ORONO, Maine — The Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions at the University of Maine will host a talk about some of the challenges faced by municipal governments and how municipalities can help implement state policy priorities from 3–4 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 29.

Maine has historically relied on municipal governments to provide a variety of services, including police, fire, road maintenance and recreation. Over time, state mandates have expanded the list of municipal responsibilities to include the maintenance of state-aid roads, enforcement of shoreland zoning regulations, code enforcement and the management of solid waste programs, just to name a few.

While the case can be made that municipal governments are more effective at providing services because they are closest to the people, municipalities are often required to provide more services without additional state aid. The end result is greater reliance on property taxes to fund state priorities.

In this talk, Cathy Conlow and Kate Dufour of the Maine Municipal Association will discuss how, with the right partnerships and funding mechanisms in place, municipalities can assist the state in meeting its goals, whether they are focused on climate change, economic development, or addressing the state’s housing needs. 

Conlow has been the executive director of MMA since August 2021. She has served as city manager of Bangor and town manager of Orono, as well as in municipal leadership roles in Minnesota and Oregon. Dufour has represented the interests of municipal government before the Maine State Legislature for MMA since 1995, including as director of the State and Federal Relations Department since 2017. She also is a member of the Hallowell City Council.

All talks in the Mitchell Center’s Sustainability Talks series are free and will be offered both remotely via Zoom and in-person at 107 Norman Smith Hall on the UMaine campus in Orono. Registration is required to attend remotely via Zoom; to register and receive connection information, see the event webpage at https://umaine.edu/mitchellcenter/event/talk-the-role-of-municipal-government-in-implementing-state-policy-priorities/.

Please note that face coverings are required for all persons — students, staff, faculty, visitors and others — when indoors at a University of Maine System facility. For the latest health and safety guidance, please see umaine.edu/return.


Updates for this event will be posted to the event webpage. To request a reasonable accommodation, contact Ruth Hallsworth at 207-581-3196 or hallsworth@maine.edu.