Special Town Meeting Canceled, Code Vote Moved to November

At an emergency meeting of the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday evening, the Board voted to cancel the Special Town Meeting set for Tuesday, September 29th. The number of residents concerned with the potential of a big turnout of voters at the special town meeting combined with the ongoing pandemic led the Selectmen to reconsider their decision. 

The Core Zoning Code will instead be placed on the November 3rd referendum ballot following final approval at the Selectmen’s meeting next Tuesday evening. The schedule for additional public hearings will be set at that time.

For more information: https://mailchi.mp/19da1df4ae0e/q7z1o7wnu8-4600780


Core Zoning Code Q&A’s and Pop-Up Schedule

The Board of Selectmen will be continuing with Pop-Up meetings with residents and tax payers over the coming weeks on Tuesday and Thursday 12pm-1 and Saturdays 10am-12pm.

 

Below are the questions raised at the Pop-Up events thus far and the answers to these concerns.

 

 

 

Additionally, a revised version of the Core Zoning Code has been posted to the website reflecting the concerns raised at the Pop-Up meetings. The revised code and all of the information concerning this code proposal is available on the Town’s website here


Pop Up Zoning Code Meeting Schedule – 8/28

Once again the Board of Selectmen are hosting a series of “pop up” meetings with residents who have questions or concerns relating to the Core Zoning Code proposed for a September 29 Special Town Meeting.

The Code and all associated information to be considered at the Special Town Meeting can be found on the Town’s website under the banner link at the top of the page or you can click here.

Anyone resident or property owner with questions can stop by the Town Office tomorrow (8/29) 10am – 12pm rain or shine.  

For residents who have more specific needs, Tor Glendinning and Brian Foote will be available outdoors at the Town Office on Tuesday and Thursday from 12pm – 1pm. Please call the office to schedule an appointment at 563-3441


Core Zoning Code Special Town Meeting – September 29th

The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously at its meeting on August 17th to set a Special Town Meeting for Tuesday, September 29th for the residents to consider the adoption of the Core Zoning Code.

 

The Code and all associated information to be considered at the Special Town Meeting can be found on the Town’s website under the banner link at the top of the page or you can click here.

 

The warrant to be voted upon at the Special Town Meeting can be reviewed here.

 

The Special Town Meeting will be unique as it will occur under a tent outdoors at Fosters Auction Company at 822 US-1. Due to Maine CDC guidelines, we will require physical distancing and the wearing of masks for attendees. The Town is investigating the possibility for residents who are uncomfortable to sit under the tent to participate from the safety of their own vehicles in the parking lot, but those are still details to be worked out.

 

Many residents may recall in March the Town had scheduled a public hearing the week of public events being cancelled across the country. That meeting never occurred but the Town recognizes there are many questions regarding this code and how it impacts residents. As a result, members of the Board of Selectmen and Zoning Committee are teaming up to set up pop up meetings with residents. This Saturday (8/22) from 10am – 12pm Rob Nelson and Rem Briggs will be set up outside the Town Office to meet with any residents who have questions. Joel Lind will be offering the same 10am-12pm window on the following Saturday (8/29).

 

For residents who have more specific needs, Tor Glendinning and Brian Foote will be available outdoors at the Town Office on Tuesday and Thursday from 12pm – 1pm over the next couple of weeks. Please call the office to schedule an appointment.


Town Office Operations Update 7/15

With a one of a kind election out of the way, the Town Office is turning its eyes directly on working with our residents to register all of the motor vehicles, boats, and ATVs that are new to their owner or require re-registration.

All registrations, and all other business requiring in-person service, are being handled by appointment. The office is still working through a backlog of residents who require an appointment and we are contacting residents to establish an appointment to come in and register their vehicles.

Those who need to re-register their vehicle can use the state’s Rapid Renewal system which will allow registrants to print out a temporary registration, mail the official registration with stickers to your home, and then transfer the appropriate funds to the town from your transaction. As we have said throughout this pandemic, we urge our residents to use this service whenever possible as we have a large number of residents who cannot process their registration without an appointment.

In other business, the office phone has been incredibly busy since re-opening a couple of weeks ago, so we ask for your continued patience. Our new phone system has a great number of features that will allow us to better serve our residents, but there are always bugs to work out of any new system. If our line is busy or you are unable to leave a message, please call us back. We are in the office and want to help. If the phone isn’t working, email is always a good option!

Lastly, if you need to make an appointment, we are asking our customers to please wear a mask, per Governor Mills’ order. The glass we will soon have on the counter has not yet arrived, so we are doing our best to improvise to create a barrier to keep our residents and our employees safe. While we are following all appropriate protocols for cleaning, we need your help in maintaining a safe public space that residents of all backgrounds and health conditions need access.


