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Showing posts with label Town Council. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Town Council. Show all posts

Friday, October 13, 2017

TOWN COUNCIL MEETING - OCTOBER 17, 2017


Sunday, October 8, 2017

WHO IS LOOK OUT FOR LISBON’S TAXPAYERS?

 
After reviewing our latest Town Council meeting, I am wondering who is looking out for the taxpayers and our money.  Back on September 19, 2017, the Council approved a ¾ vehicle for the Sewer Department in the amount of $25,843.00.  Now on October 3, 2017, the Council approved another ¾ ton vehicle for Public Works Department in the amount of $16,159.00 tax dollars.  I would appear that Mr. Leighton can get whatever he wants with our tax dollars.  These two vehicles were NOT budgeted previously, go figure.
 
Apparently Mr. Leighton needs larger vehicles in order to transport his golf clubs instead of protecting our citizens.  I am so tired of Mr. Leighton wasting our tax dollars on more “toys for the boys” instead of looking out for the safety of the people.  Look below:



 
These are pictures of the signs along the Route 196 corridor.  As you can see most of them cannot be read.  How is our Police Department going to enforce the “No Parking” when no one can read the signs?  These signs were put in as part of a safety initiative.  Apparently, there is no longer a safety issue along the Route 196 corridor.  These weather beaten signs run pretty close to the full length of Route 196; some are readable but the majority is NOT. 
 
The money Mr. Leighton wastes on vehicles could be spent to replace these signs.  Where are Mayor Fern LaRochelle and the Route 196 Committee, or Tracy Steuber, Economy Community Director, or Mr. Ross Cunningham, from Positive Change Lisbon?  Each of these individuals claims to be trying to improve the community.  The Route 196 corridor is heavily travelled daily; so these signs are seen by many.  What impression does one get after reviewing these signs?  Does it reflect how the community takes care of its citizens or that they do not care?
 
The Town Manager, Diane Barnes, and the Town Council approve anything Mr. Ryan Leighton puts before them.  No one bother to check for sure they are needed but why two vehicles?  The vehicles purchased before were from the State Actions for considerable less and served this community very well.  All of a sudden that option is no longer available.  Mr. Ryan Leighton is the largest BS artist in this town, now that Chief Brooks has left.
 
Our Town Council needs to review all purchases closer and look for other options before spending our tax dollars; instead of taking the Town Manager and Ryan Leighton’s word.
 
Larry Fillmore

Sunday, September 3, 2017

TRANSPARENCY IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT


It sure would be nice in here in Lisbon we had transparency in our local government as promised by the current Administration.  Even the Home page of the town website states there is transparency in Lisbon.  I would like for the Administration to define their definition of “transparency” to the people of Lisbon.

I have been laid up for a while and wanted to review what was going on while I was not feeling so well.  I followed the instructions on the town website to review the Town Council meetings to catch-up.  However, when I did so, the Town Council meetings come up just fine but there is NO Sound.  I had to go back to June 27th to find a meeting with sound so you could hear them.  At this point, I must apologize for not being able to read lips.  So please tell me again how this is “Transparency in Local Government”?  The people cannot hear what being said at these meetings, is it still “Transparency”?

Now, I can explain the problem to you.  The problem is that once the town sends the meetings to Clerkbase; who updates the town website no one follows through to ensure it is posted right.  This is the problem with our current Administration.  They believe that once they send it to ClerkBase their responsibility is finished.

It is also amazing that every one of the School Board videos come out crystal clear and never has a problem.  It is only the Town Council meetings that have all the issues.  It has been that way for several years and no one can correct the situation. 

Can we still call this “Transparency in Local Government”?

Larry Fillmore

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Town Council Special Meeting and Workshop for April 25, 2017


INCOMPETENCE IN GOVERNMENT – PART 3

 
This all started when the Town Manager, Diane Barnes’, with the help of Lydia Colston, Finance Director, conned the Town Council into amending the Fund Balance Policy on March 7, 2017.  This reduced the requirement to maintain an Unassigned Fund Balance on hand from $2.85 million to $1.74 million.  This freed up approximately $1.11 million of our tax dollars.

