Wednesday, February 27, 2019
There is an epidemic sweeping across our country affecting the lives of millions of Americans; this is the opioid crisis. Opioids affect the lives of everyone in our country. It is important Lisbon does everything it can to prevent this crisis from affecting our community.
It is a parent’s responsibility to protect their families. One way to protect our families is to rid our homes of expired or unused medications before it gets into the hands of our children or other unauthorized individuals. By cleaning out our houses, we are eliminating the possibility of our kids using unauthorized medications.
If we can get all the expired and unused medication from our homes, it will help immensely to reduce the possibility of the opioid crisis in Lisbon. Having the parents’ dispose of expired or unused medication will help to protect our community. It is vital that each parent act responsible and do everything they can to protect their children from getting their hands on expired or unused medication.
Residents of Lisbon are very fortunate because there is an easy, no questions asked, method to dispose of these expired or unused medications. The Lisbon Police Department has a green container located in the lobby of the police station. This is available 24/7 365 days a year for your convenience. There is no interaction necessary between residents and the police. There is a dispatcher available if you have questions or concerns. I recommend taking the label with the individuals name off before turning in these expired or unused medications to ensure no names are revealed. The following is accepted:
The following items are accepted:
· Prescription Patches
· Prescription Medications
· Prescription Ointments
· Over the counter medications
· Medications for pets
The following items are not accepted:
· Needles and other sharps
· Aerosol cans
· Hydrogen Peroxide
· Medications from Businesses or Clinics
Please do not flush the medication down the toilet because this pollutes the ground water in our community. I understand years ago that this was the way people disposed of medication but we have learned the effects of doing this. This method of disposal is extremely harmful to our community. Again, please do not flush medications down the toilet.
It is imperative every parent in Lisbon do their part to protect their families and our community. There is no reason for individuals to take expired or unused medication in Lisbon because residents have a centrally located easy to use drop-off point at the Lisbon Police Department entrance.
Help our community, by emptying our homes of expired or unused medication.
Thursday, February 21, 2019
During Tuesday night’s Town Council meeting, February 19, 2019, the Council voted unanimously on the timeline to the proposed Charter change. For the pass five (5) or six (6) years, I have been opposed to making Charter changes because I believe it only weakens our Charter and provides an advantage to those in power to gain more power.
(2) It eliminates the need for two different ballots; one for those residing in District 1 and one for those residing in District 2.
(3) Eliminating two ballots would reduce the cost of printing.
Friday, February 8, 2019
MODULES COMPLETION DATE
1. Accounting/General Ledger/
Accounts Payable October 1, 2018
2. Cash Management October 1, 2018
3. Project & Grant Accounting October 1, 2018
4. Purchase Orders October 1, 2018
5. Accounts Receivable October 1, 2018
6. General Billing October 1, 2018
7. Payroll with Employee Self Service April 8, 2019
8. HR Management April 8, 2019
9. Animal License February 1, 2019
10. Business License February 1, 2019
11. Central Property File with the CAMA Bridge TO BE ANNOUNCED12. Tax Billing TO BE ANNOUNCED
13. ME Tax Lien TO BE ANNOUNCED
14. Tyler Cashiering February 1, 2019
15. Utility Billing 7-8 months
Before the town and the taxpayers can receive the full benefit of this package we are paying for; it must be completely implemented and fully operational. MUNIS is basically a financial software package. The taxpayers are paying $79,761.00 per year for a software package that does not include the Recreation, Public Works, Fire, Police, Water and Sewer Departments. Each of these departments has their own software packages to run their operations.
Wednesday, February 6, 2019
For years now, I have been suggesting the closure of the Lisbon Communication Center and having the Androscoggin County Dispatch take over the responsibility of dispatching Police, Fire, and Emergency Medical. And for years, the Town Council has voted to keep Lisbon Communication Center open.
The cost to operate this facility, in the last budget, was $345,246.00. Now it is a fact that two former Councilors investigated this very issue and found that the town could save approximately $200,000.00 taxpayer dollars a year by having Androscoggin Country Dispatch perform the Lisbon Communication Center functions. To me $200,000.00 is not chicken feed and should have been considered seriously. However, Fern LaRochelle, did not want the town to lose control.
During the Town Council workshop on January 15, 2019, Chief Hagen presented a proposal to perform dispatching for Gardiner. During the discussion of this Chairman Norm Albert ask a very important question for Chief Hagan. It was and I am quoting from the minutes of January 15, 2019 minutes:
“Councilor Albert asked if the state would be forcing Lisbon into dispatch service with them. Chief Hagan said eventually, yes, but probably not within three years. He said eventually the equipment we have will fail and the cost to replace it will be significant. Councilor Albert said the administrative fee should be worth our while.”
