Frequently Asked Questions

 

 When does the City Council meet?

The City Council holds its regular meetings in the Council Chamber in City Hall on the first Monday after the first Tuesday of each month. Meetings begin at 6:00 PM. When meetings fall on a holiday, the meeting is the following Tuesday. Agenda materials must be submitted to the City Manager by 12 Noon on the Wednesday before the meeting date. Agendas are available at the City Clerk's Office and on the Hallowell Web Site by the Friday prior to the regular Council meeting.

Special Council Meetings must have 24-hours notice to the Council and press.

 What do I do with my trash?

The City of Hallowell contracts with the City of Augusta for use of the Hatch Hill Landfill. There is no municipal trash collection in Hallowell. Residents must either hire one of the private haulers licensed by the City or take their trash to Hatch Hill themselves. Hatch Hill is located on Route 105 (South Belfast Ave.) in Augusta and is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Permits for use of the facility are available at Hatch Hill and City Center offices. More information about Hatch Hill is available here.

The City of Hallowell operates the NorthBay Recycling Center in the Public Works Garage at 284 Water Street. Residents may deposit recyclable materials there Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. More information about NorthBay is available here.

 Why does the old owner's name appear on my tax bill?

The statutory assessment date in Maine is April 1. The Assessors' Office must retain this ownership information for the entire fiscal year that follows. If you purchased your property after April 1, the previous owner's name remains on the tax bill. Every effort is made to forward tax bills to the new owner. However, if you have not received a tax bill by August 25, you should contact the Tax Collector at (207) 430-4401.

If you sold property after April 1, you should contact the Tax Collector at (207) 430-4401 to make sure the new owner has paid the taxes; any tax liens placed on the property will be in your name since you owned it on April 1.

 How do I obtain a marriage license?

The State of Maine requires Maine residents to obtain a marriage license in the town/city where they reside. If the parties reside in two different Maine communities, they only need to apply in one of the communities. If only one of the parties is a Maine resident, they must apply in the town/city where the Maine resident resides. If both parties are out of state residents, they can apply in any Maine town/city, but we recommend they apply in the Maine town/city in which they intend to be married to facilitate genealogy searches. A $40.00 filing fee is required. The State of Maine does not require blood tests. If it is not the first marriage, a certified copy of the death certificate or divorce decree is required. (A certified copy has a raised seal and/or original signature - no photocopies accepted.) The license is valid for 90 days from the date the intentions are filed. The State of Maine does not recognize "Common Law Marriage" or  "Marriage by Proxy."

 What does it mean when a road is "Posted"?

Each spring the City puts a weight limit on the roads so that heavy vehicles will not damage the roads while the frost is working its way out of the ground. Vehicles weighing over 23,000 pounds are prohibited unless they have a state permit or a permit approved by the City Council. Roads are generally posted from late February through May 15th.

 How do I obtain a certified copy of a Birth Certificate, Marriage Certificate or Death Certificate?

Information on obtaining certified copies of Vital Records is available on the State Website here. The same State-mandated conditions apply to municipal clerks.

The City Clerk can issue certified copies of Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates that have been filed with the City Clerk. The fee for a certified copy is $15 plus $6 for each additional copy of the same record made at the same time.

 How do I register to vote?

The State of Maine allows residents to register to vote in many different ways, including the day of the election at the polling place and at City Hall. Residents of Hallowell may register during the year anytime during office hours at the City Clerk's office. You can also register to vote at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles when you apply for or renew your driver's license. Proof of identity & residency is required. More complete information is available here.

 How many members serve on the City Council and what are their terms?

The City Council is composed of a Mayor, two Councilors-at-Large and five Ward Councilors. All are elected for three-year terms that are staggered.

 How is the tax rate established?

The City Council adopts the Municipal Budget. The School Board recommends the RSU #2 Budget, which is approved at District Meetings and then validated by the voters at a referendum election. The County Commissioners adopt the County Budget and determine Hallowell's share. The tax rate is calculated by dividing the amounts needed to be raised (the total of the three budgets) by the City's total assessed property value.

For Example: $3,000,000 to be raised ÷ $130,000,000 total value of all taxable properties in the City = a tax rate of 0.02307. Thus each dollar of property value would be assessed $0.02307; or, as more commonly expressed, the property would be assessed at $23.07 per thousand. This is called the mil rate. (These numbers are provided as an example only.)

