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Showing posts with label Citizen Letters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Citizen Letters. Show all posts

Thursday, June 14, 2018

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY DISCUSSION

During the June 5, 2018 Town Council meeting, there was a discussion on MUNIS.  MUNIS is the computer software used by the town to control the majority of its business.  This software package cost the taxpayers $680,000.00 for a period of 7 years.
 
Apparently, the town was sold a bill of goods because it is not working out the way it was advertised.  This is not surprising to me, because I remember the initial discussion about getting rid of TRIO.  The Town Manager made two mistakes with this purchase:
 
            The first mistake was taking advise from someone who had absolutely no credentials or certifications in the Information Technology field.  She never thought to professional advice first.
 
            The second mistake is pushing the Town Council into entering into a 7 year contract without first having the software installed and seeing how it would work for the town.
 
This is yet another example of the Town Manager duping the Town Council into getting her way.  On June 5th at the meeting, she did it again and no one realized it.  Instead of providing all the options and information, she left off a very important fact, “What is the cost of termination this contract?”  To me and the Council because they asked, this information would be critical to making a sound decision but neither the Finance Director nor the Town Manager had that information.  This is how she has always manipulated the Town Council. 
 
The Town Council voted to spend $5,000.00 tax dollars on an assessment verses terminating this contract and going with another software package.  Having the information on the penalty to terminate the contract early may have had an impact on the decision by the Town Council. 
 
Chairman Ward should have tabled any further discussion until the Town Manager was able to provide ALL information needed for the Council to make a sound and logical decision.  It should be a rule that if all the information is not available at the time of the discussion, the item will be tabled until all information is available to the Council.  Information needed to make decisions by the Town Council is conveniently not available.  This is how our Town Council is being forced to make decisions that the Town Manager wants.
 
The Town Manager is being paid over $90,000.00 yearly and should be providing better recommendations to our Town Council.
 
Larry Fillmore

 

 

GENERAL ASSISTANCE IN LISBON

At the Lisbon Town Office there is a door with the wording "General Assistance".
This morning, needing to contact someone at General Assistance, I went on the town's
website, clicked on "Departments", looking for the phone number so I could leave a
message.
 
I clicked on "Departments". No General Assistance listed under Departments.
I went to :Boards and Committees", no General Assistance listed there either. 
I than called the Town Clerk's office, asked how to find General Assistance.
 
No one there knew that General Assistance was not listed under Departments.
 
I was told that General Assistance could be found under the Department of Community Development.
 
I tried that, and guess what? General Assistance is not listed there either!!!!!. 
 
My question is; how does anyone in town, needing General Assistance, contact General Assistance?
 
General Assistance in Lisbon is a part-time position.

I asked Town Manager, Diane Barnes, why we do not have at least a part-time person in General Assistance?  She said that the only time anyone is in need of general assistance is in the winter.  This from a person making $95,000+ per year plus benefits. 
 
Judy Goddard, the Town of Lisbon's General Assistance director also works for the town of Brunswick.  She also works for the City of Bath. Is it any wonder she is not available for the citizens of the Town of Lisbon?
 
Our Town Council and Town Manager recently hired 2 addtional police officers.  They also approved a full time position, part-time for the front counter, part time for the Finance Department.  But they do not see any need to help those in town most in need of assistance.

Perhaps it is time to stop wasting money on someone not available to render assistance, when it is needed.

Dorothy Fitzgerald
Concerned Citizen 

EDITOR'S NOTE:  According to the latest proposed budget, under General Assistance 05-500 there is a line item 5211 Cell Phone which has a proposed budget of $363.00.  If this is the case, why is the cell phone NOT listed on the town web site.  When is the Town Council going to force the Town Manager to do her job? 



 

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

 

LISBON TOWN COUNCIL PUSHED THE CAN DOWN THE ROAD!

 
During recent budget meeting, our Town Council was presented with a unique problem with the Police Department.  Chief Hagan described the major reasons towns are getting sued and that was lack of training and lack of direct supervisor.  These two items create a liability for Lisbon.  In order to help eliminate this liability, Chief Hagan offered the following:
 
1.                           Add a part-time Information Technology position in the Lisbon
Communication Center; so that the Patrol Sergeant currently performing these duties can return to Patrol.  Cost is approximately $1,600.00 to $4,000.00.