This brings up several important questions:
First question: “Why are we waiting for the state, why not do it now when we have an excellent offer from Androscoggin County Dispatch?”
Second question: “Why are we waiting until the equipment fails and puts the town in a crisis?”
Third question: “Why is the town going to pay a very significant amount of tax dollars to replace this equipment when the state is going to force us to join them?”
To me, these are very important questions. They can all be eliminated if the town allowed Androscoggin County to take over dispatching responsibility. It is a fact that by closing the Lisbon Communication Center will save the taxpayers tax dollars. It is also a fact that it is impossible to tell the exact amount that will be saved, however any cost saving will help reduce the operating cost of the town and reduce our taxes. Reducing our taxes should be the number one priority of the Town Council and the Town Manager. Unfortunately, they are NOT interested in saving money or reducing taxes.
Call your Councilors and Diane Barnes and tell them it is time to start saving tax dollars and no more tax increases.
Tuesday, February 5, 2019
Wednesday, January 16, 2019
At last night’s Town Council workshop, the subject of the morale of the town employee’s was discussed. There was talked about having an employee appreciation day at Beaver Park, which is an excellent start. It is a shame the Town Council is so blind to the obvious. The reason employee’s morale is so low, as I see it, is twofold: (1) The lack of leadership and (2) all employees being treated the same.
I think the lack of leadership is self-explanatory. So I will move on to the second point and that is rewarding, the good and bad, employees with the same pay raises. This is done every year by the Town Council, recommended by the Town Manager, approving Cost-of-Living Allowance (COLA) for all town employees. This is probably the dumbest idea anyone ever came up with.
The employee who is work the hardest and trying to improve themselves are compensated at the same rate as the employee who is enrolled in the Retired on Active Duty (ROAD). The road program means that they are doing just enough to get by or less and being rewarded the same as someone working to improve the quality of service residents deserve.
The reason the town approves COLA is because all town employees are rewarded by the same percentage but the pay raises are never the same. The percentage is based on the current salary and this stupid program applies to wage workers and management personnel the same. An example of this is the Town Manager; whose annual salary is over $90,000.00, receives a 2% COLA increase of $1,800.00 while a wage worker earning $40,000.00 receives only $800.00 a year increase. How can anyone justify this? Management positions should never be included in COLA increases in this town.
If you want to raise the morale of the employees in town, they need to start rewarding ONLY the good employees who are working the hardest. This is rewarding the good employees and hopefully encourages the poorer employees to work harder. Another method is to have each department nominate an employee for “Employee of the Month” and “Employee of the Year”. With both these positions, comes a small increase in their pay or time off. This will recognize these employees and hopefully push other employees to improve.
There are numerous methods to boost morale in the town. The problem is the leadership has to first to acknowledge the problem exists and then come up with a plan to address the situation.
I understand because I have recommended a number of solutions, they will never be considered, which is too bad.
Sunday, January 6, 2019
When the management of our town continues to waste thousands and thousands of our tax dollars every year, it is no wonder our taxes continue to rise. Whenever the citizens of Lisbon decide enough is enough, they need to contact the Town Council and demand a stop to wasting our tax dollars. I recommend as a subject matter expert that the Town Council stop wasting our tax dollars and pay the $168,000.00 to have professionals convert the town from TRIO to MUNIS so the town can move on. From my limited experience with TRIO, it is a lousy software package that allows management to hide money.
Thursday, December 6, 2018
I reviewed Tuesday night’s Town Council meeting for December 4, 2018 and was surprised to see Councilor LaRochelle being nominated for the position of Chairman of the Town Council. This just demonstrates members of the Town Council have not read or do not understand what the town Charter says.
Wednesday, November 21, 2018
Friday, November 9, 2018
Now that we have elected the same individuals to the Town Council, we can expect the same results from them. This is to say that the new Council will continue to spend our TAX DOLLARS instead of making any attempt to reduce the operating cost of the town which in turn would reduce the taxes on its residents.
(2) Eliminating Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) every year would save approximately $100,000.00 every year.
Wednesday, November 7, 2018
After the Town Council meeting of October 2, 2018, Executive Session, the Town Council approved the purchase of the Worumbo Mill property. The motion was made by Councilor Kolbe and seconded by Councilor LaRochelle moved that the Town enter into an agreement for purchase of real estate at 1 Canal Street, Tax Map U05, Lot 14 with payment for the real estate not to exceed $30,000.00 contingent upon the town entering into an agreement to obtain access to the real estate for purposes of conducting environmental assessment; and contingent on the results of said environmental assessment, and that the Town Manager be authorized to negotiate the final terms of the agreements and to execute the agreements and all related documents on behalf of the Town.
