City Clerk News

MDIFW, USDA Wildlife Services, City of Bath Working Together On Rabies Issue In Bath


The safety and health of our residents is the foremost concern of the City of Bath. The City is actively coordinating with USDA officials regarding the effort to trap rabies vector animals. This effort results from multiple rabies attacks and exposures reported over the past 13 months. A public meeting to precede trapping will be scheduled as soon as the details are provided from USDA. The date of this meeting will be released on the City website, the City Facebook page, and via press release.

Please refer to the press release below for more information:

MDIFW, USDA Wildlife Services, City of Bath Working Together On Rabies Issue In Bath

AUGUSTA, Maine (February 13, 2020) -- The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is working with the US Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services and the City of Bath on an integrative approach to address important human health and safety concerns surrounding rabies. A focused, localized trapping effort by USDA Wildlife Services is proposed as a management strategy to reduce wild animal population densities in the area. Details of the plan are being finalized, and there will be a public informational meeting to discuss the plan once it is complete.

Rabies is a naturally occurring disease that affects mammals, including people, primarily through a bite. Rabies is fatal if left untreated, but vaccines are extremely effective when medical treatment is sought soon after being exposed to an infected animal. Certain species of wildlife are more susceptible to rabies and have high tolerance for living in close proximity to people, such as raccoons, skunks and foxes. Bats are also considered high risk for rabies because they are sometimes found in homes, and although a small percent carry rabies, their bite marks are small and easily overlooked. Trends in the number of rabies-positive animals has been similar over the last 10 years in Maine. The risk of encountering an animal with rabies is still very low.

However, some areas of mid-coast Maine have been particularly hard hit by rabies in recent years. In 2019, the City of Bath, with a population of over 8,000 people, received 72 suspicious animal calls, 26 sick animals were dispatched by officers or citizens, and 16 animals tested positive for rabies. Of the 18 fox attacks on people or pets, 11 attacks resulted in a person being bitten or scratched. The unusual number of aggressive fox attacks on people and domestic pets has raised human health and safety concerns, and prompted the proposed focused trapping effort. Sick animals and attacks continue to be reported in 2020 in Bath and the nearby communities of West Bath and Phippsburg.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why can’t the government vaccinate wildlife for rabies?
The short answer is that it is ineffective and costly to spot treat high rabies areas. USDA Wildlife Services rabies program in Maine follows the guidelines set by the National Rabies Management Program. The goal of the program is to prevent the further spread of wildlife rabies and eventually eliminate terrestrial rabies in the United States through an integrated program that involves the use of oral rabies vaccination targeting wild animals. The approximate cost for the project in Maine is $500,000, and >80% of that cost is associated with the oral rabies vaccination (ORV) baits used to treat raccoons and other wildlife. Wildlife species account for >90% of all reported cases in the U.S. each year. The costs associated with detection, prevention and control of rabies conservatively exceed $600 million annually in the U.S. Thus, the cost-benefit ratio associated with ORV for wildlife is significant. The greatest economic savings per year (approximately $58 million) comes from preventing spread and keeping rabies from gaining a bigger geographic footprint.

Rabies elimination is a long-term goal that will include current and novel strategies but will require sustainable resources in order to succeed. Currently, the distribution of rabies in Maine is primarily in the central and southern areas of the state but there are cases in some areas of northern Maine as well (primarily Aroostook County). Before management efforts are focused in the southern part of the state, we need to eliminate the risk of further rabies spread in northern Maine. Maine is one of 14 eastern states in which USDA conducts rabies management activities. Each year, over 8 million vaccine baits are distributed in the Eastern U.S. Our goal is to first shut the door on high risk spread corridors throughout the eastern U.S., including the area we are currently working in Maine, before we can start to incrementally eliminate rabies at the local level. 

It currently is cost-prohibitive and logistically not feasible to drop ORV baits statewide in Maine or any other state. The targeted area for ORV in Maine has not changed significantly from last year and is located in northeastern ME, along a portion of the border with New Brunswick. We know that smaller, more focused ORV projects (e.g. at the town scale) fail to get the desired management result because rabies continues to circulate in the surrounding untreated areas and may quickly spread back into the treated areas infecting animals that did not pick up a vaccine bait. 

