Community Newsletter

Issue #308

This City of South Portland Community E-Newsletter includes information about City sponsored events, projects and special announcements from South Portland's non-profit community.    Sign up if you would like to receive the newsletter directly to your inbox. Having difficulty viewing the newsletter?  The newsletter and archives are posted on the City's website here.   Please report broken links to news@southportland.org.

Trash & Recycling Bus Schedules Parks & Recreation Programs Pay Taxes and Bills Online Online Services
Don't forget to replace the battery in your smoke detectors! 
An easy reminder is to change your smoke detector batteries when you change your clock.
The AARP Tax Aide Program is accepting appointments. Please call (207) 518-8579 to schedule an appointment.
Applications MUST be RECEIVED by May 1, 2022. If you have any questions or need assistance completing the application, please contact Vicki Inman at 767-7609. Click here to download the application and view the FAQs. 
Read More
A number of property tax exemptions are available for those who qualify, including the Homestead Exemption.
Click here for more information and to ensure you are receiving all available exemptions. 
Read more

Events & Event Permits
As warmer weather approaches, the City would like to remind residents and groups planning an event taking place on City property of the need to submit an Event Application. The application can be obtained at the City Clerk's office and needs to be completed and returned to the Clerks' office at least 30 days prior to the event date. 
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Short Term Residential Rentals & Registration
Short-Term Rentals (defined as hosted or non-hosted temporary rentals of less than 30 days) are required to be registered through the City Clerk's office. Non-Hosted Short-Term rentals are prohibited in residential zoning districts. Click here to read more and to apply to register your Short Term Rental online. Read More
The State Primary and School Budget Validation Referendum will occur on Tuesday, June 14, 2022. You can request your absentee ballot starting March 14. Voters looking to change party enrollment must do so by May 27. Click here for more important dates and election information! Read More
The City Council is seeking people to serve on a number of city committees. There is a committee for everyone's interest!  If you are interested in applying, please click here for more information: https://www.southportland.org/our-city/board-and-committees/ 

Apply Now
Enslavement, The Underground Railroad and Abolition in Greater Portland
The South Portland Public Library is proud to announce a new initiative which we are calling South Portland Public Library Presents: Tapestry of Our Community. In this ongoing series of videos, produced in collaboration with community partners, we will explore the diverse stories, talents and traditions that make up our community.

The first installment of this series is a talk by Seth Goldstein, Maritime Historian, Board Member of the South Portland Historical Society, Instructor of History at the Maine College of Art and Design, and Educational Coordinator for the Atlantic Black Box Project.
His presentation, entitled, “Enslavement, The Underground Railroad and Abolition in Greater Portland” (https://southportlandlibrary.com/portlands-african-diaspora/) discusses African enslavement in Greater Portland, the Abolition movement, and the Underground Railroad routes through Maine to Canada.

The video, presented by the South Portland Public Library in partnership with South Portland Community Television, can be viewed through the library’s web site and will be screening regularly on South Portland Community Television.

Recorded at the library in February of 2022, this is the first in what the library intends to be an ongoing series of videos highlighting our community. We intend for the collection to be broad in scope, encompassing our community’s past, present and future. We hope to tell the stories of individuals, groups and movements that have made - and continue to make - South Portland what it is. This will be a series where we share the stories, creative talents and cultural traditions that enrich our lives in South Portland.

Do you have suggestions for future topics for this series? Please feel free to reach out to the library through the Contact Us page of our web site.
Hot Off the Presses: Heat Pumps are the Home Heating (and Cooling) Solution!
By Casey Zorn, Sustainability Program Manager for the City of South Portland
Last week, we discussed the importance of beneficial electrification, which is the transition from fossil fuel-based home appliances to more efficient electric equivalents. Today we are discussing a key component of beneficial electrification: heat pumps. Modern heat pumps provide homes with reliable and renewable heating, cooling, and dehumidifying. Heat pumps use approximately 50% less electricity than traditional heating, and the investment will continue to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as the electric grid shifts toward 100% clean energy sources. In addition, Efficiency Maine currently offers great rebates for installing heat pumps. 
Benefits of heat pumps
Heat pumps provide efficient, cost-saving heating and cooling all year round. Some people may have the impression that electric heat pumps cannot handle the cold Maine winter. However, modern heat pumps are far superior to older models that people may be familiar with. These heat pumps are able to provide efficient heating in cold climates even at outdoor temperatures as low as -15° Fahrenheit. Heat pumps also provide value in the summer months through cooling and dehumidifying. Currently, most homes in South Portland do not have air conditioning. As summers get warmer and more humid due to climate change, air-conditioning will be essential to ensuring both comfort and safety. 
Which heat pump is right for you?
Air-source, ground-source, ducted, ceiling cassettes–if you’ve heard of heat pumps, you may have heard some of these terms thrown around when discussing different models. Let’s start off by acknowledging that every home is different and may require different heat pump systems. The most important thing when planning to install a heat pump in your home is to have a professional installer help you figure out which model will work best for you. To begin this process, visit Efficiency Maine’s website to see a list of vetted manufacturers and installers that can help you find the heat pump that is your best fit. 
As for the lingo, there are two main types of heat pumps– air-source and ground-source. For most homeowners, the greatest value in home comfort, energy cost-savings, and lowest emissions will be installing air-source heat pumps, as opposed to ground-source that are best suited for new construction. Air-source units are moderately priced and can be wall-mounted, ground-mounted, ceiling cassettes, or ducted throughout the home. The option you choose will be based on aesthetics, cost, energy needs, and layout. In general, wall units are the most efficient. These are the most popular, but also the most visible; whereas, floor units and ceiling cassettes look less conspicuous but lose a bit of the efficiency. Check out Efficiency Maine’s website to learn more and speak to a professional installer to help you make the right decision for you and your home. 
Efficiency Maine rebates
Efficiency Maine offers rebates that dramatically reduce the cost of this beneficial technology. Rebates are based on income level, type of heat pump, and number of heat pumps installed. You can access these rebates through an instant rebate with an approved vendor or mail-in rebate after purchase. Homeowners of any income level can receive up to $800 off a single unit and up to $400 off a second unit. Income eligible homeowners can get $2,000 off a single unit and up to $400 off a second unit. To learn more about rebates and heat pumps, visit
efficiencymaine.com or talk to a representative at (866) 376-2463.

