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Monday, June 11, 2018

RESIDENT IGNORED BY LISBON TOWN COUNCIL

 
After reviewing the Town Council meeting of June 5, 2018, I remembered why I no longer attend the Town Council meetings.  For years, I was very faithful about attending the Town Council meetings, I tried to offer suggestions to the Town Council on improving our community.  No matter what I suggested, the Town Council ignored everything.  My suggestions went in one ear and out the other.  It was a total waste of my time.
 
Nothing has changed since I stopped going to these meetings.  If you go to the town website and click on Live Video Streaming and then click on June and Town Council meeting for June 5th.  Go into the video to approximately 1 hour and 23 minutes, you will see the Town Council ignoring Dorothy Fitzgerald.  Mrs. Fitzgerald tried to show the Town Council how they could save the taxpayers over a quarter of a million dollars (250,000.00) and the council was not interested.  They asked no questions and totally ignored Mrs. Fitzgerald.
 
I cannot explain why the Town Council is not interested in saving tax dollars.  It appears they are more interested in spending our money than saving it.  This year’s municipal budget is going to increase roughly $660,806.00 which is a 8% increase according to the Town Manager, Diane Barnes.  Amazing as it may sound, Mrs. Barnes in proud of the increase.  The fact, that Mrs. Barnes and the Town Council are not looking for ways to either cut spending or lower our taxes in disgusting and not why the people elected them.  
 
Mrs. Barnes does not realize that the people pay her salary.  She works for the Town Council and not the people.  Mrs. Barnes, our Town Manager, includes a COLA increase every year in her budget which amounts to a salary increase of over $1,800.00 every year.  The town has substituted COLA for wage increase in order to fool the people.  Mrs. Barnes does not mind a $200.00 increase in her taxes when she has a $1,800.00 increase in her salary but those who are on a fixed income are left to suffer.  The residents of Lisbon cannot stand a tax increase every year especially when the town could be saving over a quarter of a million dollars (250,000.00) by eliminating COLA and transferring dispatch to Androscoggin County Dispatch. 
 
There is no recession so there is no need for a COLA.  The Lisbon Communication Center is a duplication of services and could be eliminated with no loss of service.  In fact, it would improve the response time of First Responder by eliminating the middle man in the process.  Four of our Councilors voted to keep the Lisbon Communication Center open for political reasons (Councilors Ward, Crafts, Brunelle and Albert).  This was a political decision interest of what was best for the community.
 
According to Mr. Fern LaRochelle, the town does not need to give up control of the communication center.  What he failed to tell everyone is that he a sub-contractor for the town and works directly with the communication center for vehicle recovery.  Mr. LaRochelle will be voting on the budget for the communication center because there is no such thing as “conflict of interest” in Lisbon.  He already has voted on Chief Hagan’s recommendation to promote a communication specialist to supervisor and to approve an Information Technology (IT) person for the Police Department.
 
The people need to vote in November, councilors who are going to stop spending; look for ways to save tax dollars and listen to residents.
 
Larry Fillmore

 
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