Why has rabies increased so suddenly in gray foxes in Bath?
The spread of disease in an animal population increases as that animal population density increases. In an area like Bath, where it is not possible to hunt or trap, some animal populations have grown unchecked, and a disease like rabies can spread rapidly through a high-density population.  Rabies is a cyclical disease and it is not uncommon to observe localized outbreaks in a specific area for a period of time that eventually decline. 

Has trapping in a small, populated area been done before? 
Yes. Focused trapping efforts are utilized for a variety of reasons, including public health reasons and for endangered species protection, among other reasons. The operations planned in Bath are not specifically for rabies control. Wildlife Services is a program within the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), and provides Federal leadership and expertise to resolve wildlife conflicts that threaten the Nation’s agricultural, natural, and property resources and human health and safety. Wildlife Services uses and recommends an integrated wildlife damage management approach, including nonlethal techniques, in addressing problems and conflict involving wildlife.  
 
The program for Bath is intended to reduce local animal densities for human health and safety. This may have an effect on the rabies issue as the animals that will be removed are those that are common raccoon rabies vectors.

What kind of traps are being proposed to be used in the Bath area and how long would trapping last?
Cage traps are being proposed, which would allow animals other than raccoon, skunk and fox to be released. Traps would be checked a minimum of 2 times each day and not set during extreme cold temperatures. The trapping effort will be completed by the end of March to prevent orphaning young born in April.

How many animals will be killed?
The number of animals caught will depend on the number of traps set, the length of time they are set, and the weather. Animals are not caught in every trap set every night. Raccoon, skunk, red fox, and grey fox caught in traps will be euthanized and tested for rabies. There is no way to test for rabies on live animals because the test requires brain tissue.

How can people protect themselves and pets from rabies?
•    Vaccinate both indoor and outdoor pets and livestock.
•    Do not approach, handle, or feed wildlife; or unknown domestic animals.
•    Do not move wildlife from one area to another, as this can spread rabies.
•    Feed pets indoors.
•    Secure trash and compost.
•    Consider removing bird feeders and planting native plants to help the birds, without attracting rodents and other creatures that often lead to conflicts.
•    Seal areas around your home where animals might take up residence or hide, like crawl spaces under sheds or decks.
•    If confronted with an aggressive or sick animal, make noise and use whatever you can to protect yourself.
•    Report sick, stray, or strange-acting animals.
•    Contact a healthcare provider right away, if bitten or scratched by an animal.
•    If you wake up to a bat in the house, call Maine CDC at 1-800-821-5821
Learn More on Living with Wildlife: https://www.maine.gov/ifw/fish-wildlife/wildlife/wildlife-human-issues/living-with-wildlife/index.html
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Coronavirus Information


The City is closely monitoring the spread of coronavirus (COVID-1). For what-you-need-to-know information, please take a moment to review this one-page CDC fact sheet: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/2019-ncov-factsheet.pdf

We will keep residents apprised of the situation as more information becomes available.


Coronavirus Update


The City continues to closely monitor the coronavirus (COVID-19). Residents with questions and concerns should consult with the most up-to-date information being provided by the U.S. and Maine Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Information and Updates

Maine CDC website: https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/infectious-disease/epi/airborne/coronavirus.shtml
U.S. CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/summary.html

The Maine CDC is also offering specific guidelines for different groups:

211 Maine is also providing 24/7 CDC updates on coronavirus. You can access these updated by calling 211 (or 1-866-811-5695) or texting “your zip code” to 898211.

Prevention 

Per the Maine CDC: the best thing that Maine people can do to protect their health is to take the same preventive measures that help to avoid catching a cold. Wash your hands often, cover coughs and sneezes and stay home if you are sick. For more prevention measures, please Click Here.

What to Do When Sick

Call ahead: If you are ill and are concerned that you have contracted COVID-19, the first thing you should do is call your healthcare provider. Traveling outside your home unnecessarily may increase the risk to others. For more guidelines, please Click Here.
If your situation is life-threatening, call 911.