Our Sustainable City is a recurring column in the Sentry intended to provide residents with news and information about sustainability initiatives in South Portland. Follow the Sustainability Office on Instagram and Facebook @soposustainability.
Casey Zorn is Sustainability Program Manager for South Portland. She can be reached at 207-347-4147 or czorn@southportland.org.

Due to a recent weather-related water leak, several city hall offices have been temporarily reorganized while construction is ongoing to repair the affected areas.    Please use the following entrances to access offices at City Hall:
Front Door (Cottage Rd Entrance Across from Linscott Real Estate)
• City Clerk’s Office (voter registration, birth/death certificates, etc.) (first floor)
• SPC-TV (second floor)
• Executive Office (second floor)
NOTE: Persons with disabilities or mobility concerns should instead use the elevator at the rear entrance of the building, where they will be able to access SPC-TV and the Executive Office. Such individuals requiring City Clerk services should proceed instead to the Finance Department and a representative from the Clerk’s Office will come over to provide assistance.

Back Door (Ocean St Parking Lot Entrance)
• Finance Department (for tax payments, vehicle registrations, etc.) (first floor)

Appointment Only
• Human Resources (207-767-7682)
• Social Services (207-767-7617)
• Information Services (IS)

Residents can also visit www.southportland.org and click on the “Online Services” link for a listing of services than can be transacted online.

Signs have been posted at all entrances of City Hall to inform visitors.   For more information on the situation, please read the press release here

For a comprehensive look at our winter operations, and further information on how you can help us during these tough Maine winters, please download our Winter Operations brochure.

The new Transfer Station permit stickers have arrived for 2022! Get yours at Municipal Services or City Hall by providing two forms of proof of residency (preferably your driver's license and vehicle's registration). See below for additional info:

New Residential stickers are orange and are valid until 12/31/23. Limit 2 per residence (the first one is free; the second is $5.)

New this year, property owners who do not reside in South Portland but are permitted to use the Transfer Facility for disposing of yard waste (no other use is permitted) from their South Portland properties will have their own (brown) sticker. Property owners must obtain a sticker by showing two forms of proof of property ownership, as well as your vehicle registration. 2022 Property owner stickers are valid until December 31, 2023.

Landscape contractors may use our facility for disposal of landscape debris (leaves, grass clippings and brush) from South Portland residential properties. A Contractor's permit must be obtained for an annual fee of $150. (Additional permits cost $20 per vehicle.) Contractors must show proof that the material they are disposing of is from a South Portland resident by providing the resident’s permit number. 2020 Stickers (blue) will expire on December 31, 2021. 2022 Landscape Contractor stickers (green) are now available from Municipal Services or City Hall, and are valid until December 31, 2022.
The Opportunity Alliance Seeks Senior Companion and Foster Grandparent Volunteers
Qualifying Volunteers Receive a Stipend

Portland, ME – The Opportunity Alliance is searching for new volunteers, age 55 and older, to become Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion volunteers in Cumberland and York counties.

Senior Companions volunteer with housebound elders and isolated adults who need help to maintain their independence. They may provide transportation to doctor’s appointments or other essential errands and can offer companionship through weekly visits.
Foster Grandparents serve as tutors and mentors to young people in schools, Head Starts, and child development centers. Volunteers read with children, support their academic learning and social development, and help teachers by giving each child the time and attention they need.

“Senior Companions and Foster Grandparents provide an important resource to their communities by supporting the needs of children and isolated adults,” said Sonya Thibeau, Director of the Senior Volunteers Program at The Opportunity Alliance. “Senior Companions help housebound elders age in place by helping them to live independently in their homes or providing needed respite for caregivers. Foster Grandparents guide children on a path to success by supporting their academic learning and social development.”
Qualified applicants volunteering at least 10 hours per week receive a tax-free stipend, travel and meal reimbursements, and other benefits including monthly training. All benefits are tax-free and do not affect social security, SSI/SSDI, subsidized housing, food stamps, LIHEAP, or other programs.
To learn more about the Senior Companions program, visit
opportunityalliance.org/senior-companion-program. To learn more about the Foster Grandparents program, visit opportunityalliance.org/foster-grandparent-program. You can also call 207-773-0202 or email fgp@opportunityalliance.org.

About The Opportunity Alliance Senior Volunteer Programs
The Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion programs are national programs funded by AmeriCorps and sponsored locally by The Opportunity Alliance in York and Cumberland counties. Since 1974, Senior Companions have provided assistance to older adults who have difficulties with tasks of daily living that help them remain living independently. Founded in 1965, Foster Grandparents provide emotional and educational support to children in the classroom.
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