City News Round Up for Friday, August 7
Please check our agenda center as Committees, Boards & Commissions continue to meet remotely. The Council meets next on Monday, August 10 at 5:30 PM to discuss and vote on a slate of Council appointees to the Charter Commission.
City Hall remains closed to the general public at this time. Staff continue to serve customers via email, phone, and virtual meetings. For more information, please visit our COVID-19 page.
Auto and boat registrations as well as birth, death, marriage and election services are being conducted at 212 Canco Road for the time being. Auto and boat registrations are by appointment only. Birth, death, marriage and election services are walk-in. The Parking Office is currently working out of 40 Commercial Street.
Any questions? Please call 207-874-8300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Council Limits Rental Housing Application Fees
The Portland City Council approved a limitation on rental housing application fees during its August 3, 2020 meeting, which will be added to the City’s Code, Chapter 6, Buildings and Building Regulations, Section 223.1. The new ordinance prohibits landlords from advertising, accepting applications, and collecting application fees for a rental unit unless that unit is available or will become available in a reasonable timeframe, although the landlord and applicant can mutually agree to put the applicant on a waiting list. When advertising rental units and accepting applications, landlords must disclose up front 1) the criteria that will be used to screen applications, and 2) the cost of the background screening. This item was passed as an emergency and is currently in effect.
City Manager Presents Recommended FY21 Municipal Budget to Council’s Finance Committee
Portland City Manager Jon Jennings presented his recommended FY21 municipal budget to the Council’s Finance Committee on August 5. Due to significant losses in revenue, the recommended budget includes cuts to services and positions, and an overall tax rate decrease.
After initially preparing a budget pre COVID-19 with only a 1.8% tax increase, the City Manager set out to create a new FY21 budget with a goal of no property tax rate increase as everyone deals with these difficult economic times. Ultimately, the new recommended budget includes a property tax rate decrease of one cent.
Given the significant revenue losses the City has faced in light of the pandemic, the City took several measures to reduce expenditures. Despite getting some federal and state COVID-relief funds, the recommended budget includes cuts to services and positions given continued revenue losses combined with increasing costs outside of the City’s control.
Read the City Manager’s full budget letter, here. The Finance Committee will conduct further review of the budget at meetings on August 12 and September 2. The Council will host a budget workshop on September 14. The first read of the budget will take place at the Council’s September 9 meeting with the final vote expected at the September 21 meeting. To view agendas and budget materials, visit: www.portlandmaine.gov/agendas.
TRAFFIC ALERT: Forest Avenue Emergency Vehicle Ramps
Construction on the Emergency Vehicle Ramps at mile 50, has begun. Both ramps are scheduled to be completed by mid-November.
City Hosted Blood Drive on August 12 - Few Spots Still Available
Because our June 30 blood drive was such a success, we’re doing it again! Our next blood drive with the American Red Cross will be held on August 12, 2020 at Portland Ocean Gateway. Click the link above to find out more details and pre-register.
City Makes $500,000 Available for Rent Assistance for Portlanders Affected by COVID-19
In response to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the City of Portland will make available up to three months of rent, and up to $250 in utility assistance to alleviate the housing burden for low income households that have lost their employment income as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The program is designed to alleviate financial pressure on renter households and provide economic security to rental property owners.