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A revaluation is the process of conducting the data collection and market analysis necessary to equalize the values of all properties within a municipality for the purpose of a fair distribution of the tax burden.
A physical inspection of both the interior and exterior of each property is conducted, where building dimensions and characteristics are noted. This is the data collection phase of the project. Each data collector carries an identification badge as well as a letter of introduction on city or town letterhead. Each data collector's car is also registered with the Police Department and Assessors Office.
While the data collection phase is going on, appraisers are studying the real estate transactions that have occurred over the past two years in order to gain a complete understanding of property value in the municipality. When this process is complete, the appraisers can then utilize this market data to help determine the market value of every property in the Municipality.
Once values (otherwise known as assessments) have been determined, each property owner receives an individual notice of the new assessment. Property owners also have the opportunity to review the entire file of assessed values so that they can make comparisons to their own property. If the municipality chooses, this data can be published on the Internet, otherwise the data will be made available at one or more locations.
All property owners are given the opportunity to discuss their values with the appraisal staff at an appointed time which will be publicly announced towards the end of the revaluation. At this meeting, a property owner can voice concerns or discuss inaccuracies or discrepancies with a qualified Appraiser who will review the data and explain the assessment process.
Over time, property values change. However, not all types of properties change at the same rate. Since the assessed value is the basis of the property tax, a valuation update must be undertaken in order to make sure that each parcel of real estate is assessed according to current market value. This ensures that everyone pays their fair share.
A valuation update may result in an increase or decrease of individual assessments; it does not mean that all tax burdens will increase.
You may be saying “Sure!”, but remember, assessments are only the base that is used to determine the tax burden. The tax burden is the amount that the municipality must raise to operate the local government and support the many services each of us has come to expect such as schools, police, etc. If the same amount of money is to be raised after the valuation update as the previous year and each assessment doubles, the tax rate would merely be cut in half.
There are two very good methods of determining this.
Your value should be in line with these similar properties. Remember, very few properties are exactly alike. Your value should be comparable, but it seldom will be exactly the same as what seems to be a similar property.
If any property owner believes the assessment on their property is in excess of its fair market value, they should first notify the Assessor's Office. They may then appeal before the Municipality's Board of Assessment Appeals. The Board of Assessment Appeals will review the case and make a determination as to the disposition of the appeal.
Should the property owner still feel the assessment is incorrect, they may appeal to the Superior Court for the judicial district in which the municipality is located.
A valuation update is the process of performing all of the necessary market analysis and valuation steps to determine accurate and equitable market values for all properties within a municipality. The equalization of the values within a City or Town creates a fair distribution of the tax burden. The purpose of a valuation update is not to raise taxes. The purpose is to create an equitable distribution of the tax load.
Towards the end of the revaluation, every homeowner receives a notice of their proposed valuation based on the analysis performed. These values are not final until the hearings are complete. When a homeowner has a question or concern about the proposed valuation, they are asked to call the firm to schedule a date and time to discuss the valuation process and get answers to any questions the homeowner may have. An informal hearing is not a forum to discuss taxes; it is strictly meant to answer questions on the property valuations.
Homeowners are asked to come prepared with questions and should have already compared their property to other similar sale properties in their neighborhood. Once the meeting is finished, a hearing officer will determine if a review of the property is necessary. Appraisal personnel will review the hearing notes to determine whether a change should be made to the property. All changes to value that occur due to a hearing will be reflected in the change notice that is sent after the hearings are completed.
Since the last revaluation, real estate values have changed significantly. Over the same period, building construction costs have increased but have done so at a slower rate than the overall value increase. Since building costs have not increased as much as total values, the bulk of the total increase, if any, is attributable to land. This makes perfect economic sense as it is buildable land that is in limited supply.
Although a revaluation may result in an adjustment to nearly each individual assessment; it does not mean that property taxes will increase.
Please remember, assessments are only the base that is used to determine the individual tax burden of each and every taxable property. The overall operating budget, which is the amount that the municipality must raise to operate the local government and support the many services each of us has come to expect such as schools, police, etc. is what truly affects individual property taxes. For example, if the overall operating budget is the same both before and after revaluation and each assessment doubles, the tax rate would merely be cut in half.
Market value is the value that your home should be able to sell for as of a specific date. The value is determined by the activity in the real estate market and the general economy. The value of your property is based on an analysis of the entire municipal real estate market for the full two calendar years before the completion of the Valuation Update Project.
No. This process does not involve individual visits to each property in town.
The Biddeford RiverWalk sits at the crossroads of local, regional, statewide and national trails—a fact that we find somewhat unique and compelling. Not only will the Riverwalk intersect with city trails, it also will connect with:
As such, it can be the catalyst for further trail development across the city - and as an economic, cultural, historic, environmental and educational amenity for Biddeford, Saco, and beyond.
