Calais Tax Map Goes Digital

Calais Tax Map Goes Digital 

By Kaileigh Deacon

In this day and age with more and more things going online and computer-based, it is essential that smaller areas keep up. Calais has taken yet another step in bridging the technological gap by creating a digital tax map. The map would allow visitors to view the City of Calais website and access property information that was previously only available when visiting the city building.

City assessor Andrea Walton has been working on constructing the map since she took the position. Her goal is to make the city’s information more accessible not only to its citizens but people looking to move here as well. The map shows all the lots in the city, providing detailed information about size, ownership and what the property is assessed at. The map also provides rough property lines but would not be usable for legal purposes. The map would also show the trail lines leading in and out of town.

Walton has brought the map a great distance in the time she has been working on it, but there still is more work to do. Walton brought before the council the possibility of using CAI technology to add even more depth and features to the map as well as being able to input water and sewer lines. By doing this, viewers would be able to see not only a bird’s eye view of the properties but a street view and sketches of the properties as well. The additions would benefit the citizens as well as various departments in the city.

The cost for the first year is $2,500 in start-up costs, plus the yearly fee of $2,400. After the first year, it would cost the city $2,400 a year to maintain. While looking at upgrades to technology, the city also discussed a necessary upgrade to the software for the city’s website. The council voted unanimously to purchase both sets of software with the money coming from the economic development fund.

Calais’s tax map is live now. It can be viewed on the website by following these instructions, provided by Walton: “Go to the City of Calais website (calaismaine.org), then go to departments and click Assessing. This will bring you to the Assessing page. Scroll down to where it says Parcel Viewer and click ‘Read More.’ Then on that page there is a link. Click that and it will take you to the GIS, or Parcel Viewer as some people call it. You can click on parcels and get the following information: owner, location, mailing address, assessment, and acreage.”

The City Council also adopted a new tobacco policy. The policy aims to encourage and promote a tobacco-free area. The city will receive tobacco-free area signage that will be posted in areas throughout town that have been designated tobacco-free. The city will work on establishing what course of action will be taken for violators of this policy. The vote to adopt the policy was unanimous.

City Manager Jim Porter spoke to the council about the possibility of applying for a Game Time grant. The grant would provide money for construction of a new park area at the Thomas DiCenzo Athletic Complex. The grant would offer $80,000 but would require that the city come up with matching funds. Porter advised the council that while proceeding with the park project was a good idea, the restrictiveness and amount that this grant would cost was not feasible for the city. The Council agreed and sent the proposed park plans to the property committee for review and discussion on ways to come up with funds to support the changes.

City Clerk Theresa Porter said to the council that because of Ranked Choice Voting and the way the programs for it will run this year, there will be a slight delay in getting the results of the local elections. The results for the state elections will be calculated quickly after the polls close, but the software requires the changing of a thumb drive before local election results will be available. Porter said that the local results should be available an hour or so after the polls close.

The council briefly discussed the upcoming county budget meeting. The council was encouraged to attend the upcoming meeting on October 30th to show their displeasure with the expected increase in Calais’ portion of the County tax. The City of Calais experienced a 12% increase in County tax last year, and if this year’s budget goes through as proposed, the City of Calais will likely see an 8% increase again this year.

 

The city council will hold an organizational meeting on November 8th with a small limited agenda. The next regular council meeting will be held on November 15th at 6 p.m.