 What is the difference between Assessors' Year, Fiscal Year and Commitment date?

Assessors' Year: April 1 to March 31 (set by State Law)

The ownership and condition of all property is fixed as of April 1 each year. The owner of record on April 1 is responsible for the annual tax bill obligation. The current assessment information available from the Assessors' Office reflects the owners and assessment as of April 1. Any ownership changes or improvements to this property made after April 1 will not change the tax bill due in September or the second payment due in March. This is the Fiscal Year tax obligation.

Fiscal or Tax Year: July 1 to June 30 (set by City Ordinance)

The municipal budget, approved by the City Council covers this period. Even though tax bills are mailed out in July or August, the fiscal year begins on July 1st.

Commitment Date: (set by the Assessors)

This date is when the Assessors "commit" the City's assessment rolls to the Tax Collector. The commitment date varies from year to year. In Hallowell, this date is usually in August.   

 How many members serve on the School Board and what are their terms?

The City of Hallowell has two Directors on the RSU #2 School Board who are elected for three-year terms. The terms are staggered so that the seats are not open in the same year. 

More information about the RSU #2 School Board is available here.

 Where do I vote?

Residents of Hallowell vote at Hall-Dale Elementary School, 26 Garden Lane. The polls open at 8:00 AM and close at 8:00 PM.

 The snowplow knocked over my mailbox. Does the City pay for a new mailbox?

No. Anything erected or located within the City's right-of-way is the property owner's responsibility to replace if damaged during snowplow operations. The Public Works Department is happy to work with you in locating areas for mailboxes, fences, etc., to minimize the chance of damage and to make sure property is located safely.

 Where can I locate a Birth, Marriage or Death Record?

Birth Certificates:

• The City or Town in which the child was born;
• The City or Town in which the mother was living at the time of the birth; and
• The State Office of Data, Research, and Vital Statistics

Marriage Certificates:

• The City or Town in which intentions were filed and the license was issued;
• The City or Town in which the marriage was solemnized (for marriages before 1996 only); and
• The State Office of Data, Research, and Vital Statistics 

Domestic Partnership Certificates:

• The State Office of Data, Research, and Vital Statistics 

Death Certificates:

• The City or Town of residence at the time of death;
• The City or Town where the death occurred; and
• The State Office of Data, Research, and Vital Statistics 

 Does the City keep a list of tax-acquired properties for sale?

The City does not maintain a master list of tax-acquired properties. The City Council works with people to resolve tax arrears and does not routinely auction off the tax-acquired property. If the City Council authorizes the sale of tax-acquired property, it is advertised in the legal classifieds of the Kennebec Journal.

 What causes property values to change?

The most frequent cause of value change is a change in the general real estate market. As demand for property goes up, prices tend to go up. As demand decreases, so do prices.

An individual property can also change in value due to changes to the property itself. If something is added, such as a garage, bedroom, or pool, the value increases. On the other hand, fire, demolition, or depreciation from poor maintenance can decrease value.

Sometimes external economic forces can also change value. For Example: if a major employer leaves the city it tends to depress the local economy and thus property values. In another case, homes that have always been on a dirt road will increase in value if the road is improved and paved, creating better access. Times of general inflation also drive up property values.

 If the Assessors ask to view the interior of my house, must I let them in?

No. You may either decline or ask to set up an appointment for another time that is convenient to you. However, if you do decline, the law does allow the Assessors to estimate the quality and quantity of the interior and you will lose your right to appeal the estimated assessment.

 How do I appeal my assessment if I disagree with the Assessors?

According to Maine Taxation Law, your property's assessment is considered reasonable if it falls within 10% of its most probable selling price. The burden to prove that the assessment is unreasonable rests upon the taxpayer.

The first step is an informal review. Your opinion must be supported with facts, so visit the Assessors' office and review the facts on your property record card, the assessments on other properties in your neighborhood, and properties that have recently sold.

Once you have made this preliminary review, make an appointment with the Assessors to discuss your findings. If the Assessors feel no adjustment is required, then you must apply for a formal appeal. This application must be filed within 185 days after the Commitment Date. The Assessors have 60 days to respond to your application. If this formal appeal is denied, you can appeal within 60 days to the Board of Assessment Review.