View the updated vision map, which provides for the overall vision of the project as well as status updates for all elements of the project.
Please visit Phase 1 of the RiverWalk, referred to as Gateway Plaza. Look for the RiverWalk sign at the North Dam Mill entrance, and you are almost there!
This fall, Phase 2 and the Pedestrian Bridge should be open to the public as well! Stay tuned for that announcement!
There are several ways to learn more about the RiverWalk: online at the City of Biddeford or through the Heart of Biddeford. Or you can email Alix Hopkins, the Biddeford RiverWalk Coalition’s Project Director. She can head you in the right direction.
You should call the Biddeford Police Department at 207-282-5127 and make a lost animal report.
Next, you should call the Animal Welfare Society at 207-985-3244 to see if someone has brought it in.
If you live near a town line you should also call the animal control office or police department. for that town. View a list of Animal Control Officers for assistance locating phone numbers.
Yes. If you can, get the following information:
Then call the Biddeford Police Deapartment as soon as you can. We need to know that a bite happened, so it can be recorded and we can make sure the dog is healthy.
This does not mean that we are going to take the dog; that happens very rarely.
First, try talking to the owner of the dog. Most of the time they don’t know that the dog comes over or that it bothers someone when it does.
If that doesn’t work or you feel uncomfortable with that, you can call Biddeford Animal Control at 207-282-5127, and we can speak to them about the issue.
Most likely, no. They are normally not a threat to people. Foxes and coyotes will come out during the day.
If you have food out for cats or other animals. then take it in. Keep your cats and small dogs inside or only let them out supervised. Foxes and coyotes could try to go after them.
However if the animal is showing odd behavior such as “looking drunk” or being aggressive, then you should contact the Biddeford Police Department at 207-282-5127 or the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
Did you know that stormwater pollution is one of the leading causes of water quality problems in the State of Maine?Stormwater is rain or snowmelt that does not soak into the ground. When it runs off our lawns, driveways, parking lots, and roads, it picks up pollutants that have been spilled on the ground, such as:
Stormwater carries these pollutants, untreated, into the catch basins, storm drains and roadway ditches which in turn flow into waterways, such as:
The City of Biddeford is working to prevent stormwater pollution.
In cooperation with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, the City of Biddeford:
You are a regulated facility if you are a food service establishment or a limited-food service establishment.
First and foremost, if you are regulated you must register on or before June 30, 2015 and annually thereafter. Registration forms (downloadable and online) are available through the Registration Page.
Any facility determined to be subject to the ordinance (PDF) that fails to register on time is subject to a $75 registration fee and may be found in non-compliance with other provisions of the ordinance.
The Ordinance is available for review through the City code website.
The Maine Freedom of Access Act (“FOAA”) grants the people of Maine a broad right of access to public records while protecting legitimate governmental interests and the privacy rights of individual citizens. The act also ensures the accountability of government to its citizens by requiring public access to the meetings of public bodies as well as public records. Transparency and open decision-making are fundamental principles of the Maine Freedom of Access Act, and they are essential to ensuring continued trust and confidence in our government. The City of Biddeford is required to comply with Maine's Freedom of Access Act. A full text of the Act is available through the Maine Legislature's Statues website.
The FOAA defines "public record" as "any written, printed or graphic matter or any mechanical or electronic data compilation from which information can be obtained, directly or after translation into a form susceptible of visual or aural comprehension, that is in the possession or custody of an agency or public official of this State or any of its political subdivisions, or is in the possession or custody of an association, the membership of which is composed exclusively of one or more of any of these entities, and has been received or prepared for use in connection with the transaction of public or governmental business or contains information relating to the transaction of public or governmental business".
There are a number of exceptions to "public records" A number of exceptions are specified. The Act and exceptions can be found on the State of Maine 1 M.R.S. § 402(3).
A FOAA request is a request to obtain a copy of a public record submitted to the government agency's public access officer.
There is no central records office that services Freedom of Access Act (FOAA) requests within the City of Biddeford. There are no forms required nor does the request have to be in writing, however, the City strongly urges that all FOAA requests be in writing (email, fax, letter, etc.) in order to maintain a record of when the request was received, what records were requested, an understanding of the search period, and who requested the document(s). However, in order to evaluate and process a request there must be sufficient information. To assist citizens, a Request for Public Information form (PDF) has been created for convenience.
In order for the City to promptly respond to your request, you should be as specific as possible when describing the records you are seeking. If a particular document is required, it should be identified precisely—preferably by author, date and title. However, a request does not have to be that specific. If you cannot identify a specific record, you should clearly explain the type of records you are seeking, from what time frame, and what subject the records should contain.
