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

Friday, March 22, 2019



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:
·        Prescriptions
·        Prescription Patches
·        Prescription Medications
·        Prescription Ointments
·        Over the counter medications
·        Vitamins
·        Samples
·        Medications for pets
The following items are not accepted:
·        Needles and other sharps
·        Aerosol cans
·        Inhalers
·        Hydrogen Peroxide
·        Thermometers
·        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.
Larry Fillmore  

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.
Upon reading the proposed changes this year, I original thought this was an excellent idea because it saved the taxpayers money and resolved some issues such as:

(1) We now have a consolidated voting place which eliminated the confusion of where an individual was required to go to vote.

(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.
On the surface, these are all excellent reasons for approving this year’s Charter changes.  But in the process, the Town Council is eliminating the guarantee that both ends of town have a representative on the Town Council.  To me, this is critical to preserving the integrity of our community and far out weights the cost savings.  I believe the individuals who prepared our Charter had this in mind when they created our Charter and we should never change it.
This proposed change could very easily tip the scales on the Town Council to favor one end of town or the other.  It is easy to say Councilors will treat each end of town the same but human nature has shown this not to be true. 
Things which look good in the beginning are not always what they appear and I believe this is the case here. I would encourage everyone to weigh both sides of the issue and vote their feelings.  I am voting NO to this proposal because I believe it is vital that both ends of town have a true representation on our Town Council.
Please contact both your Councilors and our Town Manager and express your point of view.
Larry Fillmore


Friday, February 8, 2019


I have put together a chart of the anticipated dates for the conversion of MUNIS from TRIO to be completed.  The Chart is below:
                                                         MUNIS SCHEDULE

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 ANNOUNCED
12.      Tax Billing                                                              TO BE ANNOUNCED
13.      ME Tax Lien                                                           TO BE ANNOUNCED
14.      Tyler Cashiering                                                    February 1, 2019
15.      Utility Billing                                                          7-8 months
The town is paying $79,761.00 tax dollars a year for this software package.  The contract started March 1, 2016, so the first nineteen (19) months; the town paid for MUNIS and receive absolutely no benefit from it because it was not operational.  So this means the town wasted nearly $160,000.00 tax dollars and you wonder why taxes continue to go up every year.

Mrs. Lydia Colston, Finance Director, has been tasked to implement this program above her normal duties.  It would appear that Eight (8) out of Fifteen (15) modules have been completed.  On March 1, 2019, the contract will be three years old and we are half way through the implementation.  So far the town has been paying our tax dollars for software not yet functional.  I want to make this perfectly clear; Mrs. Colston is doing a remarkable job and should be commended at every chance.  However, the fact our tax dollars are being wasted because the town is not receiving the full benefit of MUNIS in which we are paying for.

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.
Each day that goes by without MUNIS completely implemented and fully operational, the town is wasting taxpayers’ dollars.  It is almost guaranteed that the Town Manager is going to ask for more increases this year and the Town Council will approve them.  This will raise our taxes again. 
Call you Councilors and the Town Manager and tell them to stop wasting our tax dollars. Also tell them to start looking for ways to save tax dollars and reduce our taxes.
Larry Fillmore



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.
Larry Fillmore

Tuesday, February 5, 2019


Well it is that time of year again.  The Town Manager, Diane Barnes, is preparing the town’s annual budget.  If she stays true to form, she will ask the Town Council to approve roughly a two million ($2,000,000.00) dollars increase in the operating cost of the town.  This will undoubtedly include a Cost-of-Living Allowance (COLA) for all employees of the town.
If you like having your taxes second highest in Androscoggin County, then sit back and do nothing.  There is a good chance Lisbon can move into the highest taxed town in the county, passing Lewiston this year.  Can you imagine that last year Lisbon passed Auburn?  That is just ridiculous!!!
The problem is no one in the town government, Town Council or the Town Manager is interested in cutting the cost of operating the town.  Several options to cut cost and reduce our taxes have been suggested and ignored by the Town Council.   
Now is the time for the people to speak up and tell both the Town Council and the Town Manager, enough is enough.  We want our taxes reduced this year.  If the people sit back and do nothing your taxes are going to rise again this year.  Can you afford that?
If you do nothing NOW, it will be too late to reverse the decision of the Town Council.  Call your Councilors and the Town Manager and tell them to start finding ways to reduce our taxes and no increase in taxes this year.
Larry Fillmore

