick comes after Police Chief James Soucy tendered his resignation, citing “personal family reasons.” Soucy had been chief of the department since May 2016, and previously served as a captain in Manchester, New Hampshire. Soucy said he was “certainly honored” to serve as Kittery’s police chief, and proud of the community efforts the department implemented during his tenure. Amaral said the town wishes him will in his future

Our Kittery note: Gary Eaton is a Kittery native and Traip Academy Graduate.

Read the full story from the above link.

 

 

 

Kittery Police Chief resigns

 

For the full story click the link

http://www.seacoastonline.com/news/20180705/soucy-resigns-as-kittery-police-chief?template=ampart

 

 

 

 

 

 

KITTERY, Maine — Police Chief James Soucy has resigned from his post and will serve his last day on the job Friday.

Town Manager Kendra Amaral said the 26-year law enforcement veteran handed in his resignation two weeks ago, and “needs to leave for personal family reasons.”

 

Kittery councilors at odds over ethics documents

By Hadley Barndollar
hbarndollar@seacoastonline.com

to read the full story click this link.

KITTERY, Maine — The Town Council on Monday shelved a proposed ethics ordinance following the concern of one councilor over an accompanying appendix that presented “a potential First Amendment problem.” The proposal, he claimed, may be a reaction to a lawsuit that cost the town thousands of dollars.

The council previously identified adoption of procedures and a code of ethics as a priority in its annual goals for the 2016-2017 year. The intent was to establish a standard of expectations and requirements for ethical behavior for all municipal officials, including Town Council, board members and employees. The item on Monday’s agenda called for ordainment of Title 15 – Code of Ethics, but after confusion among councilors regarding an accompanying document, a consensus was reached to postpone any decisions until the second meeting in November; after the new Town Council is elected.

to read the rest of the story, click the above link.

Kittery to examine Foreside on-street parking options

to read the full story click here.

http://www.seacoastonline.com/news/20180628/kittery-to-examine-foreside-on-street-parking-options

 

 

KITTERY, Maine – The town is beginning to see potential changes and actions born out of the Foreside Land Use, Parking and Transportation Study, which was released in final draft in February.

At Thursday night’s Planning Board meeting, Planning and Development Director Adam Causey gave an update on what those concepts may be, including re-examining on-street parking in the Foreside, and how time limits affect business employees, for example.

In addition, the town is preparing to distribute surveys to residents and businesses in regards to what they’d like to see in the Foreside. Residential, commercial and public use desires, types of businesses, the possibility of inns and hotels, and parking are among the questions.

 

there is more to this story at the Portsmouth Herald

 

 

Kittery’s bid to reduce summer speed limits stalls

to read the full story, click this link.

http://www.seacoastonline.com/news/20180628/kitterys-bid-to-reduce-summer-speed-limits-stalls

KITTERY, Maine — The town’s pursuit of lower speed limits to slow down summertime drivers cutting through Kittery neighborhoods has hit a roadblock.

The Maine Department of Transportation didn’t respond in the way Kittery officials had hoped after residents and certain Town Council members sought methods to stop drivers from exiting the Maine Turnpike to avoid tourism season gridlock on Interstate 95.

“I’ve hit a little bit of a dead end here,” Town Manager Kendra Amaral told the Town Council Monday night, describing her talks with the Maine DOT.

Amaral said the DOT’s Randy Illian told her most speed changes require a speed study to be conducted, and Kittery likely would not be successful in lowering the speed limits based on the department’s manual of how it determines speed and applicable engineering principles. Amaral said Illian stated if studies were conducted, some posted speeds on Kittery roads may actually increase — the opposite of the town’s intentions.


June 25, 2018 Town Council Agenda

June 25, 2018 Council Chambers

Kittery Town Council

Regular Meeting

6:00 p.m.

Council Package Download link.

1. Call to Order

2. Introductory

3. Pledge of Allegiance

4. Roll Call

5. Agenda Amendment and Adoption

6. Town Manager’s Report

7. Acceptance of Previous Minutes Regular meeting– May 30, 2018

8. Interviews for the Board of Appeals and Planning Board

9. All items involving the town attorney, town engineers, town employees or other town consultants or

requested officials.

a. (060318-1) The Kittery Town Council approves a resolution to recognize the Maine National

Guard for their efforts and contributions to the restoration of Wood Island.

b. (060318-2) The Kittery Town Council moves to receive a presentation from Jen Thayer and

approve her request for a “Little Free Library” to be placed at Inspiration Park.

10. PUBLIC HEARINGS

11. DISCUSSION

a. Discussion by members of the public (three minutes per person)

b. Response to public comment directed to a particular Councilor

c. Chairperson’s response to public comments

12. UNFINISHED BUSINESS

a. (0603-18-3) The Kittery Town Council hereby ordains Title 15 Code of Ethics of the Kittery

Town Code, as presented.

13. NEW BUSINESS

a. Donations/gifts received for Council disposition.

b. The Kittery Town Council moves to approve the disbursement warrants.

