From an article in Maine Insights
A town hall to consider raising Bangor’s minimum wage will take place tomorrow, Wednesday, April 9th, to discuss a minimum wage increase for Mainers.
A municipal ordinance has been proposed by City Councilor Joseph M. Baldacci to set the city’s minimum wage next year to $8.25 an hour.
“We need to focus on the issue and raise public awareness that the state minimum wage hasn’t been increased in the past six years. This is a way to get started and jump-start the conversation,” said Baldacci.
The forum will feature guest speakers, and will allow local residents and business people to share their viewpoints about the issue.
“Having a real and substantial conversation about raising the minimum wage is a part of a necessary discussion we need to have about raising people’s incomes in general,” said Baldacci.
Special guests will include Donato Tramuto of Ogunquit, Maine businessman and global healthcare activist; former Maine Gov. John Baldacci; Jim Wellehan, Auburn, owner of Lamey Wellehan Shoes, a statewide business; and Todd Gabe, Orono, University of Maine professor of economics. Also attending will other state and local legislators. The forum is free and open to the public.
• Maine’s Minimum Wage Town Hall, 5:30-7 p.m.
• Thursday, April 9, Abraham Lincoln School, 45 Forest Ave. Bangor, Maine
• Guest speakers with question-and-answer period following
• Refreshments will be served
• Free and open to the public
Earlier this year, Councilor Baldacci proposed a draft ordinance to raise the Bangor minimum wage to $8.25 an hour, effective Jan. 1, 2016, with additional increases to $9 an hour by 2017 and $9.75 an hour by 2018. Under his proposal, the citywide minimum wage thereafter would increase each year in conjunction with the previous year’s consumer price index.
Baldacci acknowledged that other city councilors and some Bangor businesspeople have raised concerns about the draft ordinance. He said he organized the public forum “so we can have a discussion that is more fact-based than emotion-based.”
The city councilor pointed out that the guest speakers will provide informative perspectives on the issue.
• Tramuto is CEO and chairman of Physicians Interactive, a Boston-based interactive healthcare company, and a 2015 Robert F. Kennedy Ripple of Hope laureate, He is expected to discuss how health care and low wages form basic middle-class economic issues that need to be addressed.
• Former Governor John Baldacci will speak about the importance of raising the minimum wage for economic growth. He was the last Governor to raise Maine’s minimum wage in 2009.
• Wellehan, who owns and operates the highly successful shoe store business in six Maine locations, will speak as a business owner on the advantages of increasing the minimum wage. Founded in 1914, Lamey Wellehan was named Retailer of the Year in 2011 by B.S.T.A., the New England trade group of footwear suppliers.
• Garrett Martin, the executive director of the Maine Center for Economic Policy, will speak first to give everyone an over view of the minimum wage’s history and why increasing it should spur an increase in all wages.
• Gabe, professor at the UM School of Economics, will speak about his research concerning the minimum wage and its impact. His academic research areas are regional and community economic development and public finance.
• Jane Searles, from Women Work and Community, will speak about how critically important raising the minimum wage is for women, particularly single working mothers.
The event will be recorded by Don Cookson, WZON radio host, and be available after the event. Refreshments are being provided by Frank’s Bakery and Gosselin’s Bakery, both of Bangor.
Baldacci’s proposal comes as city councils in Portland, South Portland and Augusta also are discussing raising the local minimum wage. As of 2015, workers in 20 states and the District of Columbia saw increases in local minimum wage requirements. At least 10 city and county governments across the U.S. have raised their minimum-wage requirements during the past two years including Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont in the New England region.
Maine Gov. Paul LePage vetoed a bill in 2013 that would have increased the state’s minimum wage this year to $9 an hour. The current state minimum wage is $7.50 an hour.
“This issue needs to be taken seriously,” said Baldacci. “It needs to happen at the local and state level. We need to hear from the people in our community about this.”
From the BDN article: Bangor panel to hear pitch for citywide fiber-optic Intenet
By Evan Belanger
Increased access to high-speed, fiber-optic Internet could be in Bangor’s future, helping to bolster municipal revenue and make local businesses more competitive, according to city councilor Joe Baldacci.
Baldacci said the city council’s Business and Economic Development Committee will hear a presentation from Jeff Letourneau, executive director of Networkmaine, during Tuesday’s 5:15 p.m. meeting at City Hall. Networkmaine is a unit of the University of Maine System that provides high-speed Internet to the state’s research and education community.
The idea behind the presentation, Baldacci said, is to convince the committee to form an e-commerce task force that will develop a master plan for bringing fiber to the entire city.
“It’s really become an economic competitiveness issue, because other towns are doing it and other places are doing it,” he said. Continue reading →
“We have already lost 8 million over the last three years. We will have to be prepared to deal with losing a minimum of 3 million a year from here on out. These cuts don’t hurt wealthy people these cuts hit middle class homeowners, middle class parents, and all citizens who would like to see adequate police, fire and public works in their town or city,” said Bangor City Councilor Joe Baldacci. “We should be focusing on long-term investments that will grow our economy with bonds. We must invest in our workforce and families with an increase the minimum wage, job training, early childhood education, affordable higher education and property tax relief.”
Article By Ramona du Houx. Click here or read below for full story.
Bangor, Maine might be forced to raise property taxes next year because of LePage’s budget proposal. If passed all Maine towns and cities will carry the burden of no more state revenue sharing- meaning they will have to pay for certain needed services without state funds. Photo by Ramona du Houx
People across the state, across the political spectrum, have noticed that while Gov. Paul LePage has been in office their property taxes have risen. But how many know the culprit has been the governor’s budgets that have made drastic cuts to municipalities by slashing state revenue sharing funds? Without this needed source of money cities have had few options to pay for the services they provide. Many towns have laid-off first responders, cut services to people, and increased property taxes.
