Northern New England Municipal Law Blog

Preti Flaherty's Municipal Law attorneys have extensive experience representing cities and towns across New England on general and complex matters. Northern New England Municipal Law Blog provides news, discusses relevant legal issues, and highlights emerging trends in New England municipal law.

Recent Blog Posts

  • Maine’s Superior Court recently affirmed a decision from the Maine Labor Relations Board (MLRB) finding that two municipal supervisory employees were “public employees” with the right to collectively bargain under Maine’s Municipal Public Employees Labor Relations law (MPELR). The decision is noteworthy because it sheds light on two exceptions to the definition of “public employee” under the... More
  • In the last installment of Let's Talk Municipal Finance, I discussed municipalities and governmental entities that issue bonds, a form of municipal debt. An alternative to incurring municipal debt and less onerous option for a municipality that is, for example, looking to purchase a new piece of equipment, is a municipal lease purchase agreement.  Like ordinary lease purchase agreements,... More
  • Earlier this year, Maine’s Superior Court issued a decision in Blasco v. Town of Southport that provides a useful reminder for municipalities about appeals of code enforcement actions. The case involved an 80B appeal of a notice of violation that had been issued by the Town of Southport’s code enforcement officer. The plaintiff filed the appeal pursuant to a provision in Southport’s land use... More
  • As of early June 2017, Maine’s implementation of the legalization of marijuana for adult use continues to chug along. The Maine Legislature’s Joint-Select Marijuana Legalization Implementation Committee has been meeting several times per week now for months, poring over the initiated Marijuana Legalization Act and each potential facet of the forthcoming structure it has called for.After the MLA’s... More
  • Municipalities put a lot of thought into comprehensive plans and zoning ordinances to make sure that no uses are allowed which will cause negative impacts on a given neighborhood. However, we often see ordinances that inexplicably allow any type of use in a district as long as it is an accessory use. “Accessory uses” are usually defined as being incidental and subordinate to the principal use of... More
  • Cady v. Town of Deerfield In Cady v. Town of Deerfield, decided January 18, 2017, the New Hampshire Supreme Court dealt with the question of the extent to which the deliberative session of the Town Meeting in a Senate Bill 2 municipality may amend a warrant article.  A Senate Bill 2 town is one which has adopted the provisions of RSA 40:13 and which accordingly conducts its town meetings in... More
  • Over the last several years, the National Labor Relations Act has driven much of the discussion around the legalities of social networking policies. Since 2011, for example, the NLRB’s Office of General Counsel has issued three reports concerning employer social media policies, all of which emphasize the importance of drafting social media policies narrowly so as not to infringe on activities... More
  • Maine's Biennial Budget Legislative work continues to steadily flow in Augusta, Maine as more bills are taken up by policy committees and many of them are meeting passage or being killed. In addition, the state’s biennial budget is slowly inching forward as the Appropriations & Financial Committee has accepted non-controversial initiatives, and will soon tackle the more contentious ones.... More
  • In the pending case of Brunswick Citizens for Collaborative Government, et al. v. Town of Brunswick, (Cumberland County Superior Court) the Petitioners claim that the Town of Brunswick failed to follow its Charter procedure to hold a public hearing and potential referendum election after receiving signed petitions.   The case involves a piece of property that the Town Council had voted to... More
  • In my previous installment, I discussed several financing alternatives available to municipalities and certain other governmental entities to supplement revenues from their tax base or user fees. One common option is the issuance of bonds, either independently, or through a pooled issuance.  The Issuance of Bonds The first step to issuing a bond is the approval process at the local level.... More
  • Whether required by state law or by local ordinance or practice, municipalities often use the competitive bidding process to purchase property, equipment and most types of services.  In the recent case of Design Dwellings, Inc., d/b/a DDI Construction v. Town of Windham, (Sup. Ct. Cumberland County, March 13, 2017) the plaintiff challenged an award of a road construction contract by the Town... More
  • I remember the days (and I don’t mean they were necessarily the good old days) when Animal Control Officers were called “dog catchers”.  They had a truck, picked up stray dogs, and did not try to help the dogs or reunite them with their families.  They instead took the animals to the “pound”, the owners may or may not have been informed, and if the dog was not timely picked up by the family, the... More
  • Experienced tax collectors and treasurers know that mortgage holders and unassessed owners of record have the right to receive copies of certain notices during the tax lien foreclosure process. But what are these entities’ precise rights, and how can towns and cities address the statutory requirements without spending tons of time doing title searches? A tax collector is not required to send... More
  • Social media is ubiquitous these days. Facebook alone, for example, has nearly 1.5 billion monthly active users. Given social media’s widespread use, it is not surprising that some municipalities have sought to harness its power as an effective tool for communicating with the public. Municipalities that use social media, however, should keep in mind that communications on such sites are not... More
  • Possession of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana for recreational purposes has now been legal in the State of Maine for three weeks. The world as we know it seems unchanged. This, of course, follows the passage of last year’s Question #1 ballot initiative that sought to legalize the use of marijuana and was ultimately successful at the ballot box. Differences of opinion between various legislative... More