Community Newsletter

Issue #340

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In this Issue:

New City Hours!

The City is piloting a four-day workweek for many City employees. City Hall, the Planning and Development (Hamlin) Building, and Assessing will be closed on Fridays. New public hours for the facilities impacted, effective August 7, are:

Assessing Building (41 Thomas St.): 
Monday - Thursday 7:30 AM - 5 PM
Friday: CLOSED
Department: Assessing

City Hall (25 Cottage Rd.):
Monday, Wednesday & Thursday 7:30 AM - 5 PM
Tuesday 9 AM - 5 PM (City Clerk and Finance Offices open until 6 PM)
Friday: CLOSED
Departments: City Clerk, Executive, Finance, Human Resources, Social Services, South Portland Community Television (SPC-TV available by appointment M-Th 10 AM - 5 PM)

Planning and Development (829 Sawyer St.):
Monday, Wednesday & Thursday 7:30 AM - 5 PM
Tuesday 9 AM - 5 PM
Friday: CLOSED
Departments: Code Enforcement, Economic Development, Planning, Sustainability

Water Resource Protection (111 Waterman Dr.):
Monday - Thursday 7 AM - 3:30 PM
Friday 7 AM - 12 PM

Department: Water Resource Protection

» South Portland Bus Service, the Community Center, and Library will continue with their current levels of service and hours of operation, with some employees switching to alternative work schedules when possible.

» The City’s trash and recycling collection schedule and Transfer Facility hours (Tuesday - Saturday 8 AM - 3:30 PM) are also unchanged.

The pilot of a four-day workweek is the result of a recruitment and retention effort launched by the Human Resources department. Read more in the press release.

Upcoming City Council Meetings

Tuesday, August 15 at 6:30 PM - City Council Meeting
Tuesday, September 5 at 6:30 PM - City Council Meeting
Note: There is no Council Meeting on August 8, 22 or 29

See the City Calendar for all scheduled City Council and board meetings + locations/links to participate. All agendas and packet material can be found on BoardDocs. This material will be posted by 4:30 PM on Friday the week prior to the scheduled meeting. See summaries of past Council meetings here.

Online Services

Did you know that you can pay your real estate taxes, renew your car registration, request a vital record like a birth certificate, and more online 24-7? Click here to see the City's list of available online services.

Property Tax Relief & Tax Exemption Programs

On July 6, 2023, the State of Maine Legislature repealed the popular Senior Property Tax Stabilization Program. Fiscal Year 2023-2024 real estate tax bills are stabilized for eligible and accepted applicants. Reapplication is not available. Though the City assists in the administration of State programs, the City is not responsible for these policies. Please direct questions about the program to your representative at legislature.maine.gov/senate.

In place of this program, the State expanded the State Property Tax Fairness Credit and State Tax Deferral Programs. The State and City offer several property tax relief and tax exemption programs, including:

State Tax Relief for Income Tax and Property Tax can be found under Property Tax Exemptions and Deferral here: maine.gov/revenue/taxes/tax-relief-credits-programs, or call Maine Revenue Services at 624-5600.
  • State Property Tax Fairness Credit: Form 1040ME and Schedule PTFC/STFC, filed with your Income Tax Return for the tax year the property tax or rent was paid, has increased to $2,000 as a tax return filing. Call 624-9784.
  • State Tax Deferral Program: Asset limits were raised and income limits doubled to $80,000 for Maine Seniors having difficulty paying taxes. Applications are due in the Assessing Office from January 1st to April 1st.
  • State Exemptions: Homestead (reduces taxable valuation by up to $25,000 as adjusted per State guidelines), Veterans, Veterans Widow/Widower, Disabled/Paraplegic Veterans, Blind, and Renewable Energy
City Tax Relief and Assessing Information can be found in the Assessing Office by calling 767-7604 or at: southportland.org/departments/assessors-office
  • City Senior Property Tax Relief Program: Applications must be received in the Finance Department by May 1st
  • City Hardship Tax Abatement for Past Due Taxes: Contact Social Services for information at 767-7617

Interested in Running for Office?