For example, assume you want to obtain a list of vendors that the City paid in exchange for goods and services in July of 2016. A request or “all vendor payments” is very broad and would likely produce volumes of records. The fees for such a request would be very high; the City would likely find your request too vague and ask that you make it more specific. On the other hand, a request for “all records of payments to vendors paid by the City in July 2016” is specific and lists the type of record, the purpose of the record, and the time frame. A justification for your request is not required. Although, you might also want to explain what information you hope to learn from the record as this additional explanation may help the City narrow its search and find a record that meets the exact request.
The City's public access officer under FOAA is the City Manager. However, be advised that the City will process all FOAA requests regardless of whether or not the request is submitted directly to the public access officer as long as the request is identifiable as a FOAA request.
Yes. the City must acknowledge receipt of a request within 5 working days of receipt by the City.
Yes. Under Maine's FOAA, the City may request clarification concerning which public record or public records are being requested.
Yes. the City must provide a good faith, nonbinding estimate of how long it will take to comply with the request "within a reasonable period of time" after receiving the request. The City is required to make a good faith effort to fully respond within the given estimated time.
There is no initial fee for submitting a FOAA request and the City cannot charge an individual to inspect records unless the public record cannot be inspected without being compiled or converted. However, the City can and normally does charge for copying records. Although the FOAA does not set standard copying rates, it permits agencies to charge "a reasonable fee to cover the cost of copying".
The City may charge fees for the time spent searching for, retrieving, compiling or redacting confidential information from the requested records. The FOAA authorizes agencies or officials to charge $15 per hour after the first hour of staff time per request. Where conversion of a record is necessary, the agency or official may also charge a fee to cover the actual cost of conversion.
The City must prepare an estimate of the time and cost required to complete a request within a reasonable amount of time of receipt of the request. If the time to prepare is estimated to be greater than 1 hour, the City must notify the requester before proceeding. The City may request payment in advance if the estimated time to complete is estimated to exceed two hours or if the requester has previously failed to pay a fee properly assessed under the FOAA.
A local government entity whose officer or employee commits a willful violation of Maine's FOAA commits a civil violation for which a forfeiture of not more than $500 may be adjudged. Under the current law, there are no criminal penalties for failure to comply with a request for public records.
General assistance (GA) is a program available in each municipality in Maine to help eligible people who do not have enough money to cover basic living costs. It provides confidential financial assistance to Biddeford residents who are having difficulty meeting basic needs such as rent, food, electricity, personal and household supplies, medication, heating fuel, and other essential services.
General Assistance is funded by local property taxes with 70% reimbursement from the state.
For the purposes of this program a “resident” means a person who is physically present in Biddeford with the intention of remaining in Biddeford to maintain or establish a home and who has no other residence.
You can apply at the Biddeford City Hall located at 205 Main Street, Suite 101. Office hours are Monday-Friday 8:00am to 5:00pm. Applications are taken by appointment. You can call (207) 284-9514 or come into the office to schedule an appointment.
If it is on a weekend or after hours and you have a life threatening emergency, you may contact the Biddeford Police Department at (207) 282-5127
Your first visit will require an interview with a caseworker during which you will complete a written application. First visits take approximately 45 minutes.
Your General Assistance budget will be based on the 30-day period following your application. We will also look back to 30 days before you applied, to see what money you received, and how you spent it. You will need to provide:
Yes. Your application and any case records pertaining to it are strictly confidential by law. You, the applicant, your attorney and certain government personnel may review your records. The City will need to know who to pay your GA vouchers to, such as your landlord. The City will also need for you to give permission for them to contact people who can verify your income and other necessary information. The general public cannot review your records unless you have given your written permission.
Maybe. You would want to apply and if your income is less than your necessary expenses and the program’s income maximum, you will be evaluated.
We will issue you a written decision as to your eligibility within 24 hours after you apply and we will promptly furnish any assistance for which you are determined eligible within our guidelines. However, please be aware that if you have not furnished sufficient information, including verification required, to enable us to determine eligibility, we must consider your application incomplete and find you ineligible for any assistance until you reapply with adequate information
The General Assistance Program is regulated by State Law, which has set an overall maximum amount of assistance that a household can receive. In addition, each municipality’s GA guidelines contain maximum amounts of assistance allowable for each category of assistance including, rent, food, electricity, etc. We cannot exceed those established maximums even though household’s expenses for various items may exceed those amounts. To be eligible, your income must fall below the overall maximum level of assistance for a household your size and your income must also be less than the amount you need to pay for basic necessities using City guidelines.
The law states that as a general rule security deposits will not be considered a basic necessity and thus municipalities are not generally responsible for paying them.
General Assistance does not furnish money directly to the eligible person or household. All assistance is issued in the form of City vouchers payable to vendors who have provided your household with goods or services.
