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Rain — hooray! I’m beginning to worry about the trees. It looks to be an "off" apple year either way but it’d be nice if what we have might plump up a bit. My hubby is an avid hard cider maker so we’ll squeeze what we can! And all the dye plants are begging to be boiled: tansy, goldenrod (I just learned different species of goldenrod give different shades of yellow), and elderberries — it’s a trick to collect them when they’re ripe enough, but before the birds finish feasting on them.

Condolences

Sadly we have lost another pillar of our community, Bruce Littlefield. Our condolences to his wife Hazel, and their family. In addition to his many other contributions to his communities, Bruce was one of our three selectmen, and he was our town webpage guru. May he rest in peace.

Last Call

We attended the memorial service for Eddie Moore at the Jackson Fire House this past Sunday morning. It was nice to see the photos and the letters and cards from around the country. Eddie’s Firefighter's Last Call was very moving. It was a pleasure to see the good turnout of people to celebrate Eddie’s life.

Town Office

With Bruce Littlefield’s passing one of the three selectmen seats is now open. If you are at all interested in running for this seat at the next town meeting (March 2021) you are welcome to come sit in at the selectmen’s meetings to learn more about what the position entails. The next selectmen’s meeting is 6:30 p.m., Sept. 8.

Who knew the difference between a “mail-in ballot” and an “absentee ballot”? I recently learned that a mail-in ballot is when a state initiative means all registered voters receive a ballot in the mail whether they have requested one or not. Maine does not have mail-in ballots. We have an absentee ballot system which means you must request a ballot, either online at maine.gov or via a paper application from your town office, and then mail or hand-carry it back to your town.

Fun fact: Once your absentee ballot is received back at town office, the envelope is logged, then opened and dropped into the ballot box — folded just as you put it into the envelope — to await counting on Nov. 3. If you fold it back up in the exact way you received it, then no one can see how you voted when the envelope is opened and dropped into the ballot box.

If you are new to town, or not, but need to register to vote, Brenda asks you to please register early! Town Office (Brenda): 722-3439

Tax bills

Jackson tax bills should be in mail by the end of August. Everyone’s tax bills will be looking a little bit different this year. In a nutshell, your assessed value will have gone up, but our mill rate will have dropped. In many cases this change will have a negligible impact on the amount due.

By way of explanation, and please note, this is in no way my forte, it all has to do with our town’s “certified ratio.” Every year the state audits the real estate sales in each town and compares them to our tax valuations, the assessed value. The state’s goal is to close the gap between what properties sell for and what they are assessed for. Our assessed values were so low compared to our past year’s sales prices that the certified ratio calculation meant that homeowners in Jackson were not getting the full amount of their Homestead Exemption applied to their tax bills.

The valuations were increased somewhere in the 30% range for all of us. The mill rate will be sufficiently reduced (not yet finalized at press time) in order to balance the town budget.

Jackson history nugget

A Clara Waldron, who came to Jackson from Frankfort and lived on the Morton Farm on the north end of Dixmont Road (now Route 7) in the mid-1800s, was remembered as follows: “She developed a habit of wearing several aprons on Sunday to prepare herself for a possible visit from the minister who might come to call. If he did, she could take off the dirty apron on top and be quickly prepared for his visit. She also kept red pepper in her pockets, prepared to throw it in the face of any man who might appear to give her trouble.”

Be happy, safe and healthy!