Nomination papers for the November 2023 election will be available Monday, July 31, 2023 at 8 AM at the City Clerk's office. They  must be returned by Friday, September 8, 2023 at 4:30 PM.

The following offices are up for election:
  • City Councilor - District 1
  • City Councilor - District 2
  • City Councilor - District 4
  • City Councilor - District 5
  • School Board - District At-Large (2 seats)
  • School Board - District Three (for the unexpired term which expires December 2024) 

For more info, visit: https://www.southportland.org/departments/city-clerk/elections-voter-registration/candidate-petition-process

Comp Plan Update: Ways to Engage!

SoPo 2040: Comprehensive Plan Update - Help shape the future of your City! This summer, we want to hear from you about your vision for South Portland. There are several ways to participate:
  • Join us at an upcoming Community Visioning Session! There are three events being held on Monday, August 7 at the Community Center at 7:30 AM, 3:30 PM and 6:30 PM. No registration is required -- just come and share your ideas during the activities facilitated by the Planning Department!
  • Host a conversation with friends or neighbors! Use the "meeting-in-a-box" guide to help facilitate your discussion. Submit your notes via the comp plan website or at the Planning and Development building.
  • Take our new online questionnaire! This is a simple way to share your input on what South Portland should be like in 2040.
Learn more at southportland2040.com.

Willard Beach: Know Before You Go

Like many beaches along the Maine coast, Willard Beach has been seeing high bacteria counts in the water periodically this summer. The State’s Maine Health Beaches recently reported an “unprecedented number of bacterial exceedances following heavy rainfall along the coast of Maine.”

When planning your beach trip, visit Check Beach Status at www.mainehealthybeaches.org and look for the signage and green-yellow-orange-red flag system at the main entrance of the beach. To read the full “Know Before You Go” Tips from Parks, Recreation and Waterfront, click here.

Seeking Input on City Initiatives

We're seeking YOUR INPUT! Please click the links below to share your ideas with the project teams.

1. Give Street Design Input - The City is working with Toole Design to develop a Street Design Technical Manual. This manual will streamline the complicated street design process and help the City meet its complete streets goals. To inform the manual as its being drafted, the City will be establishing a pilot project based on your input! This pilot will use cheap and temporary, but nonetheless effective, materials to trial some street design elements around the City. The survey asks a handful of questions to get your preference on which treatment(s) we install. Take the survey.

2. Suggest a Redevelopment Site
 - The City of South Portland has received $500K from USEPA to assess properties that, due to historic uses or legacy commercial activities, may require environmental remediation for future redevelopment. We’re looking for your input! Is there a site you would like to suggest? Perhaps a former neighborhood auto repair shop, former industrial site, or known underground disposal activity? Suggest a site here and we'll follow up with the property owner.
For more information about the City’s Brownfields Assessment Program, visit: http://bit.ly/spbrownfields

3. Suggest Recreation Program Ideas - Tell us what you'd like to see the Parks, Recreation and Waterfront department offer! Click here to submit your ideas. 


Sustainability Department Updates

The Swap Shop and South Portland Electric Tool Library will have reduced days/hours after August 23. The Sustainability Department is currently seeking someone to manage the SPETL/Swap Shop for the rest of the season after the current interns depart. To view the job description and apply, click here.

Please check the Swap Shop and SPETL webpages for updates to service hours. 

Fresh Food Wednesdays

The Locker Project will be providing free fresh food to the public on Wednesdays, July 26-August 16 from 1:30-2:30 PM in the South Portland Community Center lobby. All are eligible, please stop by!

Age Friendly Resource Fair

Save the Date! The Age Friendly Resource Fair will be held on Friday, September 22 from 9 AM - 12 PM at the South Portland Community Center. Watch this video message from members of Age Friendly South Portland about the event, which includes:
  • Over 40 vendors including Physical Therapists, Estate Attorneys, and Home and Hospice Care Professionals
  • Balance Assessments by Maine Strong Balance Center
  • Blood Pressure Checks by the South Portland Fire Department
  • Raffles, give aways and more!
Watch this newsletter for more information about the event.