At the time an applicant receives a decision on their application, the administrator will inform them of their responsibilities for being eligible in the future. The period covered by your application and any assistance given under that application cannot exceed 30 days. However, there is no limitation on how many times a person can reapply and continue to be found eligible for assistance. The General Assistance program budgets your needs for 30 days forward from the date of your application. Upon a repeat application for General Assistance, the client must provide documentation (receipts) of all their spending over the past thirty days. The amount of income from all sources received by the household must be provided. The Applicant must show that they have utilized all potential resources the administrator referred them to on their notice of eligibility.
General Assistance is a program that encourages clients to do all they can to prevent needing future assistance. An applicant may be found ineligible to receive general assistance if they: misspend their money on items that are not considered basic necessities (this will count as money available to the household and will affect the amount of eligibility); if a client forfeits a benefit, this benefit will not be replaced; if a client quits or is fired from a job, they are disqualified for a 120 day period; for willfully making a false representation about their eligibility; for not providing or permitting the administrator to gather necessary verification and documentation as required; as well as others.
Our downtown is changing and significantly. One of the greatest changes is that there is an increase in the amount of parking that is being demanded. There is no indication that trend is going to stop in the future.
There are two major sources of the increased parking demand. First, a number of the buildings in the downtown that were empty or underutilized have been rehabbed and now occupied. Since 2010, 67,000 square feet of this type of space have been renovated. It is estimated that at least another 50,000 square feet of vacant space still remains. Second, the residential rental market has changed greatly in the downtown. For many years a large share of renters either did not own a vehicle or only had one vehicle. Today, it is more common for renters to have multiple vehicles per unit, including several younger unrelated individuals, each with their own vehicle.
The goals are really quite simple. They are:
Stop having property taxpayers pay 100% of the costs associated with giving others free parking in the downtown; instead require the people that choose to use the space pay for the parking instead. The underlying financial goal is really quite simple. Today all costs associated with parking are paid for by every single property taxpayer. The entire program is designed to shift who pays for parking in downtown - from the property taxpayers to those that use the parking. To be more specific, it is focused on the long term uses of parking spaces in the community, not the customers of the businesses that go into the downtown. Any business (for long term parking only) or rental property that does not provide enough parking for their property’s needs will no longer get that parking free from the community. They can seek private parking alternatives or pay to use the city parking lots.
Continue to provide free and easy to find parking for customers that come into the downtown. It is also important that there is plenty of customer parking available to continue to encourage the customers to come to the downtown. This is probably the most misunderstood part of the parking changes. Throughout the downtown, all short term on street parking remains free. During the hours of 8 AM to 6 PM, most downtown parking is limited to 2 hours. There are a few places that have shorter time limits because of the nature of the nearby businesses. These are FREE. After 6 PM, there is no time limit. However, in some areas, there is no overnight parking from 1 AM to 6 AM.
Have more parking built in the downtown to allow growth in the downtown to continue without impacting residential areas surrounding the downtown. The long term solution to the parking issue is to create more parking in the downtown. A parking garage that will hold between 400 and 625 spaces is currently in the final design stages. This garage will not be paid for using tax revenue from property taxpayers in the community. However, the property taxpayers will receive the benefits of continued growth in the tax base in the downtown. You can read more of those details in other questions.
The good news is a new lot of the growth in taxable property in the community is coming from the downtown area. Since 2014, the taxable value in the downtown has grown by $26,831,204. Assuming today’s tax rate of $19.70, these properties are paying $419,247.95 more in property taxes in 2018-2019 than they did in 2014. These funds have been used by the city in three ways. First, it was part of the reason that the tax rate dropped last year from $20.07 to today’s rate of $19.70. Second, the increase in the homestead exemption (the $394.00 savings that every single-family home owner gets if they filed for the homestead) was paid in part by the increased values in the downtown. Finally, the city is spending (and paying cash) nearly $1,500,000 more annually fixing roads, buildings and replacing equipment than it did in 2014. This has occurred while reducing the tax rate due in part to the increased value in the downtown.
The competition for parking continues to grow in the downtown. As the demand has grown, there are more vehicles parking all day in the downtown. This continues to erode the available parking for customers. We continue to see more all-day parking spilling over into traditional residential neighborhoods. As more property redevelops, the problems will get increasing more difficult. At some point, the parking issue will have an adverse impact on continued growth in the downtown.
This is an argument from some who say that they have been able to park for free forever. By the nature of the argument, it puts the City in a place that requires it to treat groups of people differently. This creates the difficult decision of determining the basic fairness of who gets free service and who will not. Even if making such a decision would be easy, trying to implement such a program would be very difficult. The current program is set up to treat all parties exactly the same. If you want long term parking, you either need to find a private solution for that parking or you can buy those services from the City in the parking lots. Either way, property taxpayers will not be paying for someone else’s parking needs.