2.                   Promote a Communication specialist to a Communication Supervisory. 
 Costing between $1,040.00 to $4,800.00

3.                   Hired two additional Patrol Officers.  Costing between $69,000.00-
                   $81,000.00 each
 
Four members of our Town Council support this plan to throw more money at the problem instead of trying to eliminate the liability.  These members are Allen Ward, Chris Brunelle, Norman Albert and Fern LaRochelle.  I believe that three of these individuals are supporting this plan by throwing more of our tax dollars at it because of misguided loyalty and the four is for personal agenda. 
 
When you are trying to solve a problem, it is crucial that you look at eliminating the liability.  Trying to eliminate the core liability; will always be the best solution.  This will reduces the risk management to the town and, will to a great deal, to reducing the chances of being sued.  These four individuals have overlooked the obvious answer to the problem.  Instead of throwing our tax dollars at the problem; just eliminate the problem all together.  So how do we eliminate this liability?
 
The basic solution is to transfer dispatching to Androscoggin County Dispatch.  With this transfer goes all the liability for this operation.  It will eliminate the need for an additional Information Technology position saving approximately $1,600.00 to $4,000.00 tax dollars.   There will no longer be a need to promote anyone because Androscoggin Country Dispatch will have this responsibility.  This will save the town between $1,040.00 and $4,800.00 tax dollars.  SGT Moore will be returned full-time to directly supervisor Patrol which is really his assigned duty.
 
It has been verified by two former Councilors that transferring the Lisbon Communication Center duties to Androscoggin County Dispatch would save the town approximately $200,000.00 per year.  This cost saving would be more than enough to pay for the two additional officers needed to meet the 2015 manpower survey of fourteen officers.  The town currently has twelve officers.  Utilizing the cost savings will eliminate a need to raise our taxes to cover this expense.
 
The bottom line is that these four individuals need to step up and do what is right for the community instead of wasting more tax dollars.  Throwing money at any problem is never the answer when you can eliminate the problem.
 
Problem solved at no additional cost to the taxpayers.  Try using common sense!
 
Call these four individuals and tell them to put what is best for the community first and help our people out.

 
Larry Fillmore

NEEDY OR GREEDY – YOU BE THE JUDGE


Back in early 2015, our Town Council terminated the contract on the previous Town Manager and rightfully so.  However, that left a critical vacancy and needed to be filled quickly.  In the Town Council’s hurry to fill this critical position; the Town Council allowed Diane Barnes to include paragraph 5F under Section 5 Salary and Fringe Benefits which states and I quote “The Manager shall also receive any benefits as the Town provides to its other employees.”

 
This minor item has raised Mrs. Barnes’s starting salary of $87,000.00 per year to last year’s salary of $95,047.00 in just 3 years.  So how is this possible?  It is possible because Mrs. Barnes is misusing the Federal government Cost-of-Living Allowance (COLA) program to fill her pockets.  Below is the purpose, the program was intended to be utilized for:  

PURPOSE AS DEFINED BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT:

A cost-of-living adjustment is made to social security and supplemental security income to counteract the effects of inflation. Cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) are typically equal to the percentage increase in the consumer price index for urban wage earners and clerical workers (CPI-W) for a specific period.
 
However, in Lisbon it has taken on an entirely new meaning.  There is no inflation in the current economy and the town is not using the consumer index to determine any COLA adjustments needed.  The Town Manager, Diane Barnes includes a 2% COLA allowance every year in her proposed budget and our Town Council approves it every year.  This means that every year, Mrs. Barnes receives a $1,900 PLUS salary increase every year.  Have any of you every received such a salary increase?
 
Lisbon is a small community with a tax base made up of mostly residents.  This means that our taxes are always going to go up every year to offset this COLA give away.  I always believed this allowance with to be given to the “Blue Collar” workers instead of those in management positions.  So let’s look to the impact of a Blue Collar employee making $40,000.00 per year.  2% increase is $800.00 which is still a good pay increase every year but not as substantial as $1,900.00 received by the Town Manager.   I believe,Mrs. Barnes is trying to make people believe that she is looking out for the rank-in-file when she is actually lining her pockets with our tax dollars.  It takes a very special type of person, in my opinion, to make money off the backs of her employees.
 