 

This left Mrs. Barnes and the Town Council with a problem of what to do with our tax dollars.  It did not take them long to decide to spend these dollars on things like replacing two new cruisers; upgrade the unnecessary communication center; purchase a wheeler; a paint spreader; a new trailer and a salt shed just to name a few items.  All of these items are going to add to the amount of money it takes to operate this town.  You do realize the tax dollars are determined by the amount of money it takes to operate the town.  With these additions our taxes will continue to rise to cover these costs.  However, the purchase will be made by the Unassigned Fund Balance for this year but on the years out taxpayers will have to cover the maintenance and operating cost with more tax dollars.

 

Here is a concept that Mrs. Barnes and at least four of the Town Council do not want to hear.  Since these funds are our tax dollars, why not use them to reduce the current operating cost of the town and reduce our taxes for a change.  Can anyone remember a year when our taxes did not go up?  It certainly has been a while.  We know that Councilors Ward, Brunelle, Crafts and Albert are not interested in reducing the operating cost of the town because they had a chance to save the taxpayers $200,000.00 this year by closing the communication center and did not.  Saving taxpayer money is a concept these individuals cannot handle.  This is our tax dollars so why not use it where it will help the taxpayers the most.

 

Reducing the operating cost would reduce the requirement for more tax dollars. Mrs. Barnes and these members of the Town Council cannot figure out; that you have to reduce spending to reduce the operating cost of the town.  Their answer to everything is to spend, spend spend.

 

YOU JUST CANNOT FIX STUPID!!!!

 

Larry Fillmore

INCOMPETENCE IN GOVERNMENT – PART 2


For years now, I have been telling the community that E. Ryan Leighton has no credentials but receiving a very large salary.  It is amazing that the Town Manager, Mrs. Barnes, has not assisted Mr. Leighton in obtaining the necessary training.  Everyone, including the Town Council, has let Mr. Leighton slide on everything.

This goes back to when he was impersonating an Engineer.  The state had to step in and tell the town that he was not a qualified Licensed Professional Engineer.  Then there was the Environmental Protection Agency fining the town for several problems and one of these was the sewer department did not have Standard Operating Procedures.  This is a basic action all professionals know to do when taking over a new job.

If you have ever watched a Town Council meeting, you should have noticed that almost every time Mr. Leighton presents anything there are more items unknown than known.  However, the Town Council allows him to slide almost every time.  You would think that someone would try and educate Mr. Leighton so it would improve the quality of the process.  Look and see how Request for Procurements (RFP) is processed without controversy. 

If the town is going to keep employing Mr. Leighton, it is only fair that he receive training.  It is Mrs. Barnes’ responsibility to ensure your town employees are qualified to perform their duties.  She has been allowing this shoddy work to continue without getting Mr. Leighton assistance.

If you doubt anything I am saying go to the Town Council video for April 11, 2017 and start a 2 hours and 31 minutes and listen to the dialog pertaining to the Salt Shed.  Play close attention to how many questions Mr. Leighton cannot answer without the help of the Town Council.  He is asking for $250,000.00 based on a guess because Lewiston salt shed cost $200,000.00 several years ago.  I am sure that we do not use as much salt as Lewiston; so our requirements would be different. Also, try to find out where Mr. Leighton plans on locating it; the size, or even the size of the current salt shed.  There are so many unknowns so how can anyone make a sound decision.  The video is 3 hours and 12 minutes and the Council has more unanswered questions then answered. 

Shouldn’t we expect a Department Head to know everything about an item when they are presenting them?

Larry Fillmore 

 

INCOMPETENCE IN GOVERNMENT – PART 1


It is amazing that the Town Manager and the Town Council are working extremely hard to increase the operating cost of the town.  This is why our taxes continue to go up. 

The Town Manager and the four members (Ward, Brunelle, Crafts and Albert) of the Town Council refuse to try and lower the operating cost of the town.  These individuals are devising ways to increase spending instead of looking for ways to lower our taxes. 

There are so many example of this it is not funny.  The first example is the Lisbon Communication Center.  These people had a chance to save every year approximately $200,000.00 tax dollars a YEAR and did not.  Another example is we have a Department Head who has NO credentials.  He also has NO managerial skills or common sense.  I am talking about E. Ryan Leighton our Public Works Director and Superintendent of Sewer.

