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

Friday, November 17, 2017

TOWN COUNCIL MEETING AGENDA FOR NOVEMBER 21, 2017



CITIZENS OF LISBON AND BOWDOIN WAKE UP!!!!!

 
Last Wednesday night, I attended HALF a meeting on the issue of the Lisbon Emergency situation.  However, upon arrival at 06:40 PM, I learned the meeting had already started.  It was on the town website as starting at 0700 PM.  I have no idea what time it really started but I missed a discussion on the Request for Procurement (RFP).  The last meeting was cancelled (without notice to the Public) because they had not received a response to the RFP.  I came to see what was in the RFP’s.  Apparently, I missed that whole discussion.  It would be nice if you could believe the town website.
 
I think I should catch everyone on up on what is going on with Lisbon Emergency.  Lisbon Emergency, Inc. is operating at a loss.  They are asking the taxpayer of Lisbon and Bowdoin to bail them out with additional funds.  Check out the chart below:
 
FY                    TOTAL CHARGES   LISBON SHARE   BOWDOIN SHARE
2018-2019     $162,152.78           $127,884.46        $34,267.92
2019-2020     $187,762.90           $149,172.84        $39,590.06
2020-2021     $251,354.03           $199,245.74        $52,108.29
 
This is to maintain the current level of service to our communities.
 
I have utilized Lisbon Emergency several times this year and the service I have received was outstanding.  The Emergency Medical Technician’s (EMT) were very professional and very efficiency.  There is no question Lisbon Emergency is a valuable asset to our communities.  Without their service, our communities would have to wait for ambulance service (United Ambulance Service) to come from Russell Street in Lewiston.  Utilizing United Ambulance Service would not cost the towns anything but there will certainly be a delay.   CAN WE AFFORD THE DELAY?
 
When I asked if Lisbon Emergency had looked into alternative solutions before these towns bail them out; I was immediately informed by Chairman Ward this is NOT a bailout.  I do not understand why this is not a bailout.  Lisbon Emergency is a private business, providing a service to these towns, and are asking the taxpayer to add additional funds to their revenue to operate.  HOW IS THIS NOT A BAILOUT?
 
This is a real tough situation because if the taxpayers do not come up with the additional funds; Lisbon Emergency will have to shut down and United Ambulance Service will have to provide citizens with emergency medical services.  This is a critical situation that directly affects the lives of every person in both communities.  Bowdoin has a town meeting in March and will vote on it.  However, Lisbon does not have a town meeting to decide these issues;  I believe because everyone in Lisbon is affected by this issue; it should be decided by a vote of the citizens and NOT left up to the Town Council.  This is just too important.
 
Think about where the money is going to come from?  The town of Lisbon is currently wasting over $200,000.00 by keeping the Communication Center open instead of using the Androscoggin County Dispatch center.  This was a political decision instead of a logical one.  CAN WE AFFORD TO SUPPORT BOTH?
 
Larry Fillmore

 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

NOT A CLUE!!!!


On October 25, 2017, Dorothy Fitzgerald and myself arrived at the town Office to attend a meeting of the sub-committee on Emergency Medical Service in Lisbon announced by Councilor Norman Albert at the October 3, 2017 Town Council meeting.  I was greeted by the Town Manager, Diane Barnes, who informed me the meeting was cancelled until the Request for Procurement (RFP) was received.  I asked Mrs. Barnes why there was no notification of the cancellation posted anywhere and was informed she notified the sub-committee members.  I asked why she did not notify the people of the cancellation.
 
According to Mrs. Barnes, she does not notify the people of sub-committee cancellations.  So Dottie and I wasted our time; thinking we were going to attend an EMS that was cancelled without notifying the people.  This I see as a problem that has a simple solution; so I contacted Chairman Allen Ward of the Town Council and offered the following solution:
 
“The town has a web site that has an "Event" calendar on it.  Every Chairman of ANY committee/sub-committee should be required to notify Diane of the schedule or cancellation of any meeting open to the Public.  One of the many purposes of the web site is to keep the people informed.
 
There is no real reason why the people are being held in the dark when the town is supposed to be transparent.
 
The town council needs to insists on transparency when it comes to the people.”
 
I did not receive a response from Chairman Allen Ward but did receive a response from the Town Manager, Diane Barnes in which she said:
 
“I did not post the meeting on our website therefore, there I did not post the cancellation.  I was the one that notified the committee members that the meeting was canceled.
 
To me, Mrs. Barnes response does not address the problem or the solution I offered.  This means that the people are not being kept informed on issues that concern them.  I call this a deliberate act of concealing meetings from the people; that shows a lack of transparency by the Town Manager.
 
However, tonight I noticed an EMS meeting scheduled on the Town Website for next Wednesday so maybe someone DID get the message.  We will have to wait and see how long this last.
 
Larry Fillmore

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

MEMA UPDATE


We have been given a deadline for sending our updated Form 7s to MEMA by close of business on Thursday. 

