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Community Newsletter

Issue #341

Having difficulty viewing the newsletter? View this and past issues here

In this Issue:

Upcoming City Council Meetings

Tuesday, September 5 at 6:30 PM - City Council Meeting
Tuesday, September 12 at 6:30 PM - City Council Workshop
Note: There is no Council Meeting on August 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.

New City Hours In Effect


City Hall, the Planning and Development (Hamlin) Building, and Assessing are now closed on Fridays, with expanded hours in the morning and evening other days of the week. New hours for the affected facilities are:

City Hall: Mon, Weds & Thurs: 7:30 AM - 5 PM; Tues 9 AM - 5 PM (Finance and Clerk's Office open until 6 PM Tues); Fri CLOSED

Planning & Development Building: Mon, Weds & Thurs: 7:30 AM - 5 PM; Tues 9 AM - 5 PM; Fri CLOSED

Assessing: Mon-Thurs 7:30 AM - 5 PM; Fri CLOSED

Water Resource Protection: Mon-Thurs 7 AM - 3:30 PM; Fri 7 AM - 12 PM

Click here to read about the City's piloting of a four-day workweek.

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.
 

Tax Bills FAQ


"Why did my real estate taxes change this year?" "Why is the assessed value of my property increasing?" "Why is my first quarter amount due less than the other three quarters?" Get the answers to these questions and more in our new Real Estate Tax Bills FAQ.

Still have questions? We're happy to help.

For questions about your tax bill:
Contact the Finance Department, Treasury & Collections Division at 767-7612 or finance@southportland.org.

For question about your assessed property value:
Contact Assessing at 767-7604, or stop by the Assessing Office at 41 Thomas Street from Monday to Thursday: 7:30 AM – 5 PM. Email any questions to ahorn@southportland.org.
 

November Election Updates


Interested in running for local office? Visit the City Clerk's office to take out nomination papers. Papers can be returned beginning on Monday, August 28 at 8 AM and must be returned by 4:30 PM on September 8. See offices up for election and learn more here.

Request your absentee ballot now! You can request your absentee ballot for the November 7, 2023 State Referendum & Municipal General Election now. Any registered voter may vote absentee (no reason required).

3 ways to request your ballot:

1. ONLINE here.

2. CALL the City Clerk’s office at (207) 767-3201. We must speak to the voter requesting their ballot.

3. SUBMIT a paper application (available here) via fax, mail, or drop off at City Clerk’s office.

When ballots arrive (around October 8), the Clerk's office will mail you your ballot. In-person absentee voting will begin at City Hall starting October 8. 
 

Comp Plan: What's Next?


Thank you to everyone who has participated in our Comprehensive Plan process so far! You've submitted over 1,600 ideas and comments and joined us at over 40 events in the community this summer! 

More opportunities to help shape the future of South Portland are on the way. Save the dates for the following:

September 6 - Comp Plan Committee meeting: Presentation of community engagement report and Comp Plan Committee development of Vision & Goals workshop. 

September 18 - Waterfront & Cash Corner Planning: Public forum to gather input on infrastructure and redevelopment issues and opportunities of these areas. 

October 18 - Open house: Join us to learn more about the Comprehensive Planning process.

Visit the Comp Plan website for details and more events coming this fall.
 
Learn more at southportland2040.com.

Willard Beach Updates


Here's some important information about Willard Beach:

1. Know Before You Go - Like many beaches along the Maine coast, Willard Beach has been seeing high fecal 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.” (Edit 8/21/23: Please note that this was an observation shared with local beach managers and not an official report from Maine DEP or Maine Healthy Beaches. Maine Healthy Beaches will conduct annual data assessments at the end of the season once all field data has been collected.)

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.

2. Willard Beach Watershed Assessment - What challenges do wet weather, the built environment, and other factors pose to swimming water quality? What steps is the City taking to ensure the beach remains safe and swimmable? Learn the answers to these and more questions in South Portland Water Resource Protection's concise new Willard Beach Watershed Assessment Efforts summary here.

3. Upcoming Force Main Work - On Thursday, August 24, the Water Resource Protection Department will be drilling in multiple areas along Willard Beach as part of a project on a sewer force main. The beach will remain open this day, and City staff will be present to keep beachgoers clear of the work zone around the drill rig. Replacement of the force main is expected to be scheduled in late summer/early fall, details TBD.

Please note that this project is preventative. There is no correlation between this pressurized force main and recent water quality issues that have been seen following heavy rains. Read more in this Facebook post.

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


Updates from the Sustainability Department!

1. Now hiring - With our two fantastic interns returning to school, the Sustainability Department is looking for one or two people to fill the role of South Portland Electric Tool Library (SPETL)/Swap Shop Manager from late August through early November. Learn more and apply.

2. New hours for the Swap Shop and SPETL - New hours are in effect beginning August 24. The Swap Shop will be open Wednesdays and Saturdays 8-3:30 until a new SPETL/Swap Shop Manager is hired. There may be an occasional day when the shops may not be open. Please check the Swap Shop and SPETL webpage for updates to service hours.

3. SPETL Wait List Now Available - The SPETL provides South Portland residents with access to all-electric lawn care tools to use at home free of charge. All you need is an active South Portland Library card to check out equipment. The SPETL has been an extremely popular resource since its launch in June. By popular demand, a waitlist for equipment is now available. You can also check item availability by visiting the library's online catalog. Learn more in this Facebook post

News from Parks & Rec


1. Fall Programs - The Parks, Recreation & Waterfront Fall 2023 Brochure is now available! Click here to browse programs.

2. South Portland Community Center Shutdown - SPCC will be closed for our annual cleaning & repairs August 19 - September 4. Administrative Offices located on the second floor will remain open to the public most days during this period. Please check this Facebook post for details and call ahead to check availability of services at 767-7650.

3. Pool Closed for Roof Replacement - The SPCC pool is closed until further notice for roof replacement. This is a major renovation project and a complete timeline has yet to be fully determined, but will likely run through at least mid-fall. For updates, be sure you have a myrec account and click on "notifications" to confirm that you'd like to receive alerts and updates. We will also be sharing information in this newsletter and on social media when an open date is set.

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.

Upcoming Events


Join South Portland Sustainability, the Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI), and the Comprehensive Plan team for the final Coastal Meet-Up of the summer. 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! Coastal Meet-Ups are free to residents. 

Join us Tuesday, August 29 at 5 PM for the Mill Creek Greenbelt Meet-Up (departing from the Hannaford parking lot - corner nearest to the Greenbelt/Mill Creek crosswalk). Registration is strongly encouraged.
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


Art in the Park was marvelous! BIG THANKS to everyone who attended, the talented artists who shared their work, our generous event sponsors, and the City staff who organized this wonderful community celebration of local art for the 43rd year!

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 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.
 
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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