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.
Larry Fillmore


Sunday, January 6, 2019


Have you ever wondered why our taxes continue to go up every year?  Does anyone really care?  The answer to these two questions is explained below.
There are several reasons why our taxes go up every year.  The first reason is mismanagement of our tax dollars.  In March 1, 2016, the town entered into a seven (7) years contract for a software package called MUNIS to replace the old one called TRIO.  I totally agree with this decision but would have never entered into a seven (7) year contract without first having the software installed so I could evaluate if it was going to do the job I wanted it to do.  This was a total blunder by the Town Council but they are not totally a fault.  The Town Manager, I am told, recommended this action to the Town Council.  Once again, this is poor advice by the Town Manager.
MUNIS cost the taxpayers $79,761.00 per year for fifteen (15) modules for seven (7) years.  As of today, I am told that only a portion of one (1) module has been installed.  At that rate, at the end of the contract MUNIS will NOT BE fully operational.  On March 1, 2019, the contract will have been in place for three years.  This means taxpayers will have paid $239,283.00 and the software package is not even installed, so we are paying for nothing.  This is not only disgraceful but borders on fraud, waste and abuse of our tax dollars.

A few months ago, the Town Council spent $4,400.00 for an evaluation to determine the cost to fully install MUNIS and its fifteen (15) modules.  The assessment came back and it would cost the town approximately $186,000.00 to have professionals come in and install the software package.  This is a great deal of money but the town has spent, as of March 1, 2019, a total of $239,283.00 and the taxpayers have nothing to show for it.  This is a crying shame because there are at least three residents available that have been through a transition from one software package to another and neither the Town Council nor the Town Manager called on their expertise.  These subject matter experts (SME) are former Councilor Greg Garrison, Jeffery Costanzo and I.  I am sure that there are a few more but I do not know them.

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. 
The Town Council needs to recognize the mistakes of the past and move the town forward.  This issue is supposed to be discussed on January 15, 2019 at the workshop.
Larry Fillmore


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.
Section 2-04, Chair, paragraph (b) reads “Term Limits.  No member of the Town Council shall be eligible for election as Chair or Vice Chair for more than two consecutive one year terms.  For the purposes of this section, election to an unexpired term of less than six (6) months shall not be considered a term.”
One would think this is very clear.  However, it is not and I do not understand how anyone can interrupt this any different.  If you have served as the Chair for two consecutive terms, you can no longer be eligible to serve again as Chairman/Chairwoman.  If you notice, it does not say in the current term or any other terms.  It says very simply, if you have served as Chairman of the Town Council for two consecutive terms; you are no longer eligible to serve as Chairman again.
On Tuesday night, Chairman Ward nominated Councilor LaRochelle for the position as Chairman of the Town Council.  This is in violation of the above stated provision of our town Charter but our own Town Clerk did not explain this to the Council.  Councilor LaRochelle served two consecutive terms as Chairman in his previous term on the Town Council.  Currently, there are two Councilors that can no longer serve as Chairman of the Town Council ever again and they are Councilor LaRochelle and Councilor Ward because both have already served town consecutive terms as Chairman of the Town Council.
I personally believe after every election of Councilors; they should be issued a copy of the town Charter and required to read it.  It is inexcusable when Councilors are not familiar with the town Charter.  This should be the Bible they are required to live by.  This minor requirement would eliminate a lot of mistakes made by the Town Council and improve the serve provided to this community.
Larry Fillmore

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.
The people have presented two options that would reduce the operating cost by nearly $300,000.00 yearly and both have been ignored by the Town Council.  They are:

           (1)  Closing the Lisbon Communication Center would save the taxpayers approximately $200,000.00 every year.

(2) Eliminating Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) every year would save approximately $100,000.00 every year.
The Lisbon Communication Center currently performs the dispatching of Police, Fire, and Medical for the town of Lisbon.  It use to perform dispatching for Sabattus and Durham but they determined it was not cost effective and decided to go to the Androscoggin County Dispatch.  Utilizing Androscoggin County Dispatch for these services is much more efficient because it eliminates an additional step in the process.
The Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) was established by the Federal Government to offset a recession but Lisbon has NOT been in a recession for many years.   However, the Town Manager uses COLA to cover-up wage increases for every employee of the town.  For the past three years, the taxpayers have paid the Town Manager between $1,200.00 and $1,800.00 every year.  This is outrageous to force the taxpayers to pay this.
By using COLA to cover-up wage increases, bad employees are rewarded the same as outstanding employees and to me this is not fair.  Wage increase should be awarded ONLY to employees that are exceeding normal standards.  I personally do not like paying for employees who are not doing their jobs up to the normal level required; maybe you do. 
In both cases, the Town Council has rejected the opportunity to save residents their hard earned money.  To me, this is very disgraceful and not what these individuals were elected to do.  I believe it is their job to, at least try, to reduce spending so we can reduce our taxes.  Lisbon is currently 2nd in the County for highest taxes; Lewiston is number one.  I have no doubt that if these Councilors do not put a stop to spending Lisbon will pass Lewiston.  This is NOT what I am looking forward too.
Call your Councilors and demand that they start reducing our spending immediately.
Larry Fillmore


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.
Larry Fillmore