So how do we correct this injustice to the people?  It comes in two parts”

 
A.     The Town Council must immediately re-negotiate the Town Managers’ contract and eliminate paragraph 5F of Section 5 Salaries and Fringe Benefits.  This will eliminate these massive salary increases to the Town Manager.  Mrs. Barnes should be able to live comfortable on $95,000.00 yearly in Lisbon.

B.     The Town Council must restrict any salary increase to ONLY those in Blue Collar positions.  Those individuals in management positions make enough money off the taxpayers.  Let’s look at the three recent hires”
 
1.      Sewer Director was hired for approximately $80,000.00 per year.  If you filter in the COLA this salary increases roughly $1,600.00 per year.

2.     This is the same with the new Public Works Director hired for $80,000.00 per year.  The COLA is the same.

3.     Now, let’s look at the new Fire Chief who was hired for $70,000 per year.  The COLA on this is roughly $1,400.00 per year.  Also, the previous Fire Chief received $69,284.80, according to the 2016-2017 Annual Report.  This was after several years on the job, so what was his starting salary?
 
The people in this town need to get a handle on the mismanagement of our tax dollars before it is too later.  Start calling the Town Council, and tell them to stop spending and start looking for ways to save residents tax dollars.
 
Larry Fillmore
 
NOTE:  I believe that every employee of the Town of Lisbon should continue to receive “longevity compensation”.  As of July 1 of each year and commencing with five years of continuous employment with the town, all permanent employees shall be credited with longevity compensation at the rate of $5.00 per month up to and including a maximum of 180 months.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

LISBON TOWN COUNCIL TURNS BACK ON RESIDENTS

 
I just reviewed the Police Department’s 2018-2019 proposed budget during the May 8th Town Council Workshop and Special meeting.  Every citizen of Lisbon should review this portion of the meeting starting a 1:42 of the Live Stream Video.
 
Chief Hagan outlined his department’s need for the upcoming year.  Chief Hagan made a very important statement and that was the majority of towns are being sued because the lack of training and direct supervision.  I agree totally with Chief Hagan, it is critical that the Town of Lisbon reduce its liability.
 
Police Department needs:

 
1.      Add a part-time Information Technology position in the Lisbon Communication Center; so that the Patrol Sergeant currently performing these duties can return to Patrol.  Cost is approximately $1,600.00 to $4,000.00.

2.     Promote a Communication specialist to a Communication Supervisory.  Cost is $1,040.00 to $4,800.00.

3.     Hired two additional Patrol Officers.  Cost $69,000.00 each.
 
These current requirements a and b can be eliminated; had the Town Council voted two years ago to close the Lisbon Communication Center by utilizing the Androscoggin County Dispatch.  According to two former Councilors; the cost savings to the taxpayers would be roughly $200,000.00 per year.  However, this did not happen. 
 
Last year, this same subject came up and was again voted done by Councilors Ward, Brunnelle, Crafts and Albert.  The major reason was the town did not want to lose control of dispatching.  Mr. Fern LaRochelle fought extremely hard to keep the Lisbon Communication Center open.  What Mr. LaRochelle failed to tell everyone is that he is and was an Independent Contractor working directly with the Lisbon Communication Center.  I guarantee you that id this issue comes before Council, Mr. LaRochelle (now a councilor) will vote on this issue because there is absolutely no “Conflict of Interest” on anything in Lisbon.
 
The option to save taxpayer dollars is still available but our Town Council has no interest in saving the residents money instead they had rather raise taxes.  This Council is not looking to cut taxes but to increase our taxes.  This, to me, is the wrong approach.  Is it NOT a wise decision to put an additional burden on taxpayers when there is an opportunity to save taxpayers money?
 
This year, the Town Council voted to bail-out Lisbon Emergency Inc. at a price to taxpayers of $127,885.00 for the budget 2018-2019.  I do not know where all this additional money is going to be coming from other than the taxpayers.  Add all the additional requirements to the Town Manager’s already increase of $1,900,000.00 this year so what’s going to happen to your taxes.  But do not worry, according to the Town Manager, Diane Barnes, the Council has reduced her budget proposal by roughly $75,000.00.  What impact do you think this is going to have on our tax bills this year?
 