14. COUNCILOR ISSUES OR COMMENTS

15. COMMITTEE AND OTHER REPORTS

a. Communications from the Chairperson

16. EXECUTIVE SESSION

(060318-3) The Kittery Town Council moves to go into executive session in accordance with 1

M.R.S. § 405(6) (A) to discuss a personnel matter.

17. ADJOURNMENT

Posted: June 21, 2018

 

Kittery Town Council passes Circuit Breaker for 70+ Seniors

On 5/30/2018, Wednesday Night, the Kittery Town Council passed a circuit breaker program to assist seniors with their property taxes. The Circuit Breaker Proposal was sponsored by Chairman Kenneth Lemont. Ken said he tried to do this as a legislator in Augusta several years ago and worked with former Kittery Councilor and Chairperson Ann Grinnell to implement this in Kittery but it was voted down. The State of Maine later passed the Homestead Exemption act.

Ken said the Town Manager Kendra Amaral deserves most of the credit in the research and by reaching out to other communities who have accomplished the same thing for gather more information, made this proposal go together in such a way it he felt it would now pass. Councilor Matt Brock asked to be sure it was reviewable each year. Well, if was passed and is crafted to be reviewable each year.

The proposal passed 5 to 1. Voting for the proposal was Chairperson Ken Lemont, Vice Chair Chuck Denault, Councilors Jeff Thomson, Jeff Pelletier and Matt Brock. Frank Dennett had voted no and Gary Beers was not present.

Frank Dennett wanted to have certain language and introduced an amendment to the original motion but that failed as well by a 5 to 1 vote.

Keep in mind that there are some limitations and requirements that need to be met .

for more official information, please check with the Town. 207-439-0452

Keeping you informed, you saw it here first. Watch the Town Council reruns on Channel 22 for more information.

 

 

Proposed Property Tax Relief. Kittery Seniors 70+ need to take notice.

OURKITTERY.com keeping you informed!

Intent of this Proposed Amendment is to lower the residential property taxes for our Senior Citizens who are age 70 and above by $1000.00. Please read and familiarize yourself with the Proposed Amendments. Please pay attention to this and as always there is always a public comment. THIS AMENDMENT KEEPS CHANGING SO PAY ATTENTION.

 

ORIGINAL PACKET  4-23-2018 PAGE 98. HAS BEEN SINCE UPDATED.
5-30-2018 MEETING PACKETS PAGE 56. SEE THE DIFFERENCE.

Please pass this Proposed Amendment to all our citizens.
Sponsor of the amendment is Chair Person Kenneth Lemont.  

Feel free to show your support for our seniors: AT THE MEETINGS, DURING PUBLIC COMMENT OR VIA THE TOWN WEBSITE.  IF YOU CAN’T  MAKE IT, HERE ARE YOUR COUNCILOR  EMAIL ADDRESSES. CLICK ON THE NAMES TO SEND THEM AN EMAIL.

CHAIR PERSON KEN LEMONT
VICE CHAIR CHARLES DENAULT 
COUNCILOR JEFFREY THOMSON 
COUNCILOR GARY BEERS
COUNCILOR JEFF PELLETIER
COUNCILOR MATTHEW BROCK
FRANK DENNETT WILL BE GIVEN ANY EMAILS RECEIVED.

PLEASE READ.

TOWN COUNCIL AGENDA MAY 30th, 2018

You can express yourself during the 3 minutes Public Comment

11. DISCUSSION a. Discussion by members of the public (three minutes per person) b. Response to public comment directed to a particular Councilor c. Chairperson’s response to public comments

13 c. (050318-10) The Kittery Town Council hereby ordains amendments to Title 13.04 – Taxpayer Relief Program. Sponsored by Chairman Kenneth Lemont.

 REPORT TO TOWN  COUNCIL

Meeting Date:       May 30, 2018 6:00 P.M.
From:                   Kendra Amaral, Town Manager
Subject:                 Property Tax Relief and Collection Package
Councilor Sponsor: Chairperson Kenneth Lemont

UPDATED
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

We are proposing the Council incorporate both 36 MRS §6232 Municipal Property Tax Assistance program and §6271 Tax Deferral for Senior Citizens into our Title 13 under the heading of Taxpayer Relief Programs.

We are also proposing an update to our policy for the collection of unpaid taxes. The purpose of this revision is to bring our policy in line with current state law, create a formal process for establishing payment plans, allow for write-offs of minor amounts owed, and clarify the process for foreclosure.

BACKGROUND

Councilor Lemont requested that the administration look into the Municipal Property Tax Assistance program in 36 MRS §6232. In the process of researching the program, we began reviewing our unpaid taxes from prior years, our policy for deferral and collection of unpaid property taxes, and other tax reduction and deferral options available within MRS.

STATEMENT OF NEED

Total taxes in lien currently exceeds $330,000. In some cases, tax liens are more than five years old. The value of the liens range from $0.37 to over $13,000.

We are proposing a package of amendments to ordinance and policy that address the matter of unpaid property taxes from multiple angles. We believe this package balances options for those in need with the town’s obligation to collect on committed taxes in a fair, consistent, and predictable manner for our property taxpayers.