There are so many examples of how very incompetent he truly is but I will so in a three part explanation. The first one is his excessive spending and how the taxpayers are force to pay for his lack training. 

Remember when he had to have a 4-ton Asphalt Reclaimer (Hot Box).  So the taxpayers purchased the equipment so that the town could improve our roads.  How is that worked out for us?  Our roads are a total disaster including the access way at the Public Works Garage.  I do not remember having these kinds of problems when Button Beale was in charge of Public Works.

Another example is the chipper we purchased.  During the last Town Council meeting the Town Council voted to approve a contract for an outside company to come in and do the trimming and chipping.  The reason give is the volume was too much for Public Works to do and Public Works did not have the manpower to do it themselves.  Why did we purchase it if we did not have the manpower?  The same as the “Hot Box” required a Class A license and Public Works does not have enough Class A licensed individuals to operate the Hot Box”. 

These are just two pieces of equipment sitting in the Public Works garage area the taxpayers purchased that are not being utilized as needed because Mr. Leighton has no managerial skills.

Also, since the Town Manager, Diane Barnes, arrived she has been covering for him.  She encourages him to purchase more equipment and supports him with the Council.  Mrs. Barnes has absolutely no desire to make Mr. Leighton get training or stop him from wasting our tax dollars.

Larry Fillmore   

Friday, April 7, 2017

TOWN COUNCIL WORKSHOP AGENDA - APRIL 11TH


STEALING TAX DOLLARS IN LISBON


The town of Lisbon is stealing tax dollars in the name of COLA.  What is a “Cost-of-Living Adjustment – COLA?  An adjustment made to Social Security and Supplemental Security Income to counteract the effects of inflation.  Cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) are generally equal to the percentage increase in the consumer price index for urban wage earners and clerical workers (CPI-W) for a specific period.  This definition can be found at http://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/cola.asp

The Town Manager is responsible for establishing the percentage of COLA which has been paid to town employees for the past five to six years.  However, her recommendation to the Town Council is illegal until the Town Council approves the budget and then it becomes legal.  There has not been a 2% increase in the consumer price index in longer than six years.  Also, instead of the adjustment being paid to wage earners and clerical workers; it is being paid to management too.  It is also in the Town Manager’s contract that she gets any increase paid.

So now let’s take a look at Mrs. Barnes decision to pay COLA to ALL employees.  Under the Federal system, the consumer price index is utilized to determine the percentage based on inflation.  These past six years, there has been NO increase in inflation so why are the town employees being paid COLA.  What can be the measuring device used to justify the payment of COLA?

1.     Must be a town employee.

2.     Must be breathing or at least have a pulse.

There is absolute no other justification for a COLA increase every year.  So let’s look at the impact:  an employee being paid $30,000.00 after five years of 2% COLA is now $33,123.42 and an employee being paid $90,000.00 after five years of 2% COLA is now $99,367.27.  Remember, these are our tax dollars being spent by the Town Manager and our Town Council.  So what is the town getting in return, nothing?  Employees are being paid a salary to do their jobs; so what are these tax dollars being paid for with no inflation?

The Town Manager uses a lot of terms to confuse the Town Council.  I will explain what I am talking about.  The term “Undesignated Fund” is now “Unassigned Fund Balance”; “COLA” is being used instead of “wage increase” and in the Town’s Annual Report the Town Salary Report reports the “Salary” which is far from the truth.  The “Salary” in the Annual Report is the amount paid to that individual during the year.  This includes overtime and any additional payments so it is NOT a salary.  This tactic is how the Town Manager keeps everyone confused.  There are so many terms used in our town that has other title in other areas but they are the same.  This is how the Town Manager gets things by the Town Council.

I love our employees and think they work hard for us for the most part but paying COLA for doing their job and being compensated very well.  They also receive longevity pay also. 

I think if you are receiving our tax dollars, the town should receive something in return.  The Town Council should never have approved COLA for the past five or six years and they should not approve it now.  To take tax dollars with no return is stealing.

Call your Councilors and voice your concerns because it is your tax dollars.  You should have a right to voice how you want to spend it.

Larry Fillmore

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

WHERE IS THE TOWN OF LISBON HEADING?

Are Larry Fillmore and Joe Hill the only ones' concerned about what is going on with the Town Office and the 2017 budget?