The people of Lisbon elected our Town Councilors to look out for the best interest of the community.  I do not feel we are getting this from our Town Council when a “political” decision takes priority over a “sound financial” decision.  What is in the best interest of the community and its people should be the ONLY determining factor when making decisions.
 
Call your Councilor and tell them to stop wasting our tax dollars and start looking for ways to reduce our taxes. 
 
Larry Fillmore

 

 

Friday, April 27, 2018

WHOSE LOOKING OUT FOR THE LISBON TAXPAYERS?


I just finished watching the April 24, 2018, Town Council Budget Workshop and I first want to thank, Mr. Fern LaRochelle.  This budget meeting was almost two hours long and Mr. LaRochelle asked very important questions WITHOUT any dissertations.  It was very informative and refreshing.  Great job! Mr. LaRochelle.
 
I recommend that EVERY taxpayer in Lisbon review this budget meeting using the town web site.  The Town Council is review the 1.9 million dollar increase the Town Manager, Diane Barnes, is proposing for this year.   Keep in mind:
 
TOWN                                   .MIL RATE                            GROWTH SINCE 2010

Auburn                                      $21.23                                          8.21%

Lewiston                                   $23.42                                          16.06%

Lisbon                                        $20.35                                          18.11%
 
No matter what the Town Manager proposes, the Town Council is responsible for spending our tax dollars.  The residents of Lisbon ELECT these members to be financially responsible to ensure our tax dollars are spent efficiency.  I do not call having our taxes go up every year responsible when the Town Council is NOT looking for ways to reducing the operating cost of the town.  The Town Council could save over $200,000.00 a year by eliminating the Lisbon Communication Center and let the Androscoggin County Dispatch take over dispatching responsibilities.  Yet, instead of doing what is financially responsible for the community; they had rather raise our taxes without looking to save tax dollars.
 
I believe that the Town Council should direct the Town Manager, Diane Barnes, to reduce the operating cost by at least 10% yearly.  Doing this will reduce or even eliminate the yearly tax increases.  Look at how many foreclosures have been processed since Diane Barnes has been here.  Disgraceful!  This is a community with little to no large businesses like L.L. Beans to help our tax base instead the majority is based on residences.
 
At our current rate of 18.11% increase in our mil rate, Lisbon should over take Lewiston in the next year or two.  While other towns are looking to reduce their operating cost, Lisbon is looking for ways to spend more tax dollars.  These tax dollars that come from taxpayers. 
 
Another way to reduce the operating cost is by not allowing Department Heads a Cost-of-Living-Allowance (COLA).  The majority, like the Town Manager, make more than $80,000.00 annually.  A 2% COLA increase is a raise of over $1,600.00 per year.  A prime example is the Town Manager was hired at $87,000.00 back in June 2015 and today with her proposed COLA increase will receive a salary of $96,482.00.  This is because the Town Council approved her contract with a clause in it that states and I quote:  “The Manager shall also receive any other benefits as the Town provides to its other employees.”  This means that every time the WORKERS receive an increase the Town Manager must receive the same.  The Town Council should not allow individuals in management positions to receive benefits the workers need.  A cap should be established for all individuals in management positions and definitely those in Department Head positions.
 
Lisbon is a community that does not have a very large tax base such as Auburn or Lewiston and so these costs are passed on to the taxpayers. 
 
Shame on the Town Council for not being able to recognize this!
 
Call your Councilors today because once they approved the budget it will be too late.  Please do not let them snow you with the excuse this is only a proposal.
 
Larry Fillmore

 

 

     

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

WASTED TIME


I just review the Town Council Workshop conducted on April 10, 2018 and was very upset over the length of the workshop.  Councilor Fern LaRochelle, I believe, is incapable of asking a simple question.  Mr. LaRochelle has to go into a dissertation on EVERY question.  I do not know if Mr. LaRochelle is really that dumb or he just likes to hear himself talk.  I have known Mr. LaRochelle for several years and do not find him to be stupid so I guess he just likes to hear himself talk.  I believe he thinks the more he talks the more important he is.
 
