OAKLAND — Residents frustrated with rising property taxes are circulating petitions they believe will give more townspeople additional control over town finances.

Anne Hammond helped write the two articles she is pushing to see on Oakland’s ballot in November.

The first article asks if voters favor a four-year moratorium on any property tax increase in Oakland, except for those for disasters and emergencies.

It also asks if they want to require that any property tax rate increase be approved by voters during a November general election.

The second article asks voters if they want Town Council, budget committee and School Board meetings to be recorded and available at viewers’ convenience on the town website or public television access channel.

Hammond said she took action because she’s tired of the property tax rate “going up, up, up.”

Hammond, a former municipal auditor, said more townspeople would have a say if fiscal matters were part of the November election.

She said more people vote in a November referendum than attend Oakland’s annual Town Meeting. There are 4,371 registered voters in Oakland.

About 100 voters attended the 2102 Town Meeting, at which every article was approved.

As a result of the votes, the property tax on a home valued at $100,000 increased by $13.

Several of the articles involved moving forward with a proposed new municipal building that voters had rejected at the polls in November.

After that November vote, at the Town Council’s request, the Building Study Committee and department heads continued to work to shrink the facility’s footprint and cost.

Gary Bennett, who lives on Messalonskee Lake, said town officials ignored the majority’s wishes by moving forward with the municipal project after the November vote.

“They don’t seem to listen to the will of voters,” he said.

Bennett said if the building project is ultimately approved his property taxes will increase again.

He said rising property taxes — he said his have tripled in 25 years — make it difficult to afford a home on the water.

“I’m proud to pay taxes,” Bennett said. “But the town is on a spending spree and the spending spree is on the backs of waterfront property owners.”

Town Manager Peter Nielsen said he had not seen the petitions and would not speculate on the articles’ possible impact.

Each petition must by signed by 278 registered Oakland voters to be placed on the November ballot, according to state law. That number represents 10 percent of the town’s voters in Maine’s last gubernatorial election.

Beth Staples — 861-9252

[email protected]


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