The Planning Board did give out some limited parking waivers for redeveloped residential spaces in the downtown. At the time these waivers were issued, there was not the demand that exists today. The Council has put in place a moratorium that does not allow the Planning Board to grant any further waivers
The granting of the waivers did not guarantee anything by the City beyond the permission for the project to get the permits necessary for the project to be constructed. There was no implication of a right to publicly funded parking and certainly not ”free” (meaning that parking is being supported by property taxpayers).
There is a 180-day moratorium in place as of the February 19, 2019 City Council meeting that does not allow the Planning Board to grant any further waivers. In the language of the moratorium, the City Council directs that "the Parking Management Plan which is presented to the City Council for approval include a provision that waivers of downtown parking requirements shall require final approval by the City Council".
After several years of discussions about parking in the downtown, it is hopeful that everyone understands what ”free parking” means. Given that the City has very limited resources, free means a portion of your property tax bill pays for others to park for free. There is growing pressure to create more parking in the downtown. Unchanged, it will be your property taxes that will be used to pay for it. Ironically, a lot of the long-term employees that park for free are not Biddeford residents. The same can be said about the landlords that own the apartments and apartment buildings that do not provide parking for their tenants. Without changing the system, you pay for their parking needs. With this change, when you do come downtown to enjoy the businesses, there will be more no-charge, short-term parking available. Finally, having more public parking constructed in the downtown will continue to allow the downtown to change from what it was 10 to 15 years ago to the path that it is on now. The growth in the downtown has had a positive impact on your personal property tax burden and ensuring an opportunity for continued growth is expected to continue the trend.
The parking changes will not increase your taxes. In fact, the purpose of the parking changes is to shift the cost of maintaining downtown parking from a taxpayer-subsidized model to a user-subsidized model. That means that your tax dollars will no longer be used to maintain downtown parking lots.
The money that is collected from the sale of parking permits will be placed into a special fund that will be used for parking enforcement and downtown street maintenance such as striping, plowing, etc.
In April, we held three public listening sessions to allow residents and members of the downtown community to share their experiences and opinions on downtown parking, Two of these meetings were held in the evening with our City Council, and one meeting was held with staff in the afternoon to accommodate a variety of schedules. In addition, for those who were unable to attend the meeting, an online comment form was posted on our website to collect additional information. A Downtown Parking Survey was also distributed that asked specific questions about parking.
Downtown parking has frequently been discussed at City Council meetings since 2016. As always, these meetings were open for public attendance and comments. You can view the City Council archives by clicking here.
The details of these changes were made widely available to residents through many different channels. To see a complete history of our communication with the public about downtown parking, please visit our interactive Parking Communications Calendar Tool.
Our City Council meeting agenda packets are posted publicly on our website before each meeting. These agenda packets included the proposed orders relating to parking that the City Council first considered at their September 4, 2018 meeting and voted to approve on September 18, 2018. We included the link to these orders in our weekly newsletter, the Biddeford Beat, to bring them to the attention of residents while the City Council was still in the process of deliberating the orders. You may subscribe to the Biddeford Beat by clicking here. Biddeford's Council meetings are always open to the public, and they may be watched live on our website or on the public access channel.
Once the City Council approved the order, we updated the Downtown and Mill District Parking page of our website to reflect the upcoming changes and linked to it in the Citywide Updates tab on the home page of our website. We also sent out a "Front Page News" alert to our email subscribers and posted that alert at the top of the home page of our website to make the information as easily accessible to residents as possible. We also posted the link to this comprehensive webpage on our Facebook and Twitter accounts several times.
In addition, we created a Frequently Asked Questions document that we shared in the Biddeford Beat to our email subscribers. We also distributed a press release to all of the local news outlets, and media reports regarding these changes appeared in the Journal Tribune, on News Center Maine, and on WMTW. Finallly, we created a slideshow for the Public Access Channel to describe the changes to reach the segment of the population that may not have access to our digital updates.
Yes. The City Council has created the Downtown Committee and gave it the authority to quickly make changes to the parking ordinances. This committee will be continuously monitoring the effectiveness of the parking changes and will take user experiences into consideration. Adjustments will be considered and implemented when appropriate.
There are eight spaces on Franklin Street that have been designated as free 30-minute parking. These spaces are located near several downtown takeout restaurants and have a high rate of turnover. You do not have to use the parking kiosk to park in these spaces. The locations of the 30-minute parking spaces are shown on the map below.
The Yellow Lot on Franklin Street and the Alfred Street Lot both offer two hours of free parking. You must enter your license plate number into the parking kiosk in order to park in these lots. You can also find free perpendicular parking along Franklin Street, and these spaces do not require use of a kiosk. Additionally, on-street short term parking remains free.