The meeting lasted for one hour and thirty-three minutes and if you eliminated all the dissertations the meeting could have been reduced by approximately forty-five minutes, if not more.  Mr. LaRochelle has some great ideas but he need to eliminate all the dissertations on every comment. 
 
I do not know about your time but my time is precious to me and to listen to Mr. LaRochelle repeat everything or babble on and on, just waste my time.
 
Mr. LaRochelle, please continue to ask all the right questions but without the dissertation.
 
Larry Fillmore

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Time To Do The Right Thing by Dot Fitzgerald

As most of you know, I have been attending all town Council meetings and have missed only the first budget workshop.


Now that Ryan Leighton has moved on to bigger and better things, the Town is advertising for someone to manage the Transfer Station and PublicWorks Departments.


I was at the Budget Workshop when the Town Councilors, all but Mark Lunt, were criticizing workers at the Transfer Station for not checking vehicles for dump stickers. They said that people were dumping illegally, and we, (the town) was possibly losing money.

I spoke up at the next council meeting and asked how could they, Town Manager Diane Barnes and members of the Town Council, expect them to do that when they do not have enough help. They have 3 compactors to monitor, compact when full, monitor the whole, empty that when full, plus check when people are leaving off building material, etc, and writing receipts.

I suggested that they make Marcel Obie new head of the Transfer Station. That was met with stares by all.

The Transfer Station needs a full-time on-site manager to oversee day to day operations. Marcel Obie is perfect for the job as head of the Transfer Station.  He knows the job knows the people and the workers respect him.

Now on the Public Works Department:

Why advertise for someone to head that up when we already have someone there that knows the job, knows the town, and is respected by the workers and has been head of Public Works. and was doing the job when Ryan was head. He has a 6 year proven track record as Public Works director. 

Call your Town Councilors and ask them to make Elwood (Button) Beals head of the  Public Works Department again.

Leave personalities out of it, and do the right thing for the Community

Dot Fitzgerald
A Concerned Lisbon Citizen.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

TOWN COUNCIL MANIPULATED OVER AND OVER AGAIN!


For the past few years, our Town Council has been manipulated by the Town Manager, Diane Barnes, when it comes to the Municipal budget.  Every year Mrs. Barnes comes in with an outrageous Municipal budget like this year adding $1.9 million dollars to last year’s budget knowing fully well this will never get approval in its entirety.  This is the shell game our Town Manager has been playing for years.

 
This strategy, used by Mrs. Barnes is like a con artist.  The con is to make the mark (in this case the Town Council) believe has done something good by reducing the demand which in this case is the Municipal budget.   I remember this strategy from my school days; two steps forward and one step back.  In this case Mrs. Barnes has proposed an increase of $1.9 million dollars when she knows fully well she will never get the full amount.  But it is important for her to make the Town Council think they have been financially responsible by reducing this budget in the best interest of the community.  This is extremely important for the con to work.  The Councilors actually believe they have save the taxpayer a large amount of tax dollars when this is as far from the truth as you can get. 

Here is how it works!  To understand this you need to first understand the primarily principle of economics which is:
 
                        REVENUE   =   EXPENDITURES

 
Now in Diane Barnes case it is different:

                        REVENUE    +    TAX INCREASE   =   EXPENDITURES
 
This is the reason our taxes go up every year.  Mrs. Barnes is counting on our Town Council to be satisfied with their cuts to not recognize the fact that every years our taxes go up.  Mrs. Barnes does not offer ANY options to reduce the expenditures of the town.  As long as the people continue to pay their taxes the town will never go bankrupt but what about the people?  Do the people of the community, especially those on a fixed income, have the resources to continue paying the tax increases every year?  THE CON IS THAT BY REDUCING THE PROPOSED BUDGET DOES NOT STOP THE INCREASE IN EXPENDITURES OR TAXES GOING UP EVERY YEAR.
 
Our Town Manager, Diane Barnes, knows that the only way to stop the tax increases is to reduce spending which she is not willing to do.  Mrs. Barnes understands that the Town Council is the ONLY entity that has the power to put a stop to this shell game by holding the line on last year’s budget and not letting Mrs. Barnes get away with this shell game she plays every year.  Without the Town Council recognizing what is happening to the people of Lisbon, there is no hope to stop the steady annual increase in our taxes.
 