The Municipal Property Tax Assistance program, as proposed, allows for a credit or reduction of property taxes for residents 70 years of age or older with specific income limitations, and a demonstrated 10-year history of Kittery residence. We are proposing the credit be up to $1,000 annually per household. This is modeled on other communities in Maine that have successfully adopted and implemented the state law. The program is proposed to be funded by exposed undesignated reserve (unencumbered surplus) by ballot vote each year.   The Council has approved of a town warrant article for up to $50,000 for this program in Fiscal Year 2019.

The Tax Deferral for Senior Citizens program allows seniors to defer their property taxes until such time as the property is sold, transferred, or no longer occupied by the qualifying resident. The taxes will accrue with interest and be due when a qualifying event occurs. This does not require funding, as

the taxes represent deferred revenue.

MEETING DATE: APRIL 23, 2018 – UPDATED MAY 30, 2018

We are also proposing an update to our Policy for collection of unpaid taxes. This policy will allow us to write off negligible amounts (example $0.37). It will also make the process of managing liens more straightforward allowing us to work with taxpayers to address outstanding taxes before they balloon. With an approved policy, we will seek to implement it on an annual basis, so as to establish a consistent and predictable calendar of action each year.

It is understood that LD1629 recently came out of the Taxation Legislative Committee with a vote of “Ought to Pass with Amendment”. If passed we will update our policies to reflect the new state law effecting persons over 65 with delinquent taxes.

LD1629 has been carried over to a special session, however it is unclear if the special session will occur or if the Legislature will chose to act on this particular bill in special session.

The amended bill requires a municipality to sell by real estate broker any property foreclosed on if 1) the owner was 65 or older on the date the tax lien was filed, and 2) was declared a homestead, and 3) the owner has an income of less than $40,000 in the prior year, and 4) the value of liquid assets of the residents is less than $50,000 for an individual and $75,000 for two or more individuals in the household.

The proceeds of the sale, less taxes, fees, penalties, interest, and other charges owed to the municipality, would be turned over to the prior owner.

If the municipality cannot engage a real estate agent or the property does not sell by listing through an engaged real estate agent within six months, the municipality may treat the disposal as it would other foreclosed property.

UPDATE

Councilor Dennett requested two changes to the package presented. The first is to address the scenario where a taxpayer may own sufficient assets to meet their property tax obligation yet still qualify based on income. An asset limit has been added to the ordinance to attempt to address this (see highlighted).

The second change is related to the proposed Policy for Collection of Unpaid Property Taxes. Upon reviewing with municipal legal services, it has been noted that the withholding of a building or other administrative permit due to delinquent taxes is not advised through policy. It was noted that some communities, through ordinance, require payment of delinquent taxes prior to issuance of a permit or license. There is presently no known challenge in court to these ordinances. The proposal to withhold administrative permits has been removed from the policy.

We do intend to note with applicants when there are delinquent taxes and seek payment as best possible. I believe it beneficial to advise the Council of delinquent property taxes for property owners seeking license and permit seeking approval from the Council.

PROPOSED SOLUTION/RECOMMENDATION

Approve as presented.

KITTERY TOWN CODE TITLE 13, PROPOSED AMENDMENT –

TAX RELIEF PROGRAMS
DRAFT: April 23, 2018

1     AN ORDINANCE relating to the municipality’s authority for Town governance to give due and
2     proper attention to its many demands pursuant to the Town Charter, Federal law, and Maine
3     Revised Statutes, and more particularly where set forth in Maine Revised Statutes Title 30-A,
4     Municipalities and Counties.
5     WHEREAS, the Kittery Town Council is authorized to enact this Ordinance, as specified in
6     Sections 1.01 and 2.07(3) of the Town Charter; 30-A MRS §3001, 36 MRS §6232 and §6271,
7     pursuant to its powers that authorize the town, under certain circumstances, to provide for the
8     public health, welfare, morals, and safety, and does not intend for this Ordinance to conflict with
9     any existing state or federal laws; and
10     WHEREAS, the Kittery Town Council seeks to provide access to property tax relief programs
11     where allowed by state law for those residents who qualify; and
12     WHEREAS, the annual implementation of the programs will be conditioned upon annual funding
13     being appropriated;
14     NOW THEREFORE, IN ACCORDANCE WITH TITLES 30-A MRS §3001, 36 MRS §6232 and
15     §6271, AND TOWN CHARTER §2.14, THE TOWN OF KITTERY HEREBY ORDAINS
16     AMENDMENT TO TITLE 13 OF THE TOWN CODE, AS PRESENTED.
17     INTRODUCED and read in a public session of the Town Council on the       day of             ,
18     20   , by:                                 {NAME} Motion to approve by Councilor
19                                           {NAME}, as seconded by Councilor                                   {NAME} and
20     passed by a vote of             .
21     THIS ORDINANCE IS DULY AND PROPERLY ORDAINED by the Town Council of Kittery,
22     Maine on the           day of             , 20   , {NAME},                                   , Chairperson
23     Attest: {NAME},                                   Town Clerk