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TOWN OF EDGECOMB MINUTES OF THE SELECTMEN'S MEETING
August 23, 2004

Attended: Frank Perkins, Rodd Hopper, Jo Cameron; Erin Cooperrider, chair, Planning Board; Mike Smith; Tom Toye

MINUTES of August 16, 2004: accepted with amendment/.

  1. CORRESPONDENCE:
    1. County Commissioner, District 3: notice of caucus to select Budget Advisory Board, Thursday, Sept. 9, 7:00 p.m.
    2. BRRDD bill: first quarterly payment, $21,930.25.
    3. H.C. Crooker bills: only one of a sequence of invoices has been paid; referred to Town Clerk
  1. OLD BUSINESS:
    1. Firehouse Lighting: Frank has conferred with an electrician who advises we research other places such warning systems have been installed, to give him guidance. The plan involves electrical drops off existing telephone poles. Frank will investigate CED’s CDBGs, grants to cover local safety equipment, and also to cover building a new fire station.
    2. Hibbert ad: The bill from the Boothbay Register has not yet been received.
    3. Lily Pond Water Quality: Frank has not yet run pollution checks on the pond; it is only 13 feet deep, too shallow to pump for a Town water supply. We should follow up with DEP about a watershed survey.
    4. TIF, Gibbons contract: Tom Toye distributed copies of Gibbons’ proposed contract between the Town of Edgecomb and himself, and his response to it, rejecting it in full, specifying the items he is prepared to pay for, up to only $10,000 of costs incurred. Discussion with Gibbons by phone: It should be agreed upon by all parties, the items this amount should cover; that any costs over the limit must come out of TIF revenues before payments from the TIF are made to Mr. Toye.
    5. Abatement Policy: It was voted unanimously to accept the model as Town of Edgecomb policy. The accompanying form must be edited to conform to Edgecomb’s needs. This form is geared to Revaluation; “Infirmity/Poverty” is recognized as a valid reason for applying for a tax abatement, according to existing tax code.
    6. Appointments, 2004-2005: We still need two committee members for the Schmid Preserve Committee, and a replacement member for the Appeals Board.
    7. Adelphia: The Lincoln County Cable Consortium has agreed to give a preliminary denial, effective Sept. 12. It was voted unanimously to send a letter to that effect directly to Adelphia ASAP. (See attachment). The issues of an Administrative Hearing (the Consortium has been advised to hire attorneys well-versed in cable law, at fees between $20,000 and $25,000, a cost to be shared by the nine towns on a per/subscriber basis). The Consortium must also extend Copen & Lind’s contract.
  2. NEW BUSINESS:
    1. Sympathies to Claudia Coffin for the death of her husband Stan: Jo will get a card, and ask if flowers are acceptable, or a donation to a cause of the Coffin family’s choice.
    2. Parsons Point Road incident: Jo reported a strange occurrence which has interrupted the Road Department’s work on that road. An unknown man moved the Griffins’ gravel truck and deliberately threw the keys to it into the underbrush, hence lost. The Road Commissioner called the Sheriff’s Department who sent a Deputy to apprehend the man. We await developments.
    3. Block Grants: See Old Business A. above. Frank will pursue all such possibilities.
    4. Tax Reform: It was agreed to respond to the City of Brewer’s “Call to Arms” by way of MMA, by copying and completing a form to that effect, together with the Edgecomb School Committee.
    5. Abatements: The following abatements have been granted in order to correct errors in the commitment process:
      Real Property:
      Anthony Lallis, $1,942.50; this property is owned by the Town.
      Ernest and Ronald Pinkham, $380.10; this property is owned by the Town.
      Personal Property:
      IKON Office Solutions, Inc., $17.22; this company is no longer located in Edgecomb
      DFS-SPV L.P., $8.77; this company is no longer located in Edgecomb.
  3. OTHER BUSINESS:
    1. Mike Smith has requested a release from liability for the time he spends building the extension to the Fire Station. The Town should have a release as well, in case of any injury incurred in this construction. Jo will ask Barry Johnston about insurance coverage, and will consult David Soule, Jr. on this. The project will begin Sept. 12.
    2. Erin Cooperrider asked if municipal properties are subject to the same standards and permitting processes as required of general construction. She cited the C.E.O.’s opinion that “we should lead by example.” It was agreed that such properties are so subject.
    3. Erin Cooperrider described a new enterprise, “Rocky Coast Partners,” a group home for young people with developmental disabilities who have finished basic education (high school) and need shelter. Her firm, Community Housing of Maine, will do the work on a CED CDBG; the facility is expected to serve the Peninsula, Edgecomb included.
  4. WARRANT: None
  5. EXECUTIVE SESSION: None.
  6. ADJOURNMENT: Adjourned at 6:00 p.m .

