HARPSWELL — The Board of Selectmen approved the town’s new tax rate Wednesday night, addressed abandoned vehicles and discussed new Mitchell Field projects.

The new rate is $6.70 per $1,000 of assessed value, including municipal, school and county taxes. It equals an additional $22 for every $100,000 of assessed value, or a 3.4% increase. For a property assessed at $300,000, the tax bill would increase from $1,944 to $2,010.

The Board of Selectmen also approved a new policy at the Aug. 1 meeting in an attempt to keep residents from abandoning boats and other items at the Recycling and Transfer Station.

The policy states any vehicles, vessels, equipment or fishing gear stored in violation of the property ordinance will be removed by the town. According to the document, efforts will be made to contact owners before action is taken, and confiscated property will be moved to the Transfer Station.

According to Town Administrator Kristi Eiane, discussions about a policy came to the table as abandoned boats have become an issue throughout town. This year, two boats were found on town properties, she said.

The policy also states that property considered to be valuable will be stored for up to 21 days before the town takes possession. During that time, officials will attempt to locate the owners.

The board also looked at proposals to remove buildings from Mitchell Field and improvements to the town’s dock and ramp system at the end of the causeway.

The buildings are in a fenced-in area that once housed the water tower. One of the buildings was moved from the waterfront a few years ago and is in poor condition, according to Town Planner Mark Eyerman. A site visit was scheduled for Aug. 9, and bids from interested companies are due Aug. 16.

According to Eyerman, the project was expanded after the water tower was removed and it was discovered that the soil surrounding the buildings has lead levels that are too high to pass state requirements. It’s proposed that when the buildings are removed, a few inches of the soil will be scraped into the cellar hole left behind, which the town believes meets Maine Department of Environmental Protection standards.

The second proposal at Mitchell Field is a request for qualifications for marine engineering services at the town dock. The plan, according to town documents, is to replace the former pier with an access ramp and a pedestrian area on the causeway.

According to Eiane,  there are eight marine engineering companies that are prequalified through the Maine Department of Transportation. Proposals are due in her office by 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 21.


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