For questions about Parking Bans and parking lots, please contact Public Works at 207-282-1579.
For questions about parking tickets or kiosks, please contact the Police Department at 207-282-5127.
For questions about payments and availability of parking permits, please contact the Finance Department at 207-284-9333.
Questions about parking policy can be directed to Planning and Development Director Mathew Eddy at 207-282-7119.
A parking garage promotes continued Mill District and downtown development. This matters to the average property taxpayer because new development makes buildings and properties more valuable. More valuable buildings contribute significantly more to the property tax base, which helps stabilize the tax rate. In fact, the construction of the garage is expected to provide the City of Biddeford an additional $16,407,604 in property taxes in the first 10 years of operation and a net benefit of $39,772,744 over the 25 year lifetime of the agreement.
No residential property tax dollars will be used to fund this project.
TFIC Sewall will provide the up-front financing to build and operate the parking garage. The City will make pre-determined annual payments to TFIC Sewall over a 25-year lease period. These payments will be made from the Mill District TIF (Tax Increment Financing) fund. Money in the TIF fund comes from sheltered property tax payments from businesses and developments in the Mill District. The second source of payments for the garage will be the revenues that are received from users who park in the garage and municipal surface parking lots.
No. On-street parking will remain free and under the management of the City of Biddeford.
The cost of construction is estimated at $22,297,150. The price will be confirmed by a formal bidding process and will be capped at $24,631,350. These costs will be paid by payments from the TIF and parking revenues.
The projections for revenues are calculated conservatively by a consultant. They are based on the parking demands of the surrounding buildings and development projects that have recently been announced. Even with these conservative projections, the parking demand on the site is expected to exceed the 640-space garage.
If the garage does not generate as much revenue as is projected, then the City will pay the difference and collect payments from property owners in the proposed Special Assessment District (click the link to view a map). The Special Assessment District includes the properties that surround the 3 Lincoln Street site. Funds will be collected from the property owners in the Special Assessment District only if revenues fall below 90% of projections. This mechanism is in place to ensure that no residential property tax dollars will be used for this project and that mill owners have an incentive to move forward with successful projects.
If revenues exceed 110% of projections, the City will receive all extra revenues until upfront expenses have been repaid. When that point is reached, the City will then receive $0.90 of each dollar of additional benefits and TFIC Sewall will receive the remaining $0.10 of each dollar. Any revenues that are received will be placed in a Special Revenue Fund that will be used for parking-related expenses.
The garage will have 640 spaces. It is expected to open in 2021. For the first two years it is open, the costs to park in the garage are projected to be the same as current costs to park in the downtown parking lots. The hourly rate and the monthly rate for both the garage and the surface parking lots will see planned adjustments as time goes on.
The City will have the ability to review and “buy down” rate increases if city officials determine that rates are set too high. The City may also add reasonable cost increases above the rates that are currently set if they should be needed to keep up with demand.
Hourly Rate Information
Monthly Permit Rate Information
Under the proposed agreement, TFIC Sewall will take over the management of the following surface lots in the downtown area:
The City will continue to have input on how the surface lots are operated, and TFIC Sewall will operate the parking program with the City’s goals and agreements in mind. This includes maintaining the free surface lot parking spaces that support local downtown businesses. The City’s Downtown Committee will also continue to meet to address the needs of the downtown community.
Rates, hours and practices will be consistent across all the lots and garage. The City and TFIC Sewall have agreed that parking costs in the surface lots will not go up during the garage construction period.
TFIC Sewall will hire a qualified operator through a competitive bidding process to manage the operation and maintenance of the parking garage and surface parking lots. The operator will face penalties if goals and operational standards are not met.
A combination of the revenues from the garage and the payments made from the TIF will pay for the management of the garage. The amount of the City’s payments to TFIC Sewall each year takes the cost of garage management into account.
Once completed, the RiverWalk will connect from Mechanics Park to the 3 Lincoln Street property. The construction of the RiverWalk provides additional pedestrian connections between the parking structure and other areas of the downtown.
The agreement will last for 25 years. After 10 years, the City will have three options:
If the City chooses to continue the agreement until Year 25, it will take over ownership of the garage at the end of the term at no cost.
In 2016, the Downtown Task Force considered 5 locations for a parking garage and recommended 3 Lincoln Street as the best location for the City’s first garage. In addition, Desmond evaluated three locations in a parking study and also recommended this site as the best location.
This space was selected for several reasons:
In addition to the parking garage, the City has entered into an agreement with BE Fitler, LLC to redevelop the 3 Lincoln Street property. The developers have proposed to establish two development sites on either side of the space reserved for the proposed parking garage. The developers will seek to incorporate a mixture of residential, retail, office, hospitality, education and service uses with the proposed parking structure, RiverWalk, and riverside park to create an economically vibrant, urban-style mixed use destination.