On the agenda of the Conservation Commission meeting of October 18, 2018, this purchase was to be discussed. However, I contacted a member of the commission and it was never discussed. I contacted the Town Manager, Mrs. Diane Barnes, on November 1, 2018 and learned quite a bit of information I want to share with residents of Lisbon.
According to Mrs. Barnes, the town has received a Brownfield grant of $200,000.00 for the purpose of conducting Phase I and II environmental assessments. These funds will be used to conduct assessment on the property at 1 Canal Street. This assessment is broken down into two Phases. Phase I is a review of all the documentation (which includes the Maine Environmental Protection Agency’s report from years ago) and Phase II is an analysis of the soil. The town has entered into an agreement with a company called TRC to perform Phase 1 and 2 on October 31, 2018. Phase 1 will begin next month and Phase 2 will begin in the spring.I am concerned because the last time Councilor Fern LaRochelle was on the Town Council; he tried to have the town purchase this same property from the Millers. This original deal was behind closed doors, in Executive Session, but the people voted NOT to purchase the property. I believe that this was due to the fact of the Maine Environmental Protection Agency report on toxic material under the surface and the fact it is in a flood zone.
Now, Councilor LaRochelle is back on the Town Council and the purchase of this property comes up again. I am concerned because I do not feel the people are being provided ALL the facts here. According to Mrs. Barnes, the Town wants to purchase this property to put a parking lot on it to service the downtown area. As you know from previous letters, I personally do not trust Fern LaRochelle. This is just me and my opinion. It is strange that the ONLY time this property comes up is when he is on the Town Council.
As I learn more about this property and its purchase, I will pass it along to the people.
Monday, October 22, 2018
Over the weekend, I had the misfortune to review the Town Council meeting of October 16, 2018. The meeting lasted two hours and twelve minutes. It should have taken an hour. Instead we have two Councilors trying to outdo each other in stupidity.
Sunday, October 14, 2018
It is truly amazing to me how Councilors on our Town Council can negotiate the purchase of property, the tax dollars being spent, environmental studies and more. Then turn around and purchase the property from the town for a song and turn around and make a profit. I call this abuse of their position. Currently, we have two Councilors that, I believe, fall into this category.
Friday, October 12, 2018
By now everyone has received the information sheet published by the town pertaining to the bonds everyone will be voting on November 6, 2018. Naturally, this information sheet was sent out after some absentee ballots were issued. Kind of defeats the purpose, don’t you think.
This is yet another example of the town spending money. They have absolutely no problems spending our tax dollars but you never see any councilor trying to save our tax dollars by reducing the town’s operating cost.
If one was to pay attention to documents associated with the Town Council agenda for October 16, 2018, they would have noticed that the last paragraph of the Police Department’s report states that come January 2019, the Lisbon Communication Center will no longer be performing dispatching for Durham. If I remember correctly, that leaves only Lisbon performing dispatching for Lisbon. This means the taxpayers have to pay for the entire Lisbon Communication Center which was budgeted for $345,246.00.
Several years ago, Councilors Garrison and Pesce conducted a survey and determined that by joining the Androscoggin County Dispatch, the town could save at least $200,000.00 per year. However, the Town Council voted 4-3 not to join Androscoggin County Dispatch and again the following year the Town Council voted 4-3 not to join Androscoggin County Dispatch.
The reason provided was that the Town Council did not want to give up control to Androscoggin County Dispatch. This effort both times was spearheaded by Fern LaRochelle who neglected to inform everyone that he was and is a subcontractor of the town who works directly with the Lisbon Communication Center. In my eyes, this was then and still is a conflict of interest that he should have revealed at the time. Now that he is once again a Councilor, he should recuse himself from any vote on this issue, if it ever came up again.
This is an excellent way for the town to save at least $200,000.00 tax dollars and no one is willing to look into saving taxpayers any money, just spending. It has been proven that letting Androscoggin County Dispatch perform our 911 calls if a much more efficient and at a cost savings to taxpayers.
I can almost guarantee you that this will never happen because it makes sense and it is the right thing to do. No one, from the Town Manager or the Town Council wants to do away with Chief David Brooks’ legacy. This has nothing to do with logic; it is strictly a political decision. Well, political decisions do not pay the bills or provide for taxpayers’ family.
So tell me again, why is our Councilors NOT looking for way to save our money?
Saturday, September 15, 2018
(1) The Town Manager and the Town Council did not seek out anyone with conversion experience to get their input.
(2) All conversions need to have the installation and training included in the original contract.
(3) Never enter into a multiply year contract prior to having seen how well the software package is working for your organization. The Town Manager, Diane Barnes, recommended to the Town Council to accept the software owners’ proposal for multiply years.