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Monday, August 6, 2018

HOW TO LEGALLY SCREW REIDENTS OF LISBON

 
Today, I had the privilege of paying $75.00 to the town of Lisbon for information I never asked for.  When you ask for information under the Freedom of Access Act (FOAA), you are at the mercy of the town.  The town determines what information they want to provide to you and how long it will take them to gather the information.  The cost is determined by state law.  The first hour is free but all hours after the first; you have to pay $15.00 per hour.
 
My original FOAA request is below:
Mrs. Colston
This is a FOAA request.
I am looking for the money taken out of the Undesignated Fund the last four years.  Can you provide this information by years?
Thank you
 
I did not ask for any detail of what the money was used for; I ONLY asked for the amount taken out of the Undesignated Fund for the last four years.  What I received was:
 
 In response to Larry Filmore’s FOAA request:
2016:     $10,293.47 was taken from unassigned fund balance to cover charter requirements for maintaining a reserve funded by animal control fees
2017: N/A nothing was designated or spent from fund balance.
2018:  The following amounts were designated and spent from fund balance:
                $50,000 for computer server upgrade.  $30,663 has been spent to date.
                $20,000 has been designated for Generator pad and infrastructure
                $30,000 was designated for Town clerk storage.  $26,547 was spent an
                                the remainder put back into fund balance
                $40,000 was designated and spent for Police radio upgrades
                $35,000 was designated and spent for a Police cruiser
                $75,000 was designated for the Fire Department Capital Improvements
                $300,000 was designated for public works trucks.  $275,445 was spent
                                  and the remainder put back into fund balance
                $20,000 was designated and spent for Recreation Department
                                playground
                $25,000 was designated for new flooring in various town buildings.  The
                                money was not required and was put back into fund balance.
2019:  The following amounts have been designated for use during the upcoming year:
                $26,125 for an error in 2018 Technology budget
                $50,000 to establish an accrued leave payout reserve
                $10,000 for Book restorations in the clerks office
                $7,800 for Police Department firearms upgrades
                $50,000 for the Fire Department various equipment upgrades
                $8,000 for carpeting in the Library          
                $323,274 to pay off outstanding debt service.
 
According to the town, I was billed for 5 hours to put this information together.  I cannot understand why it took so long to gather this information.   The Finance Director has, not one but two, computer system in which to extract this information which should have taken 15 minutes per year at the most. By the way, we taxpayers are paying for both systems to be operating at the same time.
 
Also, if you look the town did not provide what I ask for and that was the total amount per year.  Instead they provided some detail but I challenge this information because the town claims that NO funds were taken from the Undesignated Fund in 2017.  This has to be a mistake because the Town Council spends money like drunken sailors without accountability.
 
I personally believe that this is an attempt to discourage citizens from challenging the Town Manager, Diane Barnes’ budgeting actions and to punish those that do.  The Finance Director did not comply with the original request but provided information that was not requested; which is a violation of state law.
 
Residents beware when dealing with the town and especially the Town Manager.
 
Larry Fillmore

 
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