No, the amount of available parking in the downtown has not changed due to any recent construction projects or streetscape improvements.
A traffic impact study will be completed as a requirement of the development.
No, the City is able to determine how funds from the TIF are allocated. Based on the approved proposal, payments from the TIF will total $8,376,695 for the first 10 years of the agreement. A portion of the costs of the garage will be paid for by revenues from the users of the garage.
The City received $562,921 in net revenues in FY20 due to growth in the community since the closure of MERC. These numbers represent only FY20 (July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020) and are not cumulative. The calculations used to answer this question are described below and shown in the image at the bottom of the page.
The first table, Maine Energy Recovery Company, shows the total amount of taxes paid by MERC in the last year before its closure. The valuation loss when MERC came off the books was $905,729 (using the FY13 assessment and tax rate of $16.54). It should be of note that the total value of MERC would have been reduced in FY14 as the total values of the entire city were reduced in a city-wide adjustment.
The second table, Taxable Real Estate Valuation Changes, compares the city-wide valuation and the MSRD 1-3 valuation in FY2014 to the same values in FY2020. The city-wide valuation has grown by $58 million since FY2014, and the MSRD 1-3 valuation (which includes the downtown area that was directly impacted by MERC's closure) has grown by $44 million.
The third table, TIF Value Generated (City Retained Funds) shows the growth of the TIF since MERC's closure. The TIF funds included in the comparison are those that are retained by the City, not CE (credit enhancements). The TIF value has grown by $475,143.
The final table, MERC Taxes Lost vs. New Growth: All Revenues, shows the net difference between revenues in FY14 vs. FY20. The City received $562,921 in net revenues in FY20 due to growth in the community since the closure of MERC. These numbers represent only FY20 (July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020) and are not cumulative. Note that the growth in downtown value ($44,268,200) is reduced from the city-wide increase ($58,146,101) so only the net difference in tax revenues is included in this final calculation.
The last year that MERC was taxed by the City was 2012. That year, the total net tax commitment, which is the part that drives the tax rate for residents, was $39,117,595. This year, it is $46,340,694. This means that the net tax commitment has gone up 18.47% in 7 years at an average rate of 2.64% per year. The claim has been made that taxes have gone up 30% since the closure of MERC; however, this is false.
The nearly $40 million in new value is dependent on increasing property values in the surrounding downtown area and the new tax dollars that would be generated by the projected growth. There is a revaluation planned, and that is taken into account in this calculation, but the new value is mainly from anticipated growth.
You can put your containers out by the curb after 4 p.m. the night before collection and they must be brought back in from the curb by 8 p.m. the day of collection.
PAYT bags can be purchased at the following local retailers:
No, do not use a plastic bag to place items into the blue recycling container. The items you place in the blue recycling container should be placed in the container loosely and not in a bag. The only exception to this is if you have shredded paper. Shredded paper should be placed in a brown paper bag (NOT plastic), then placed into the blue recycling container.
The City of Biddeford implemented a new curbside recycling and trash collection program on July 1, 2013. Properties that are in the program receive a blue Zero-Sort recycling bin and a smaller green trash container to limit "free" trash collection. Collection is curbside so residents living in properties that are in the program no longer have to bring their recyclables to the Recycling Center, they get picked-up at curbside or roadside. Trash and recycling get picked up on the same day every week. Check out what day is your collection day (PDF).
All single-family residential properties and all residential properties with apartment buildings having 5 or less units received one 65 gallon blue recycling container and one 35 gallon green trash container for each residential unit on the property. Those containers can be put out for collection weekly on the scheduled day for your street. If you have more recycling materials than can fit into your blue recycling container you may bring those materials to the Recycling Center or hold them until the following week. If you have more trash than can fit into your green trash container you must use the City’s orange Pay As You Throw (PAYT) bags for this overflow trash. These bags will be sold in a number of local stores. Check out where you can purchase these bags! The PAYT bags can be placed curbside next to your green trash container for collection. The PAYT bags can also be placed in a separate container as long as that container is no larger than 45 gallons and does not weigh more than 35 pounds. Remember, you do not need orange PAYT bags for trash that you put in your green trash container. PAYT bags are only used for trash that does not fit into your green trash container.
All grandfathered commercial apartment properties with 6 or more units received one 65-gallon blue recycling container for each residential unit on the property, space permitting. If you have more recycling materials than can fit into your blue recycling container you may bring those materials to the Recycling Center or hold them until the following week. These properties will not receive any trash containers. Trash from these properties will need to be placed in the City’s orange PAYT bags and placed curbside for collection. The PAYT bags can be placed in a trash container as long as that container is no larger than 45 gallons and does not weigh more than 35 pounds. These bags will be sold in a number of local stores. Check out where you can purchase these bags!