Accessing City Services

To help prevent the spread of illness, we are recommending residents take advantage of our online and over-the-phone services:

  • Property Taxes may be paid over-the-phone by calling the Treasurer’s Office at 207-443-8340.
  • Vehicle Registration Renewal may be processed through Maine’s Rapid Renewal service. (New vehicle registration must be done in-person at the Treasurer’s Office)
  • New Vehicle Registration may be processed through email or mail:
    • Option 1: Send an email with pictures of the bill of sale, title/title application, and a copy of your current insurance showing the vehicle VIN and date of policy to jmillett@cityofbath.com and you will receive a reply with the amount due or any further information required. You will then be able to pay either by providing credit card information (service fees apply) or by mailing a check to the Treasurer's Office at 55 Front St. after which the excise tax receipt will be mailed to you and you can then complete the transaction (get your registration/plates) at the DMV.
    • Option 2: Mail your bill of sale, title/application for title (or copies of them), and a copy of your current insurance showing the vehicle VIN and date of policy to the Treasurer's Office at 55 Front St. with contact information. You will receive a reply with the amount due or any further information required. You will then be able to pay either by providing credit card information (service fees apply) or by mailing a check to the Treasurer's Office at 55 Front St. after which the excise tax receipt will be mailed to you and you can then complete the transaction (get your registration/plates) at the DMV.
  • ATV and Snowmobile Registration may be processed online through Maine’s IFW ATV & Snowmobile Registration website
  • Boat Registration Renewal may be processed online through Maine’s Boat Registration Renewal website     
  • Hunting and Fishing Licenses may be purchased online through the Maine Online Sportsman Electronic System (MOSES)
  • Parking Tickets may be paid over-the-phone by calling the Bath Police Department at 207-443-5563.

Community Events

We are supporting the Governor’s recommendation that events with more than 250 attendees be suspended for at least the next 30 days. If you are planning on attending an event or visiting a public space (like the YMCA) in the coming weeks, we suggest that you contact the venue ahead of time.

Contact the City

If you have concerns that are not covered above, please call the City Manager’s Office at 207-443-8330. 
 


Changes to City of Bath Municipal Operations


Bath, ME (March 16, 2020) – As the number of presumptive positive and positive cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) continue to climb, the City of Bath is imposing closures and restrictions of City facilities and services to prevent transmission of illness. 

The public should be prepared for further changes, as more information becomes available from public health officials and as directed by state and federal leadership.

General:
Effective Monday, March 16, at 4:30 p.m., all City buildings will be closed to the general public until at least Monday, March 30. No committee meetings or outside groups will be able to use City buildings during this time. We encourage the public to take advantage of our online and over-the-phone services until offices can reopen. For a full list of these services, visit the City’s coronavirus resource page at https://www.cityofbath.com/Coronavirus.

Parks & Recreation Department:
The Bath Parks & Recreation Department is postponing all programs, events, and meetings until at least Monday, March 30. Likewise, the Bath Youth Meetinghouse & Skatepark is also closed for two weeks. 

Parks and outdoor venues, including McMann Field Complex, are also closed for two weeks. 

Please contact Parks & Recreation Department Director Steve Balboni with any questions or concerns at sbalboni@cityofbath.com

Landfill:
Effective Wednesday, March 18, until at least Monday, March 30, the Bath Landfill will close to the public. The City’s curbside collection of trash and recycling will continue as normal. 

For more information, please call 207-443-8356. 

FMI:
The City encourages residents to follow the U.S. and Maine Centers for Disease Control websites for the most up-to-date information on the pandemic and prevention measures. 

Maine CDC website: https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/infectious-disease/epi/airborne/coronavirus.shtml
U.S. CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

211 Maine is also providing 24/7 CDC updates on coronavirus. You can access these updated by calling 211 (or 1-866-811-5695) or texting “your zip code” to 898211.

If you have questions or concerns that are not covered above, please call the City Manager’s Office at 207-443-8330.