I guarantee that the people will go bankrupt before the town if this is allowed to continue. 
 
The people need to call their Councilors and demand that this strategy be terminated immediately and that the Town Manager look for ways to reducing the operating cost of the town before forcing the people to pay more taxes.
 
Larry Fillmore

  

Saturday, March 31, 2018

A REVIEW OF TOWN COUNCIL WORKSHOP – PART 2

 
The numbers at the end of the Departments is the time it started to be discussed.  This can be used for the people to review exactly what was said.
 
This is my take on the three and a half hour Town Council Workshop held on March 27, 2018 pertaining to the proposed 2018-2019 Municipal Budget.  It started off with:
 
ASSESSING DEPARTMENT (1:22):  There is only one employee in this department and her Medical Insurance increased from 2018 - $3,060.00 to 2019 - $16,644.00 which seems to be excessive but no one questioned it.  Also, they want to add an additional employee part-time for 20 hours at a rate of $14,560.00.
 
TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT (23:10):  This was most entertaining.  They had a discussion about whether or not the new software was working as well as advertised.  I find this odd because the time to have this discussion should have been before the town entered into any contract.  The question was which is better MUNIS or TRIO.  The town intents to maintain both software packages which make it very hard to learn two different systems let alone pay for two software packages.  This should have been ironed out before entering into a contract.  Also, there is no disaster recovery in place and why not?  The town wants to keep the Vehicle and Assessing modules of TRIO and convert everything else to MUNIS.  Also, there is no Life Cycle Management in place.
 
TOWN BUILDINGS DEPARTMENT (1:12:30):  The town will have to adjust Electricity and Heating line items at a later date.  R&M Building was reduced $35,000.00 because some items are being taken care of using the Undesignated Funding. 
 
PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT (1:45:46):  The major problem here is the salary for the Public Works Director is based on a comparison of other towns with a population close to Lisbon, however, it should be based on total Revenue.  It is impossible to determine the salary without having the Revenue coming in to pay this employee.  Think of it like this:  “Is Food City the same as Shaw’s or Hannaford?  Is Family Dollar the same as Walmart as far as the Revenue the towns receive?  It is not possible to determine the salary without first knowing the Revenue you have.  The Town Manager, Diane Barnes, is looking at the Department Head salaries of other towns with much more Revenue to work with.  A simple comparison is to check out the number of businesses of Lisbon and Skowhegan.  How can towns pay the outrageous salaries when they do not have the money to pay them?  This is directly responsible for the increase in taxes EVERY year.  You have to compare apple to apples and not apples to oranges.  This outrageous salary of $75,005.00 needs to be adjusted to reflect what the town can pay based on the Revenue received.
 
 I do not understand why the Town Manager is advertising for a Public Works Director when the town still employees Elwood “Button” Beal.  Button Beal was the Public Works Director for many many years and has a very satisfactory track record.  Button Beal was before the Town Manager’s time but Public Works functioned very professionally and provided a great service to the community.  Going outside to get a new Public Works Director is totally misuse of an excellent asset already employed and a total waste of time and money.  It is a disgrace by the Town Manager who apparently does not realize that promoting from within increases the moral of the staff.
 
The town needs another mechanic and could use the money they want to increase Department Heads salaries to pay for another mechanic.  The town should establish a cap on Department Head salaries that is based on the Revenue received to operate the town.  It is critical that the Town Council get their heads out of their fourth point of contact and start cutting spending instead of raising the taxes on the people.  The Town Manager and Town Council were hired or elected to be financially responsible to the people and they are failing miserably.  The people need to elect individuals who will not be “YES men” for the Town Manager and instead do what is best for the community; raising taxes is not the right answer.
 
The line item “Motor Vehicle” was raised $15,000.00.  This is more spending for toys for the boys.  Look at how much the Asphalt Reclaimer is being used to help out with the roads.  Are you happy with our roads/streets?
 
