Category Archives: Opinion

In my Opinion: The importance of property tax relief for seniors

Laura Jane Sturgis

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I was in favor of the tax relief program for seniors in our town and was very disappointed when it was defeated by only four votes.  There are many seniors, I am sure, who live in our town and struggle with paying their real estate taxes.  While they live in their own home, circumstances in their lives have limited their savings, including living on a fixed income.  If they are teachers and widowed, they receive not a penny from their spouse’s social security.  Often they still have mortgage payments to meet as well as the upkeep on their homes.  I highly doubt that people who have plenty of assets would be applying for the tax relief.  At the meeting, I noticed that many of the people who attended and voted against the article were people who are financially very comfortable.  There was an income, age and residence requirement stipulated in the proposal.  It gave reasonable perimeters that seniors had to meet. 

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In my Opinion: Property tax assistance should be for low income people of all ages

Carl Wilcox

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Before I left to go to the June special town meeting, my wife told me I would be treated as an ogre for speaking against the Property Tax Assistance Ordinance that would have helped residents at least 70 years old who have household incomes of no more than $40,000 and have lived in town for at least 10 years.

It failed by a vote of 25-21. 

And sure enough I was portrayed at the meeting and in a newspaper article afterwards as a heartless person after old people.  My issue is not with helping old people, but instead that poor people, regardless of age, should be considered for property tax relief.

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On senior tax relief and public safety: the importance of process and communication

From the Editors

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The desire of the Board of Selectmen to provide some property tax relief to New Gloucester seniors was commendable, but the way that this came together was unfortunate, resulting in a failed vote at the recent special town meeting on June 19.  This was the second time a tax relief proposal had come before the voters, the first having been withdrawn by the Selectmen at the regular town meeting in May.  An ordinance combining the town’s fire and rescue departments into one public safety department and clarifying its organization and status might make sense, but it also failed.

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The Final Summary…

Peter Bradgon, Candidate for Selectman

Tuesday you will have the opportunity to elect two new members to the board of selectmen. This day could change the board significantly. I have tried my best to reach out to the townspeople with my view points and what I would do as selectman. I have compiled a summary outline of the areas I want to work on. Please note, I really care about New Gloucester; I have no intentions of changing what we have as a town or our government. We should always be looking at ways we can do better. 

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Your Past Doesn’t Define You or Your Future

Peter Bragdon  Candidate for Selectman

As I have promoted communication and transparency throughout this road to the election, I want to touch on recent tactics by others to cause alarm about my blunders in life.   I wanted to take time to explain that what happened 10 years ago doesn’t define me today or my future.

I realized after many surgeries and being prescribed my first opiate at age 14 I was dependent. Well, actually I was addicted to my prescribed dose of 240mg of oxycodone daily.   At the time the pain pills defined me.  It defined me as a not-so-good person.  I realized that after making awful mistakes, pills were awful for me.  I stopped the pills myself.  I eventually replaced the pills with alcohol. I drank my pain away.   Obviously this ruled my life. It made me make decisions and take actions that I am ashamed off.  

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A Selectman is More than a Policymaker

Peter Bragdon – Candidate for Selectman

In my opinion, town selectmen are more than just policymakers. They set the tone in town. As selectman, I feel I could offer a positive vibe for our community.

I also feel that selectmen visibility and casual accessibility should be increased, and I promise to show up around town! I understand that everyone is very busy. I also understand that it is not a requirement as a selectman to do any more than the administration stuff.  But with that said, among the five elected officials there could be more presence at community events.

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Reasons and Timeline for a Town Charter

Third in a series of articles about town charters by John Salisbury

Why should the Town of New Gloucester approve a Charter Commission to draft a town charter?

The most compelling reason is “local control.”  Many have probably heard this term bantered about.  Local control is to a great extent a mirage for towns that have not adopted a municipal charter.  This is because towns that do not have a charter only have limited options provided by the state statutes for determining their town governing and management structure. 

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Guess what day it is? It’s Town Meeting Day!

By Peter Bragdon, Candidate for New Gloucester Selectman

The first Monday in May you can mark your calendar every year for the annual town meeting.  In the past, the meeting was held on a Saturday in March and would take up most of the day.  Lunch would be served at the meeting or some people would rush out for a table at the local Mario’s restaurant.  Eventually attendance dwindled; the meetings got shorter, lives changed. Then the meeting date changed to a Monday night in May.

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Undesignated Fund

Peter Bragdon – Candidate New Gloucester Selectman

What is a good Undesignated Fund balance?  How much should we have on hand? What should excess funds be spent on? What is the current policy? These are honest questions that we do not have clear answers to.

First of all, what is the Undesignated Fund?  There are many different terms for it: rainy day fund, surplus, slush fund, general fund etc. In general terms, it is the balance of the check book after we pay our bills/commitments. There are times when we tap into this account waiting for taxes/revenues to arrive.  This is the main reason why we must keep some type of balance in this fund.

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Home Rule and Municipal Charter Facts

(Second article in the Q&A Charter Series)

  • In 1969 Maine Citizens adopted an amendment to the Maine Constitution that provided municipal “home rule”.
  • Home rule is very important for municipalities because it affords the citizens of a municipality the opportunity to adopt a municipal charter rather than depend upon the state legislature for their governing authority.
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