Governor Mills Issues Executive Order


Governor Janet Mills has issued an Executive Order mandating that all restaurants and bars statewide close to dine-in customers effective today, March 18, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. for a period of 14 days until midnight, March 31, 2020. Take-out, delivery, and drive-through options can continue.

The Executive order also prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people statewide. (Gatherings subject to this Order are those that are primarily social, personal, and discretionary events not work-related events.)

Learn More: https://www.maine.gov/governor/mills/news/governor-mills-takes-further-steps-respond-covid-19-protect-health-and-safety-maine-people


Bath Declares State of Emergency


The Bath City Manager has enacted a Proclamation, per guidance from the Council Chair, declaring a state of emergency in the City of Bath. 

PROCLAMATION DECLARING STATE OF EMERGENCY

This Proclamation states:

  1. A civil state of emergency exists within the entire City of Bath.
  2. No business shall host or organize and no person shall be in or remain in any establishment within the City, including, but not limited to, restaurants, museums, dance clubs, music venues, and any other establishment where individuals gather in groups or are in close contact with one another, beginning March 18, 2020 at 8:00 p.m. until March 19, 2020 at 2:00 a.m. and thereafter daily from 8:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.  Take out service is not prohibited by this order.
  3. This Order shall remain in effect until renewed or revoked by the Bath City Council.

**This order does not prohibit businesses, retail stores, gas stations, pharmacies, grocery stores, and the like from operating during their normal business hours. The goal of the order is to prevent leisurely gatherings of people at restaurants, bars, etc. after 8:00 p.m. Take-out and delivery service is still permitted after 8:00 p.m.**

Please direct your questions or comments to the City Manager's Office at 207-443-8330. For more information on the coronavirus, please visit our Coronavirus Resource Page


City of Bath Coronavirus Update


The public should be prepared for further changes, as more information becomes available from public health officials and as directed by state and federal leadership.

Bath, ME (March 27, 2020) – City of Bath buildings will remain closed to the general public until at least Monday, April 27. We encourage the public to take advantage of our online and over the-phone services until offices can reopen. For a full list of these services, visit the City’s coronavirus resource page at https://www.cityofbath.com/Coronavirus.

Public Meetings:
The City will begin holding meetings, including City Council and Planning Board, via video conference during the month of April. Details for public participation in those meetings will be made available in the event postings online. City Council and Planning Board meetings will still be broadcast live on Bath Community Television (Channel 14) and BCTV On Demand (https://www.cityofbath.com/bctv-on-demand).

Parks & Recreation Department:
The Bath Parks & Recreation Department is postponing all programs, events, and meetings until at least Monday, April 27. Likewise, the Bath Youth Meetinghouse & Skatepark is also closed until April 27.

Parks and outdoor venues, including McMann Field Complex, will be re-opened for use on Monday, March 30, except for South End Park. The City recommends that those who use the facilities maintain appropriate social distancing.

Please contact Parks & Recreation Department Director Steve Balboni with any questions or concerns at sbalboni@cityofbath.com

Bath CityBus:
The Bath CityBus will continue to be out of service until Monday, April 27. 
For more information, please call 207-443-8363. 

Landfill:
The Bath Landfill will continued to be closed to the public until Monday, April 27. The City’s curbside collection of trash and recycling will continue as normal. 
For more information, please call 207-443-8356. 

FMI:
The City encourages residents to follow the U.S. and Maine Centers for Disease Control websites for the most up-to-date information on the pandemic and prevention measures. 

If you have questions or concerns that are not covered above, please call the City Manager’s Office at 207-443-8330. Other community information will be available on the City of Bath’s Facebook Page
 


Governor Mills Orders Further Steps to Protect Public Health


From the Office of Governor Janet T. Mills:

Governor Mills has ordered further steps to protect public health. She also urges large essential businesses to limit in-store customers, enhance curbside pick-up and delivery services, and implement physical distancing measures to protect customer and employee health.