Election Results Delay – 7/14

Unfortunately, the Town of Newcastle is unable to report its results for the July 14, 2020 election due to a software issue with the tabulation machine. The issue is focused on the tabulation of state ballots cast via the absentee ballot process. The Secretary of State’s office has been in contact with us and will provide Newcastle with a repair to the software Wednesday morning. Further, the Secretary of State’s office has requested that we suspend the tabulation of all ballots until the software for state ballots can be implemented. Due to the priority status for state ballots, none of the ballots cast for municipal offices or referendum have been tabulated. All ballots are secured and locked according to state guidelines for ballot storage.

Once the software repair has been completed, the Town Clerk will proceed with the process that will report the results of the state ballots and then followed by municipal matters. As with a standard election evening count, candidates for office (or their representatives) are welcome to spectate the tabulation of results.

We believe the count for all items on Newcastle ballots should be completed by late afternoon on Wednesday.


Town Office Re-Opening – 6/26/20

We are pleased to announce that we will be re-opening the Town Office on a “by appointment” basis starting Monday 6/29. We will be holding our typical office hours of Monday-Thursday 8:00 am – 4:00 pm and Friday 8:00 am – 12:00pm. Our staff will be available via phone and email, and process as many transactions as possible remotely. However, items which require in person visits (such as new motor vehicle registrations or marriage licenses) can be transacted by setting up an appointment with the Town Office staff. Keep in mind, given the Governor’s latest State of Emergency declaration, the deadline for registering all out of date motor vehicles is August 9th.

Absentee ballots are available and you can request a ballot by calling our office or using the Secretary of State’s online request website.

This will be an incredibly busy time in the office and we strongly urge anyone who can find alternative means to transact business (such as online Rapid Renewal system where one can re-register their motor vehicle) to do so. Customers whose needs can only be met with an in-person visit will be prioritized and the wait may be quite long.

Please do not hesitate to call or email with any questions or concerns. Our phone lines may be quite busy over the course of the summer, so please leave us a message and we will get back to you as soon as we are able.

Once again, thank you for all of your patience through this incredibly trying time. We appreciate our residents who have been so patient and hope that you will enjoy the updated and renovated town office space.


July 14th Municipal Election Information

In addition to the primary vote on July 14th, Newcastle voters will have the opportunity to vote on a number of issues and candidates on the local level. Rather than a traditional open annual town meeting, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the Selectmen to consider an alternative in having the residents decide items such as the municipal and school budgets via referendum.

Below you will find a copy of the sample ballot which covers all municipal issues (including the budget) and the secondary schooling budget (Newcastle students in grades 9-12). An additional ballot will be included which concerns the Great Salt Bay School budget (Newcastle students in grades K-8).

This year, due to the challenge of including all of the information which explains the budget on a ballot, we are including links which explain the municipal and secondary school budgets for the coming year. In addition, a public hearing will be held on Monday, June 22nd at 6:30pm on the Town’s YouTube channel. Prior to that night you can send questions or comments for inclusion in the Public Hearing, and the Selectmen have agreed to extend the comment period for one additional week (until June 29th). Comments and questions can be sent to the office via US Mail, dropped into the town’s dropbox at the Town Office, or emailed to [email protected]

We recognize this process is new and a break from tradition, but unfortunately the COVID-19 virus cares little about such things. Let’s hope we can all get back to our old ways of operating soon. But in the meantime, we urge anyone who can to request an absentee ballot and have your voice heard. Click on the Secretary of State’s link and we will send you a ballot as soon as we are able to do so beginning the week of June 22nd.

Town of Newcastle Specimen Ballot – July 14, 2020

2020 Annual Town Meeting Warrant

FY 21 Municipal Budget Explanation

FY 21 Secondary School Budget Explanation

Below is the Public Hearing held on June 22nd for the items on the July 14th municipal referendum

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iusJ6dSd8ys

Town Office Update – 5/28/2020

While businesses have begun to re-open across Maine, little has changed for the operations of the Newcastle Town Office since late March. This will change in the month of June, but not on the same timetable as other communities.

Starting Monday, the Town Office will be undergoing renovations to allow the office to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and serve our residents efficiently even in a post-COVID-19 world. Many may have seen the designs in the Lincoln County News and thankfully we’ve been able to find a contractor who can accomplish this project for a price within budgeted amounts. Though we’ll continue to have our staff respond to emails and phone calls, our ability to process transactions will be limited through the construction period. We anticipate that the renovations will be completed by late June.

Most notably, these renovations prevent our office from re-opening on June 1 and this directly impacts our residents’ ability to register new motor vehicles. Per Governor Mills’ order, motorists will NOT be held responsible for operating motor vehicles who reside in communities where they are are unable to fully register their new vehicles. All vehicles who require re-registration can do so online using the Rapid Renewal program and we urge all residents who fall into this category to do so. Once the office re-opens, new registrations will be prioritized so residents should make every attempt to handle their re-registrations online.

As always, if you have questions or concerns regarding transactions usually undertaken at the Town Office, please contact the office via phone or email. Someone will respond to your request as soon as they are able.