Included in the Zero Sort Program are:
The blue recycling container is used for the following items ONLY. All recyclables should be LOOSE in the blue bin (not bagged).
The green trash container is used for your household trash. Your household trash can be placed in regular trash bags prior to placement in the green container. You do not need to use the city’s orange PAYT bags for trash that is placed in the green trash container. The orange PAYT bags are only for trash that does not fit in the green trash container.
Do not place any of the following items in either container:
Yes, you can place the orange PAYT bags into your old trash can and place it out by the road for collection.
Yes, trash can be placed in a regular plastic trash bag then placed into the green trash container.
Commercial apartment properties with 6 or more units are grandfathered if the following 2 conditions are met :
These properties will retain their grandfathered status until such time that the ownership changes. Upon a change in ownership, the grandfathered status will be lost and the City will no longer service that property. View the list of grandfathered properties. If your property is not on this list then it is not grandfathered.
Property owners that have lost the grandfathered status for trash collection need to contract with a private hauler to collect and dispose of their trash and recyclables. The City continued to pick up the trash at these locations until June 28, 2013. As always, the tenants of those properties may bring their acceptable recycling materials to the Recycling Center.
View a list of properties that have lost their grandfather status.
If you have an additional question or comment you can fill out this form and someone will get back to you, or you can call the Public Works Department at 207-282-1579.
The Brownfields Grant Award is $240,000.
Federal procurement rules require two or more bidders to compete - see 40 CFR Part 31.36.
Most experts recommend you replace your smoke detector if it is ten years or older. One study conducted a few years ago found most smoke detectors do not work as reliably after ten years or so.
Without looking at your house it is virtually impossible to say exactly how many smoke detectors you need. We recommend smoke detectors should be in the hallway outside of bedrooms, inside the bedrooms and on every level of the floor. While this may seem like a lot of detectors keep in mind that the detector in the hallway outside the bedroom will most likely double as a detector on every level of the floor as well. If you have any questions call your local fire department.
Smoke detectors should either be installed on the ceiling or a few inches down from the ceiling on a wall. The reason smoke detectors should be installed a few inches lower than the ceiling is that smoke tends to curl when it reaches the 90 degree angle formed by the ceiling joining the wall and this forms a “dead space” where smoke may not penetrate.
Sometimes smoke detectors alarm for no apparent reason. In the summertime humid, wet weather will sometimes cause a detector to alarm (steam from a hot shower will also cause the alarm to sound). Another reason for an alarm might be due to someone cooking as food particles baked on to the oven can cause an alarm to sound. It is also possible that your detector is faulty. We recommend replacing your detector every ten years.
A number of manufacturers make smoke detectors now with lithium-powered batteries. These smoke detectors’ batteries supposedly last for ten years without being changed.
You should test your detector once every month by simply depressing the test button.
Most smoke detectors have a safety feature that causes the detector to chirp when the battery is low, but experts still say you should change the battery in your smoke detector at least once to twice a year (a good time to do this is when you change the clocks with the move to Daylight Savings Time) to be sure the batteries are good. The low-battery warning is a nice feature, but if the detector starts to chirp at 2 a.m. most home owners are not going to take the battery out and replace it at that time.
There are two basic smoke detectors for sale in the U.S. – ionization smoke detectors and photo-electric smoke detectors. Ionization detectors use a minute amount of radioactive material to detect smoke particles while photo-electric detectors use a beam of light to detect the smoke particles. Ionization detectors are the most common and are relatively inexpensive, but tend to have more false alarms. Photo-electric detectors tend to have fewer false alarms, but are more expensive and sometimes are difficult to find in stores. Both detectors work differently and each detects a different type of fire more quickly than the other one (smoldering fire vs. a flash fire), but studies have shown that both are equally effective and normally sound an alarm within seconds of each other regardless of the type of fire.
Disconnected or unplugged smoke detectors is the leading cause of inoperative smoke detectors in the United States. Instead of disconnecting the battery or electrical connection when the alarm sounds from a false alarm you may want to:
Carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are not currently required. However, we believe that carbon monoxide detectors are a good idea. Since carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless, tasteless and is known for mimicking the signs and symptoms of a person with a cold or flu, many people are exposed to CO without knowing it. Experts say at least one CO detector in a home is a good idea, especially if you live in a well-insulated home or there are young or old persons living in the home.
Carbon monoxide detectors should be placed in the hallway outside of the bedrooms. Since carbon monoxide filters throughout the air and does not rise like the smoke from a fire you can place your detector virtually anywhere on the ceiling or the wall (as long as it is a few inches down from the ceiling.)