If all goes at Town Manager Diane Barnes and the Town Council plan, town expenses will increase by 19.2%! ! ! ! ! !

THIS 19.2 % INCREASE DOES NOT EVEN INCLUDE THE SCHOOL BUDGET! ! !

How many of you out there received a  Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) increase in your paycheck this year?

The U S Government did not think the Cost of Living increased this year so Social Security recipients did not get any.

Evidently the Town Manager and Town Council do not agree, so all town employees are set to be receiving one.

Most deserve it, but at what cost to homeowners that did not get one?

If Mrs Barnes and the Town Council deem it necessary that town employees receive a COLA they need to make serious cuts in the town budget elsewhere.  

As Joe Hill said recently, with a 19.2 % budget increase, the town is "HEADED FOR BANKRUPCY".

Any wonder that the Town Council and Management do not want the citizens to vote on the town budget as we do on the school budget?

My fellow Citizens and taxpayers, attend town council meetings and budget workshops.

If you cannot attend, watch them on TV.

Meetings are aired on Channel 7 at 7 p.m. on the Fridays after each meeting.
 
Submitted By:  Dot Fritzgerald
 

 

Monday, April 3, 2017

MUNICIPAL BUDGETING 101


It would appear that the Town Manager and the Town Council have forgotten their duties and responsibilities to the people they serve.  The people are looking for their tax dollars to be used wisely.  This means that the Town Manager and the Town Council should be looking for ways to reduce the operating cost of the Town in order to keep our taxes down.

The Town Manager has presented a Municipal Budget that has a 19.2 increase in spending.  This budget includes the wish lists for all departments.  Mrs. Barnes is using the Russian policy of two steps forward, one step back.  This means that she never had any hope of getting everything approved.  So, let’s look at what happens when the increase is final at 5% (this is just a number).  It means the Town Council is going to increase the cost of operating by 5%.  So how are they going to pay for this increase; by raising taxes or using our Unassigned Fund Balance?  Any way you look at it is going to increase town spending.  Mrs. Barnes will say, “Look how good we did reducing the 19.2% to 5%.”  This budget should never have been submitted at 19.2% in the first place.  The people expect a realistic budget not a fake one. 

The people want the Town Council to look at ways to reduce spending and increase revenue.  There is none of that in this fake budget.  Constitutes want the Town Council to find ways to get the most out of our tax dollars.  However, four members of this Council (Ward, Crafts, Brunelle and Albert) are not in the least interested in try to save money for the people.  These four Councilors voted to keep the Lisbon Communication Center operational instead of having Androscoggin County Dispatch perform the communities dispatch duties.  This had to be a political decision because closing the Lisbon Communication Center would have reduced the town’s operating cost by approximately $200,000.00 as a minimum annually. 

Are these four individuals really working for the community or do they have a different boss?  Councilors should only have one thing on their minds when they vote on issues and that is “What is the best course of action for the town?”  Any time you can reduce the spending, it has to be a good thing but to totally ignore over $200,000.00 saving is just irresponsibly on the part of these four Councilors. 

These four Councilors have turned their backs on this town.  Call these Councilors and let them know how you feel about losing over $200,000.00.

Larry Fillmore

 

Lisbon's Road to Bankruptcy - Part 6

 

Image result for stop the insanity



                                    COSTLY CONTROL!

According to Lisbon Councilors, the main reason they didn't want to upgrade Lisbon's dispatch to the County PSAP was their need to "keep control".  This "controlling attitude" will cost taxpayers over $230,000 thousand dollars (this tax year) in increased dispatch costs.  This added cost equates to about 50 cents per thousand on our mil rate or about a $75 dollar tax increase on the average $150,000 dollar home.

Why is "Keeping Control" -- more important to Councilors Craft, Burnell, Ward and Albert than residents safety?  What do THEY gain by keeping this costly control?  

The cost of this "CONTROL":

  • Increased taxes  (if we keep local dispatch)
  • Reduced safety  --- Response times delayed
  • Loss of Conformity  ---- The rest of Maine towns use a PSAP
  • Critical Information Loss  --- Lisbon dispatch can't access some of the felony records needed when dealing with criminals.
  • Delayed EMT Codes  ---  Lisbon dispatch is not trained to give critical EMT codes to first responders.

