Warren readies for online bill pay
Warren — At its Aug. 20 meeting, the Board of Selectmen agreed to set up online payment services for Warren residents.
Finance Director Sherry Howard explained the action would allow residents to pay their taxes online. The project would also bring two credit card swipe machines to the town office, allowing residents to pay for trash bags, dog licenses, and even possibly renewal registrations using a credit or debit card. Currently those payments are made by cash or check only.
The cost to the user is not unlike regular credit card purchases — usually a 2 percent fee. This cost would go to those who choose to use the online service or credit card option and not to all residents.
The Invoice Cloud system will also allow residents to receive their tax bills electronically.
"What a convenience for the people," said Town Manager Elaine Clark.
The board approved the $16.10 mil rate and signed the tax commitment at the meeting. Clark said tax bills will go out in the next three weeks. Included with the bill will be an explanation to taxpayers of the town switching to a fiscal year and bills will be received twice annually.
Rifle range cleanup
Central Maine Power has completed its cost estimate for the 3-plus miles of three-phase power to be installed along Route 90 for the project, Clark said.
The estimate of $437,000 was slightly over what the Department of Environmental Protection had to put toward the project — $400,000 balance from a fine it assessed on former property owner Randy Dunican. However, Clark said DEP has agreed to fund the entire project.
"We remain cautiously optimistic," said Selectman Ed Laflamme.
The commissioner of the DEP, Patricia Aho, is scheduled to attend one of the selectmen's meetings in October to give more details on the project.
Clark said Triumvirate, who will be conducting the cleanup at the former rifle range, was waiting on the resolution of the three-phase power issue before it finalized its agreement with DEP.
Triumvirate was hoping to construct the buildings it will use on site before cold weather sets in. "This timing is going to work out perfectly," said Clark.
"It's pretty amazing to think that three-phase power will be available along a large stretch of Route 90, which will make those developing properties much more appealing to light manufacturing and other businesses," said Clark.
Warren received a Maine Coastal Grant for the design of stream-smart culvert replacement project.
The grant of $36,000 from the Department of Environmental Protection, Conservation and Forestry will be supplemented by $11,000 from the town to design these complicated culvert replacements.
"These culverts are complicated because they need to be designed such that the fish, the reptiles and the amphibians don't know they are passing through a culvert," said Clark.
Clark explained the culverts have to be big, underground and almost invisible to the fish that pass through them — especially the alewife population that is so important to the town of Warren.
"They add to the town's identity, and the town's finances, and just environmentally," said Clark.
The culverts are on three roads that are on the docket to be repaved, so it can all be done at once. Clark said she will be applying for grants to fund the construction of the stream-smart culverts.
Three buildings, that have been deemed unsafe on the foreclosed property at 22 Toll Bridge Road, are set for demolition the week of Aug. 25.
Clark said the town gave the former owner notice to remove anything of value he wanted. Anything left with a perceived value will be taken to the transfer station.
Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
594-4401 ext. 125
Beth rejoined Courier Publications' news staff in February 2013. She previously worked at The Courier-Gazette from 1981 to 1990.
Her coverage area includes Warren, Union, Friendship, Waldoboro, Washington, and Thomaston and RSU40.
Beth has a passion for photography, and a degree from the University of Maine at Augusta, in affiliation with the Maine Photographic Workshop in Rockport.
Aside from photography, Beth enjoys running and walks along the waterfront, as well as other outdoor activities. She has a daughter, Claire, who is 14.