Under the authority granted to her during a State of Civil Emergency, Governor Janet Mills today issued an Executive Order (PDF) mandating that all non-essential businesses and operations in Maine close their physical locations that are public facing, meaning those that allow customer, vendor or other in-person contact. The Order also closes non-essential business sites that require more than ten workers to convene in a space where physical distancing is not possible. Non-essential businesses and operations may continue activities that do not involve these types of in-person contact and convenings, and should facilitate the maximum number of employees working remotely.

The Order is effective tomorrow, March 25, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. and extends for a period of 14 days through April 8, 2020 at 12:00 a.m.

The Executive Order issued on March 18th mandating that all restaurants and bars statewide close to dine-in customers remains in effect and was extended through April 8, 2020. Take-out, delivery, and drive-through options can continue.

Learn More


April 1 City Council Meeting Rescheduled to April 6


Due to broadcast interruptions during the April 1, 2020 City Council Regular Meeting, the meeting has been rescheduled for 6:00 p.m. on Monday, April 6. This meeting is being held via electronic devices with City Councilors participating remotely.

The public will not be able to attend this meeting in person. The meeting will be shown live on Bath Community Television (Channel 14) and BCTV On Demand (https://www.cityofbath.com/bctv-on-demand).

The Bath City Council is accepting written public comment, with respect to agenda items, in place of in-person participation from item 9 on. Public comments must be e-mailed to City Clerk Darci Wheeler at dwheeler@cityofbath.com. Public comments received by 5 p.m. on the date of the meeting will be provided to the City Council in advance of the meeting and will become a part of the permanent record of the meeting.

View Agenda
 


Gov. Mills Issues "Stay Healthy at Home" Mandate


On March 31, 2020, Governor Janet Mills issued a series of substantial new mandates to protect public health and safety in the face of COVID-19, including a Stay Healthy at Home directive that requires people living in Maine to stay at home at all times unless for an essential job or an essential personal reason, such as obtaining food, medicine, health care, or other necessary purposes.

The Executive Order takes effect at 12:01 a.m. on April 2, 2020 and will last until at least April 30, 2020. The Governor may amend, rescind, or renew this timeline at her discretion. The Governor also extended the closure of restaurants and bars statewide for dine-in customers until at least April 30, 2020 to align with today’s Executive Order.

Learn More 


Property Tax Exemption Application Deadline Extended


Governor Janet Mills signed an Executive Order extending the April 1, 2020 application deadline for certain property tax exemptions. The Executive Order was signed pursuant to the civil emergency proclamation, signed by the Governor on March 15, 2020.  
 
"Ordinarily, applications for certain property tax exemptions would be submitted by April 1 to be effective for a municipality’s property tax commitment. Now, the Executive Order extends the April 1, 2020 deadline to either the commitment date of the municipality or 30 days after the termination of the declared emergency, whichever occurs first.  The extended application deadline includes the following property tax exemptions: Property of Institutions and Organizations (36 M.R.S. § 652); Estates of Veterans (36 M.R.S. § 653(1)(G)); Solar and Wind Energy Equipment (36 M.R.S. §§ 655(1)(U) and 656(1)(K)); Exemption of Homesteads (36 M.R.S. § 684(1)); and Exemption of Business Equipment (“BETE”) (36 M.R.S. § 693(1))."
 
The Executive Order remains in effect until amended or rescinded.  If you have any questions about the extended deadline, please contact your municipal assessor or the Property Tax Division of Maine Revenue Services at (207) 624-5600.

In Bath, the commitment date is generally the end of August. Thus, Bath property owners may apply for Homestead, Veterans and Solar exemptions until the end of August, or 30 days after the end of the emergency. Business owners whose business personal property is eligible for the Business Equipment Tax Exemption (BETE) program also have an extension.

View Tax Exemption Applications related to Homestead, Blind Persons, Veteran's, Veteran's Survivor Exemptions 

View Tax Exemption Applications related to Solar and Wind Energy Equipment

View Tax Exemption Applications related to Exemption of Business Equipment (BETE)


55 Front Street
Bath,
ME
04530
Fax: 207-443-8333

Monday - Friday
8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
City Clerk
Darci Wheeler
Deputy Clerk
Maureen Craney