The above (4) Councilors may feel they gain something by keeping "local control" but their gain is Lisbon's Loss.

The decision to keep local dispatch is ILLOGICAL and COSTLY for Lisbon taxpayers.  

Its time we put an end to this INSANITY.

Respectfully
Joe Hill

Sunday, April 2, 2017

HOW WOULD YOU VOTE?

I am going to provide you with the FACTS surrounding the Lisbon Communication Center and ask you if the Town Council made the right decision.  Remember, the SOLE job of a Councilor is to do what is in the best interest of the community.   To close the Lisbon Communication Center or not was voted on February 21, 2017.  The vote of 4-3 was NOT to close the Lisbon Communication Center.

Here is a listing of the PRO’s and CON’s presented to the Council by many many people.  The following are the PROs:

1.     Having Androscoggin County Dispatcher dispatch our First Responders means they get to the scene quicker.

2.     Having Androscoggin County Dispatch dispatch our EMT’s ensures they have the Emergency Medical Code they desperately need.

3.     Arrival to the scene with an Emergency Medical Code, gives the victim a better change of surveille.

4.     The initial cost saving, provided by the Town Manager was $191,095.00.

5.     There would be an additional cost saving to the community every year because we are reducing the town’s operating cost.

6.     The consolidation of the records management system enables our officers to be able to identify more criminals much quicker.  They would have access to a larger dbase.

7.     Lisbon is the ONLY town in Maine NOT to have a PSAP providing dispatch services to the community.  The E911 system is using in every state in American and parts of Europe.  This is a proving system.

The following are the CONs:
 
            1.     There would be no one at the Police Department during off-duty hours.

2.     The “Good Old Boys” network would lose a little control.

3.     None of the Lisbon dispatchers are qualified as Emergency Medical Dispatcher and therefore cannot provide the critical Emergency Medial Code to the EMTs. 

4.     Four or five dispatchers will lose their jobs.

This is the information provided to the Town Council.  If you were a Councilor how would you vote?

Now for the rest of the story that was never mentioned by the Town Manager, Diane Barnes, Chief of Police, Marc Hagan, and Sergeant Moore during the discussion.  On March 21, 2017 while presenting the 2017-2018 Municipal budgets, Diane Barnes said the communication center will need $33,500.00 for upgrades.  This was approximately a month from the decision on the communication center.  Why wasn’t it brought up before during the discussion?  Why hide it from the Town Council and does it make a difference on your vote?

 Well you have the facts and now is the time to vote.  If you think the right thing would be to close the Lisbon Communication Center, call you Councilor and voice your concerns.

Larry Fillmore

CLOSING THE LISBON COMMUNICATION CENTER


As we all know, on February 21, 2017 four Councilors voted to keep paying for the Lisbon Communication Center.  These Councilors are Allen Ward, Chris Brunelle, Dale Crafts and Norm Albert.  We also know that Dale Crafts ALWAYS votes the same as Chris Brunelle and Norm Albert ALWAYS votes the same as Allen Ward.  Check their voting record to verify.

This leaves Chris Brunelle, who for the past four years has always voted against what is best for the community.  It is like he is representing the “Good Old Boys” network.  Remember the issue with the school which cost us legal fees and five referendums.  The one I cannot figure out is Allen Ward.  The week before the vote, he stated that before he voted he want to know what PSAP Brunswick and PSAP L/A911 could offer the community.  Also he and Councilor Albert said they were going to visit Androscoggin County Dispatch to review their operations.  However, neither did and both voted to keep Lisbon Communication Center open.  Sounds like these two got a better offer.

So let’s take a look at the current system.  Currently when a 911 call is received by the Androscoggin County Dispatch, the dispatcher has to determine the Emergency Medical Code (EMC) and relay all the information to the Lisbon Communication Center PRIOR to any dispatching of our First Responders. Can you imagine what happened if there are further delays?  Once the Lisbon dispatcher has the information, they dispatch our First Responders.  Lisbon Communication Center is simple a middle station and does not add any additional value to the process.