Along with municipal costs, there is the potential for private individual damages that have gone unreported despite State and Counties attempting to get the word out to private citizens.  If you know of private citizens who have sustained damages to their primary residence and/or vehicle, please have them contact this office by 2 PM Thursday so that we can also record their damages.  With the campaign to have residents call 2-1-1 Maine to report their damages, only 26 statewide have called in and only 2 reported personal property damages.  Only 1 call was received for Androscoggin County (town of Lisbon). 

Please call or email the information to:

Joanne G. Potvin, Director
Androscoggin Unified Emergency Management Agency
2 College Street
Lewiston, ME  04240-7101
Tel:  207-784-0147
FAX:  207-795-8938

 

        

Friday, November 3, 2017

MAINE EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY NEWS RELEASE OF NOVEMBER 2, 2017


DHHS:  “…..current SNAP recipients may qualify assistance with replacing lost food; …..if they qualify, the benefit would be equal to the total of their losses but  cannot exceed their monthly benefit; …..a press release has been issues with information on how SNAP recipients can contact them for replacement benefits – the link is:  http://www.maine.gov/tools/whatsnew/index.php?topic=Portal+News&id=770788&v=article-2017 or recipients can contact the Office of Family Independence at 1-855-797-4357 for more information or for assistance in obtaining a voucher; …..”
 
IMPORTANT INFORMATION – Maine  Emergency Management Agency News Release of 11/02/17 at 5 PM“ …..The State of Maine is pursuing a Federal Disaster Declaration, however, NO Federal assistance is available at this time; MEMA and the County EMAs are just starting the process of assessing damages and needs, primarily in the area of public works costs for emergency debris removal and disposal; …..individuals who have sustained property damage should document those damages through photos and receipts and file a claim with their homeowner’s insurance; …..those without insurance and financial means to fix the damages should contact their municipal General Assistance Officer to determine what assistance may be available; …..SNAP benefit recipients may be able to obtain a voucher to replace lost food from the freezer/refrigerator – they should contact the Office of Family Independence at 1-855-797-4357 or visit the website http://www.maine.gov/tools/whatsnew/index.php?topic=Portal+News&id=770788&v=article-2017 for more information; …..individuals with food losses who are not SNAP benefit recipients should check in with their municipal General Assistance Officer for assistance  that may be available – local food pantries, Community Action Programs and Good Shepherd Foodbank may be able to provide some food replacement assistance to those who meet certain income guidelines; …..individuals may also contact 2-1-1 Maine to obtain referrals for assistance; …..farmers who experienced losses and need assistance should contact USDA Farm Service Agency at 207-990-9140. 
 
Citizens who have experienced damages as a result of the Oct. 29 Wind Storm are encouraged to report those damages to 2-1-1 Maine.  This information is to assess damages and will be provided to the individual’s town to enable them to learn who has storm-related damages.   Callers will be asked a series of questions.  They should continue to file claims with their homeowners or auto insurance.  By reporting this damage, they are not applying for assistance; …..”
 
To Municipal Officials – would you please post this paragraph of information in a conspicuous location at your Town Office/City Hall in order to make residents aware of this information?  Thank you!

 

Joanne
Joanne G. Potvin, Director
Androscoggin Unified Emergency Management Agency
2 College Street
Lewiston, ME  04240-7101

 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

My Right to Support the Candidate of MY Choice

 
Some one is taking away my right to support the candidate of my choice.

 I support Scott Gaisson in his running for the Maine House of Representatives
He would work hard for the citizens of Lisbon and the State of Maine.
When I found that he was running I asked him if he would place one of his
political signs in on my property, which he or one of his supporters did.
 
A sign for Mr.. Gaisson's opponent, Rick Mason, was placed on my neighbor's property
weeks ago. I respect that my neighbor has a right to support a candidate
of his choice and place a sign on his property.
 

A little over a week ago someone removed Scott Gaisson's sign, from my property.
I found it in the middle of the road, in the School Street, Route 196 intersection,
badly damaged after being run over by numerous vehicles. 

I found the sign and put it again on the wire stand. A few days later Mr.. Gaisson
replaced the damaged sign with a new one.

Sometime  between Friday evening and Saturday morning Scott Gaisson's
sign was again stolen.

Not only was Scott Gaisson's sign missing, but a second one for his opponent
was placed on my neighbor's property.
 
I called the Lisbon Police Department and reported that a political sign was stolen,
not once but twice. The police office who responded suggested that the sign on my property
was taken by teenagers.

Kids who had a new sign to place on my neighbor's property at the same time. 

                Really??????????         This is improper politics at it's worst.   
 
Someone is taking away my right to support the candidate of my choice for the Maine 
House of Representative.
 
I am asking that whoever removed Scott's sign do the right thing and bring it back,
no questions asked.  
 
And no, I am not even suggesting that my neighbor removed the sign from my property. 
He and I have more respect for each other that that.

 TO TAKE DOWN, REMOVE, DAMAGE A POLITICAL SIGN IS AGAINST THE LAW




 
Respectfully,
Dot Fitzgerald
A Lisbon Concerned Citizen

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