And the cycle could get worse if LePage is able to steamroll this $6.3 billion, two-year state spending package through the legislature. The governor is doing his best to sell his budget as a plan that brings tax relief to Maine families and small businesses. But the opposite is the reality. Continue reading →
As a city councilor my priorities will remain the same: to protect basic services-police, fire, schools, public health and public works. At the same time we need to cut costs that have the least impact on vital services. We have no illusions that either Augusta or Washington, D.C. will be of help, and the solutions and sacrifices needed will all have to be made here. If that turns out to be true we will meet these challenges with strength, intelligence and optimism.
I want to put on the table:
1. Review leases involving city departments to cut costs
2. Having a youth internship program for Bangor-Orono area college students to work in different city departments during the summer or for college credit
3. A community amphitheater
4. A city grant writer to aggressively pursue public and private grant opportunities
5. Supporting a state bond issue that includes capital projects in Maine’s service center communities.
In addition, I intend to work with groups to have a regional food distribution center in Bangor area that will purchase Maine grown food and refrigerate, store, distribute food statewide and with people who want to explore bringing a performing arts high-school program to Bangor that could attract and educate students from all parts of Maine. That may be an ambitious agenda but its only a partial list of the projects we need to work on over the next few years.
I look forward to the opportunity to continue to grow our creative economy and move Bangor forward – Joe
This Wednesday meeting for the business and economic development is open to the public, please come: Continue reading →
By Ramona du Houx,
Posted Oct. 29, 2014, at 4:06 p.m. at the Bangor Daily News
Joe Baldacci of Bangor a local lawyer and City Councilor received the Katahdin Counsel Recognition Award on October 24th at the Penobscot Judicial Center, in Bangor.
“Your pro bono services are vital to Mainers accessing our justice system, and your dedication is truly appreciated,” wrote Cindy Brochu, Judicial Administration, the Assistant to Hon. Andrew M. Mead, in a letter notifying Bangor City Councilor Joe Baldacci that he would receive the award.
The Hon. Warren M. Silver of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court hosted the recognition ceremony. Attorney Joseph Baldacci was one of 18 layers from Penobscot, Hancock and washington Counties that were honored on Friday.
“I am honored by this recognition and I believe it is every lawyer’s civic duty to give back to others in our community,” said Joe. Continue reading →
We couldn’t allow neglected properties to continue to devalue our communities. Our actions will allow responsible landowners to act accordingly. The buildings, once refurbished will enhance our neighborhoods. I’m fortunate to have been able to work with my fellow councilors to make these needed changes,” said Bangor City Councilor Joe Baldacci.
Part of the article By Nick McCrea, of the BDN:
Bangor City Councilors adopted a policy during Monday night’s meeting that streamlines the process of taking control of properties with lengthy, repetitive histories of neglected tax payments.
For decades, Bangor has been hesitant to go after property owners with back taxes, but the council’s approach has changed in recent years. Continue reading →
By Julie Harris of the Bangor Daily News. This is from the article:
Bangor Humane Society and St. John’s Catholic Church each received checks for $395,000 Friday, presented by Gillespie’s longtime friend and personal representative Ruth Spellman and attorney Joseph Baldacci of Bangor, during individual press conferences at the respective facilities.
“Shann lived a spare life, but gave to [St. Joseph] hospital, church, Humane Society and students. She didn’t ask for recognition. She lived a selfless and caring life. She earned her money in Bangor, lived here, and then invested her money here,” Baldacci said. Continue reading →
“I think it is important for us to add our voice to this issue because Searsport is not just a Searsport issue,” said Councilor Joe Baldacci. “This is a regional economic issue. It’s going to affect the economies of cities and towns throughout Maine in terms of the movement of goods and services.
The article appeared in the BDN by Dawn Gagnon. Click here for the entire article. This is a section of it:
BANGOR, Maine — City councilors have formally pledged Bangor’s support for a plan to conduct a dredging project in Searsport harbor that aims to improve access for today’s bigger ships.
A resolve to that end was adopted in an 8-1 vote during Monday night’s council meeting, with Chairman Ben Sprague and councilors Joe Baldacci, Pauline Civiello, Nelson Durgin, James Gallant, Gibran Graham, David Nealley and Josh Plourde in favor and Councilor Patricia Blanchette opposed.
Gallant said he had expressed his concern about the resolve during previous meetings but decided to support it after receiving information about the level of bulk and liquid tonnage handled in Penobscot Bay from Bob Ziegelaar, president of MainXPO Inc., a company that helps its clients develop business opportunities outside their traditional markets.
“And I wanted to know because these numbers are pretty staggering, actually, and with the [dredging], I’m sure the numbers would go even higher,” he said. Continue reading →
Last year the state cut funds to cities across Maine. Bangor was hit hard receiving only $2 million, when the city used to get $5 million. Slashing this revenue sharing program has resulted in hardship.
“Revenue sharing was based on the now non-existent concept that there should be state-local partnership to fund basic local services without over burdening the property tax,” said City Councilor Joe Baldacci.
Before Joe Baldacci became a Bangor City Councilor he fought to keep Dorothea Dix open and is currently working to restore services and help repurpose the facility.
“State legislators need to work with the city council to protect the mission of this hospital. We are very fortunate in Maine to have someone of the caliber of Dr Michelle Gardiner who is now serving as the medical Director of the Dorothea DIx hospital,” said City Councilor Joe Baldacci.