By closing the Lisbon Communication Center and having the Androscoggin County Dispatch perform all our dispatching needs; will eliminate the need for a middle station.  This means that the Dispatcher who receives the 911 call will be able to dispatch our First Responders immediately.  This will get our First Responder to the scene more quickly.  Put yourself in the place of the victim and ask yourself which system you would want in place.  Me personally, I want the system that gets me the help I need to me as quickly as possible.  It ONLY makes sense when lives are at stake.  Apparently, this means nothing to these four Councilors.

Next, by improving the service to our community, there is a cost savings to the community.  This means that the operating cost to the community is roughly $250,000.00 lower this year and every other year.  It is not very often when improving services to the community render such a sufficient amount of tax dollars.  So again I ask WHY did these four Councilors vote to put our lives at risk and not want to save the community roughly $250,000.00 a year.

Their vote does not make any sense for the town.  This idea that they may lose control is not a valid argument unless you are a member of the “Good Old Boys” network.  It is time for Lisbon to join the rest of the country and utilize a proven E911 system and ALL of its advantages.  This was a bad decision and need to be reevaluated especially after the Town Manager, Diane Barnes, states there is $33,500.00 in the municipal budget to upgrade the communication center.

Their vote was a month before the Town Manager making this announcement about needing more tax dollars for the Lisbon Communication Center.  These funds would not be needed if the Lisbon Communication Center closed.  Does anyone else beside me want to know why this was not made known during the discussions on the communication center?  I know that Sergeant Moore, Chief Hagan or Mrs. Barnes had this knowledge all along since the budget was presented a month later.

Call you’re Councilors, if you agree, and let’s get this decision reversed so it is in the best interest of the community.

Larry Fillmore

 

TRANSPARENCY IS DEAD IN LISBON!!


There is supposed to be transparency in government at all levels.  Lisbon used to have it, to a degree, but now there is no transparency at all.  This was clearly demonstrated by the Town Manager, Diane Barnes, during her presentation of the 2017-2018 Municipal Budget.

During the presentation, Mrs. Barnes announced a need for $33,500.00 for upgrading the Lisbon Communication Center.  However, during a discussion that ended in a vote to keep the communication center operational, there was absolutely no mention of needing additional tax dollar to upgrade the Lisbon Communication Center.  No matter how you cut it; omission is a sin just like a lie.  One would think Mrs. Barnes, Chief Hagan or SGT Moore would mention this information to the Council.  Don’t you think it is an important factor that needed to be evaluated in order to reach a logical decision?  The decision was just one month prior and Mrs. Barnes and Chief Hagan have stated they have been working on the budget since January so they had to have known.

The Town Council can hardly be expected to make sound and right conclusions when they do not have ALL the information to base the decision on.  I personally believe that these individual deliberately did not mention the need for more funds because they were afraid it could change the vote by the Council.  I believe that the fix was already in by the “Good Old Boys” network but still the Town Council deserves ALL the facts and not have some hidden from them.

I believe that based on this new information, the Town Council should reconsider the closing of the Lisbon Communication Center. 

Call your Councilors and make your feeling known.

Larry Fillmore

 

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Lisbon Maine's Road to Bankruptcy --- Part 5


Why has Lisbon chosen to ask for a 19.2% increase in the town budget when they could have easily saved $250,000 thousand dollars and increased Lisbon resident's safety--by eliminating the Dispatch Center?

Why did 4 of our Councilors vote to keep the Dispatch Center when it is clearly harmful to Lisbon Resident's safety and is also financially disastrous for Lisbon's future development? 

            This decision is not logical.

Usual reasons for bad government decisions:


  •      Money   ---- Someone or group of people are making money either directly or indirectly by averting costly personal or business changes.

  •   Blackmail ---  In this information age people are more vulnerable to blackmail.  The last election cycle has shown us how blackmail is a factor in government decisions.

  • Fear:---          
                     1.   Of the unknown  
                     2.  Of the size of the change


The fact that 3 of our Councilors voted to upgrade our Emergency Communications by going with the County Dispatch speaks volumes.   These Councilors saw the truth and refused to take the easy vote.   They should be commended. 

The truth always wins in the end. Eventually, we will know why the "4 Good Old Boys" voted against Lisbon.

If someone dies because of delayed medical service this bad decision, made by "Lisbon's 4 good old boys", may come back to bite us in the pocketbook.  

Respectfully
Joe Hill