Town of Rockport: COVID–19 Updated Response April 6, 2020: I am sure everyone understands that the responses to COVID-19 change by the day and sometimes the hour. For those of us working in municipal government, we are constantly gathering information from the state, Maine Municipal Association, Centers for Disease Control, our attorneys and others, and we are making decisions on an ongoing basis.
I appreciate everyone’s efforts to limit and stop the spread of this terrible virus. Please continue to be diligent in your social distancing when you are required to leave your homes. If you don’t have to leave, please stay home. And please help any elderly or immune-compromised neighbors as much as you can to keep them safe.
As of today, I have extended the closure of all Town Departments to the public until further notice, pending future guidance from the State.
Staff will continue to respond to emails, use the mail to process transactions and respond to phone calls.
I encourage all residents and customers to call the Town Office first to receive guidance on your transaction or question.
We continue to utilize a table in the vestibule at the Town Office that has many forms that you may need as well as the drop slot in the side door of the Town Office to receive paperwork and payments. Most of these forms can also be found on the Town’s website: www.rockportmaine.gov.
On March 23, the Select Board voted to postpone the annual town meeting, including the election previously scheduled for June 9, and the open portion of town meeting previously scheduled for June 10 to a date to be determined.
This vote also automatically extends other deadlines such as the deadline for citizen petitions and any action on submitted petitions as well as the deadline for candidates to submit nomination papers for Select Board and School Board positions.
Also, the Select Board has voted to waive interest on personal property and real estate taxes for 30 days.
The due date for taxes remains April 15; however, interest will not accrue until May 16. The Board has also given the Town Manager authorization to waive interest on taxes for up to another 60 days if necessary.
Social distancing measures have caused challenges in holding public meetings.
The Maine Legislature adopted changes to the public meetings law to allow for remote meeting participation including voting on issues.
Future Select Board meetings, beginning with the April 13 Select Board meeting, will be held through videoconferencing. The public will still be able to watch the meetings through livestream https://livestream.com/rockportmaine) and can provide comments and questions through that platform or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I understand the strain this situation is placing on individuals and the community at large. I am proud of how serious and responsible Rockport’s residents and businesses are being in the face of this challenge. By practicing social distancing, and quarantining yourselves when necessary, you’re demonstrating a commitment to protecting the most vulnerable amongst us at the sake of your own comfort, and often financial security. I know during these challenging times we’llcontinue to be kind to one another, be patient, share resources, and don’t hoard supplies that are badly needed by the many. This may last longer than we all want, but it certainly won’t last forever. When this is over, we’ll be a much stronger community for working together to take care of one another.