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EDGECOMB ABATEMENT POLICY

  1. A written application must be completed for each abatement request. The application must indicate the type of abatement requested.1
  2. Applications for abatement must be submitted within 185 days from the date of commitment. The date of commitment is generally a week before the mailing of the tax bills.
  3. The burden of proof is upon the taxpayer. The taxpayer must show that the property is over-assessed in relation to other properties in town. The legal assumption is that the assessment is valid. A person disputing the assessment must prove indisputably that:
    1. The property is over-valued; the assessed value over-estimates the just value. 2
    2. The relationship between the just value and the assessed value of the property differs from the relationship of the average valuation of other properties to their just values, or that the property was not assessed in the same manner as similar properties.
    3. Factual errors or incorrect calculations exist on the property record card that have resulted in an erroneous valuation.
  4. The application for abatement shall not be deemed to be complete, and will not be considered, until appropriate documentation supporting a contention of over-valuation has been presented.
  5. In the case of factual error on the property record card (size, age, number of buildings, etc.), a copy of the card is sufficient documentation. For cases where the factual physical representation of the property is correct, appropriate documentation can be either or both of the following:
    1. independent appraisal (a complete copy of the appraisal must be submitted.)
    2. current assessments of at least three similar properties that show the subject to be inequitably assessed.
  6. In all cases, the Assessors’ Agent must be provided an opportunity for an interior inspection of the property’s structures. This opportunity must be provided even in cases where only the land value is in dispute. The valuation resulting from this inspection, either increased or decreased, will become the value for the following tax year.
  7. In order to reduce potential interest costs, tax payment on any disputed tax assessment should be made on or before the normal due dates. The late payment of any taxes not abated will be subject to interest at the town’s normal rate. Interest will accrue from the normal due date to the date of actual payment.

1 Abatements may be requested for any one of the following reasons

error in valuation: the land, building or total valuation is being contested.
illegality, irregularity or error in assessment: ownership, tax status or exemption qualification is being contested.
infirmity or poverty: abatement requests for inability to pay should be submitted directly to the municipal officers.

2 “The term, ‘just value’ is essentially synonymous with fair market value...”

MRSA Title 36, section 848-A states, “In any proceedings relating to a protested assessment, it shall be sufficient defense of such assessment that it is accurate within reasonable limits of practicality, except when proven deviation of 10% or more from the relevant assessment ratio of the municipality . . . exists. This provision means that the assessment is deemed to be ‘reasonable’ if it falls within 10% of the proven market value. If the town’s assessment ratio is other than 100%, then the assessment, adjusted by the ratio, is deemed reasonable if it falls within 10% of proven market value.”

[ADELPHIA: ....... PRELIMINARY DENIAL]

Ms. Shelley Winchenbach
Government Relations Manager
Adelphia Cable Communications
83 Anthony Avenue
Augusta, Maine 04330

August 23, 2004

Dear Ms. Winchenbach,

This letter is the official notification to Adelphia Communications Corporation (“Adelphia”) that on August 23, 2004 the board of Selectmen of the Town of Edgecomb, Maine, as the issuing Authority, pursuant to Section 626(c)(1) of the Cable Act, took a vote that will become effective on September 12, 2004 to preliminarily deny Adelphia’s proposal for renewal of its cable license.

Sincerely,

signed: Joanna M. Cameron

___________________________

For the Board of Selectmen,Town of Edgecomb, Maine

cc: Tom Wilson, Director of Government Affairs, Adelphia Communications CorporationCharlotte Davenhill, Co-chair, Lincoln County Cable ConsortiumTom Handel, Co-chair, Lincoln County Cable ConsortiumThe Towns of Alna, Bristol, Damariscotta, Dresden, Edgecomb, Newcastle, Nobleboro, Waldoboro and Westport Island, MECopen & Lind Cable/Access Consultants

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