 
Larry Fillmore

 

 

Friday, March 30, 2018

A REVIEW OF TOWN COUNCIL WORKSHOP – PART 1

 
The numbers at the end of the Departments is the time it started to be discussed.  This can be used for the people to review exactly what was said.
 
SOLID WASTE DEPARTMENT (2:56:01):    I found this discussion the most laughable one of the entire evening.  Chairman Allen Ward went into a rant about the staff at the Transfer Station NOT doing enough to educate the people on recycling to offset the 2% yearly increase in Waste Disposal cost.   Having the staff at the Transfer Station lecture the people about recycling equates to the statement by Nancy Pelosi “We cannot arm teachers; it violates the rights of the shooter.”
 
Not so long ago the Town Council established a sub-committee to investigate alternative options like pay as you go; curbside pickup and pay per bag.  The end result was THE PEOPLE like the Transfer Station just the way it is. Bases on the findings of this sub-committee the Town Council decided to keep the operations the same.
 
I cannot see the staff at the Transfer Station holding recycle classes or making it mandatory to attend a recycle class at the town office prior to being issued a Transfer Station pass.  However, it was suggested that raising the cost of the Transfer Pass to cover the increase in Waste Disposal and I believe this is a much better solution to offset the cost; providing the town does not go too crazy on the increase.  I can see the town raising the cost Transfer Station passes to cover the ridiculous increased in Department Head salaries.
 
Councilor Lunt brought up the FACT that the Transfer Station is under staffed.  I believe that Councilor Lunt has a point.  I go to the Transfer Station roughly twice a week and there have been numerous days that there was only one individual there.   As far as I am concerned, and I believe that I speak for the majority of the town is that the Transfer Station staff does an excellent job and is a credit to the community.  According to Ryan Leighton, (a very unreliable source in my opinion) there are three individuals on a daily basis and four individuals on duty on Saturday.  I have been back in Lisbon for eleven years and NOT once have I see Ryan Leighton at the Transfer Station.  Mr. Marcel Obie should be the Department Head, in my opinion, and that the staff needs to be increased.
 
Another point of discussion was that there is no one monitoring who uses the Transfer Station.   This means posting a full-time individual at the entrance checking for Transfer Station passes to ensure that ONLY authorized personnel are using OUR facilities.  Also, Chairman Ward pointing out that the lower building is NOT supervised; again, this goes back to staffing.  If the Town Council redistributed the funds currently designated for Department Heads salary increases; there would be more than enough to hire two more individuals at the Transfer Station to cover all the demands of the Town Council.  
 
I cannot understand how the wages increased but FICA, retirement medical insurance and unemployment line items went down.  An increase in wages should normally generate an increase not a decrease in these line items. 
 
WASTE WATER TREATMENT PLANT (3:12:48):  I have a real concern over the salary of the Waste Water Treatment Plant Director.  Again this is based on a comparison with other towns with the same or close population and not the Revenue of the other towns.  This is like comparing Food City to Shaw’s or Hannaford’s or even better Family Dollar to Walmart or K-Marts.  Salaries should be based on the Revenue the town has and the people can afford to pay.  Check out the number of businesses in Lisbon verses Skowhegan.  This salary need to be adjusted to meet the Revenue of the town and not population.
 
I do not understand why Postage has increased $500.00 this year?  But what is more puzzling is why no one on the Town Council questioned the increase.

 
Larry Fillmore

 

Thursday, March 29, 2018

REVIEW OF BUDGET WORKSHOP

On Tuesday March 27 I attended the marathon town budget workshop.
I was the only member of the public that attended.
 
Prior to said meeting I printed the new budget so I could follow along.
 
I strongly suggest that each and every member of the community and taxpayer
obtain a copy of said budget and read it.
 
At the budget meeting I asked about the part time person in the Assessing
department, and the salary for the Waste Water Treatment Plant.
 
I was told that various towns in Maine, similar in population were called and that
some of those town had part time and some had full time assistants, and that was
the salary paid to heads of Waste Water Plants.
 
I always assumed that each and every town and city, not only in Maine but across
the country was different and unique.

It would seem that I am wrong.
 
It would seem, according to Town Manager Diane Barns, that that salaries of
department heads in the town of Lisbon need to compare to each and every
town of equal population in the Great State of Maine, no matter how many and
types of businesses or industry, income of residents and tax payers; if homes
and businesses compare in value.
 