Art in the Park & More Upcoming Events

Join us Saturday, August 12 at Mill Creek for Art in the Park! South Portland's annual Art in  the Park Show & Sale is a summer favorite of participating artists and the public. The show features original art and photography by up to 170 artists, a food court, kids' activities, and music in the afternoon. Admission is free. The show opens at 9:00 a.m. and closes at 4:00 p.m.

Coastal Meetups happening this summer! Join South Portland Sustainability, the Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI), and the Comprehensive Plan team for Coastal Meet-Ups throughout South Portland.

The City seeks your input in planning for coastal flooding events. The places we prioritize and the ways we plan for these impacts are strengthened by your feedback! The following events are free to residents. Registration is strongly encouraged. Register at: https://www.gmri.org/events
  • Monday, August 7 at 5 PM - Willard Beach (departing Willard Beach snack shack/main entrance - parking is available at the Willow Street lot or on surrounding streets)
  • Tuesday, August 29 at 5 PM - Mill Creek Greenbelt (departing from the Hannaford parking lot - corner nearest to the Greenbelt/Mill Creek crosswalk)
The Annual Bug Light Car Show draws over 250 unique and antique vehicles. Bring your vehicle or just peruse others! We'll have music playing and food trucks on hand for dinner.
For more information, visit the Facebook event page.

City News & Updates

Thank you to all who came out for National Night Out this week! Thanks to the South Portland Police Department, Fire Department, Parks and Recreation Department, South Portland-Cape Elizabeth Chamber of Commerce, many event partners and especially to all of our community members who joined for basketball, outdoor movie, and a fantastic time all around!

Work With Us!

Join our team! The City of South Portland offers competitive pay and a robust selection of employee benefits, including an excellent health plan with affordable family coverage, matched retirement options, dental, vision, life, income protection, long term disability, flexible spending accounts, a condensed workweek for many positions, and more!

The City is proud of its talented and dedicated workforce and provides employees with a strong team environment; stability; a positive, family-friendly workplace where work/life needs are valued and supported; and the support, encouragement and tools for successful careers. 

The City values diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and embraces sustainable operations. Consider a job with the City of South Portland!

Coming Up at the Library

  • Thursday, August 10 at 1 PM - Ice Cream Party! The South Portland Public Library will be hosting an ice cream social! Come enjoy ice cream with members of the community. Open to all ages!
  • Thursday, August 24 at 6:00 PM - Author Talk, Podcast Edition! Mother-daughter duo, Susan Tan and Megan Tan, will discuss their Audible Original Podcast series, Now or Never: How to Find Love When Love Seems Impossible.
Note: Beginning August 2, Baby Storytime will be moving to Wednesdays at 1 PM.
Calling all SPHS Red Riots Alumni!
SPHS Alumni are welcome to join the new SPHS Alumni Network! This will allow alumni to reconnect with our schools, be invited to more events on campus, and be able to share life experiences with current students through career exploration activities.  SPHS Alumni can sign up here, or reach out to Gretchen McCloy (mccloygr@spsdme.org) or Bryna Latham (lathambr@spsdme.org) for more info.  

Conservation Corner

Submitted by Barbara Dee, Chair of the Conservation Commission
Hello, my name is Shara Dee and I'm very happy to serve as the City of South Portland's Communications Officer!

I'd love to hear your feedback on our newsletter and other City communications, so feel free to send me a note any time at news@southportland.org.
The City of South Portland Community E-Newsletter includes information about City sponsored events, projects, and special announcements from South Portland's non-profit community. It is a compilation of the best available information at the time of publication. Events are subject to change without notice in the time between publication of this e-newsletter and the actual event. To send information to be considered for inclusion into this newsletter, send to news@southportland.org.
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