As I said, each and every town and community is unique, we and not them.
 
                                "WE ARE LISBON" 
  
Note: read and pay attention to the articles Larry Fillmore has witten in the Lisbon Reporter
on the Town Budget. Be informed.
 
Note: We, the citizens of Lisbon, can vote on the school budget, but cannot vote on the town budget.
We have to rely on the common sense, or lack of, of members of our town Council.
 
SUBMITTED BY:  DOT FITZGERALD
                             CONCERNED CITIZEN
 
 

WHEN DOES COMMON SENSE COME IN???

 

I would like to know “When Common Sense is applied to the proposed budget?”  I am just am country boy from Freeport, Maine but I have handled many many budgets in my career.  The basic principle of budgeting is that you cannot spend more than you make.  You see this basic principle applied daily in every household budget in the world with the exception of Lisbon, Maine.
 
The Town Manager and the Town Council must believe that the citizens of Lisbon have very deep pockets and can come up with any amount of money.  This is the reason that our taxes go up every year.  Let’s take a look at the Department Heads salaries:
 
DEPT HEAD                          2018 Salary             2019 Proposed      Difference

Town Manager                   $95,047.00              $96,482.00              $1,435.00

Assessing Director                58,565.00                59,452.00                    887.00

Code Enforcement               73,090.00                77,777.00                 4,687.00

Finance Director                   75,394.00                77,228.00                 1,834.00

Town Clerk Director            54,217.00                56,560.00                 2,343.00

Chief of Police                       76,130.00                77,270.00                 1,140.00

Fire Chief                                69,797.00                75,005.00                 5,208.00

EMS Director                           1,523.00                   1,546.00                        23.00

Public Works Director        42,246.00                75,005.00              32,759.00

Solid Waste  Director          21,123.00                          0.00              -21,123.00

Recreation Director             61,014.00                61,922.00                     908.00

Library Director                    51,788.00                54,089.00                  2,301.00

General Assistance Dir        10,353.00                10,508.00                     155.00

Economic Director               53,878.00                57,276.00                  3,398.00

Treatment Plant Dir             21,123.00                82,717.00                61,594.00

                                                                                                TOTAL           $97,549.00
 
This is all part of the $1,900,000.00 increase in this year’s budget over last years.  This will raise the current mil rate by 4.36 mils.  I believe last year’s mil rate is 23.2 which mean that this years’ mil rate will be 27.56.  There is no telling how much your taxes will go up.
 
These salaries are supposedly compared to town with the same size populations as Lisbon.  This is not based on the Revenues of these towns so you are comparing apples to oranges.  Lisbon is basically a retirement (bedroom) community where in Skowhegan has many more businesses that generate revenue for the community.  Remember Revenues must exceed or equal Expenditures.  In Lisbon, the expenditures (money paid out) exceed our Revenue (money coming in) and so the town has to get more money from the people in taxes to offset this loss.  The proper way to correct this problem is to reduce your expenditures until it equals your Revenue.
 
The Town Manager and the Town Council had rather raise taxes than to reduce expenditures.  A prime example is the Lisbon Communication Center, which is nothing more than a message center, which passes information from the Androscoggin County Dispatch to our First Responders, at a cost to the town of $345,246.00 this year.  By eliminating the middle man by having Androscoggin County Dispatch contacting our First Responder directly, there is a cost saving to the town of approximately $200,000.00 annually.  This clearly demonstrates an unwillingness to reduce expenditures.  It is easily for the town to raise taxes on its people rather than cut spending.
 
The Town Council voted to cover the failing Lisbon Emergency Service, Inc. at an additional cost to the taxpayer of $127,885.00 this year.  I support this investment in our community but the Town Council and the Town Manager need to reduce the operating cost of this town (Spending) and so far they are NOT willing to do this.
 
Basic principle, Revenues (money coming in) must match the Expenditures (money going out) or eventually you go bankrupt.  The Town Manager and the Town Council are irresponsible when it comes to looking out for the people’s tax dollars in my eyes.
 
Call your Councilors and discuss this issue with them if you care about your taxes.
 
Larry Fillmore