Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Friday, March 17, 2017
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Please take note that tonight's Special Council Meeting is being postponed due to inclement weather and will be rescheduled for Thursday, March 16, 2017 at 6:00 PM
Monday, March 13, 2017
I have reviewed the video of the Town Council video for the meeting on March 7, 2017 and have several concerns about this new policy change that was not mentioned during the discussion.
1. The first concern is that under the new policy the School Budget is not utilized to compute the 12.5% requirement. This is the crutch of the amendment. If we have an emergency that the town needs to utilize these Undesignated Funds, what is going to happen to the School side? Who is going to be responsible for the School side? The Town needs to remember that the State has a history of never paying the full 55% they are obligated to pay.
2. Next, there was no mention of our Debt Services and Lease pay account in computing the 12.5%. If the town is forced to use the Undesignated Funds and these account are not considered; we could be facing defaulting on our bonds and leased requirements. This would affect our credit rating and we would lose the ability to borrow money to recover.
3. According to the Sun Journal and the Finance Director, this amendment reduces the amount of tax dollars the town must keep in reserve by $1.11 million dollars. If that is the case, what is the town planning on doing with these funds?
This appears on the surface to be “Creative Accounting”. Manipulating figures means that you are playing “Russian Roulette” with taxpayer’s dollars. So let’s say, this scheme goes south, who is going to have to save the day; the taxpayers are going to be hurt the most.
Are we really going to put them in that position?
Friday, March 10, 2017
Tuesday, March 7, 2017
I was always taught, in order to extend the life of your equipment, to perform timely routine maintenance. I think most people now a day understand the value in this; that is with the exception of our Public Works Director, E. Ryan Leighton and our Town Manager, Diane Barnes.
Let’s take a simple case of the Asphalt Reclaimer the people purchased to take care of potholes in the winter. This piece of equipment cost the people $31,490.00 back in September 2, 2014. The Asphalt Reclaimer arrived on or about January 23, 2015. For two years and one month, the town has NOT performed any maintenance on this piece of equipment. After two requests for the maintenance record, the Town Manager, Diane Barnes, notified me that the Asphalt Reclaimer was going to have maintenance performed on it on or about Monday, January 30, 2017.
Since July 1, 2016 until March 1, 2017 the Asphalt Reclaimer has 45 hours of use on it. Does anyone still wonder why the town of Lisbon is full of potholes? Anyone with common sense would start with roads/streets or access ways that are heavily traveled to repair first. I do not know of any road/street/access way traveled more that the access way at the Public works Garage because almost everyone utilizes the Transfer Station.
So every year, we go through the same situation with potholes throughout the access way. What’s more, neither E. Ryan Leighton nor Diane Barnes has the common sense to put warning devices to warn drivers of these potholes until they can be repaired. Think about this; how far does the Asphalt Reclaimer have to travel to repair the access way?
This Asphalt Reclaimer was purchased to resolve the town’s problem of potholes and has it been utilized to do this. I think NOT. How many other devices that should require timely routine maintenance are receiving timely maintenance? How long are we going to be able to keep these devices operational before we have to replace it? E Ryan Leighton does not live in town and does not have to pay for replacing these devices. He is quick to want to replace worn out equipment but will do nothing to prolong the life of these devices.
What do you expect when you have an individual with no credentials in charge of Public Works? We never had this problem with Button Beale was the Public Works Director.
Friday, March 3, 2017
Until further notice, I will no longer waste my time attending Town Council meeting/workshops. I am going to enjoy watching NCIS like the rest of you.
Saturday, February 25, 2017
On February 21, 2017, our Town Council took a vote on whether or not to close the Lisbon Communication Center. The vote was 4-3 with Chairman Ward, Councilors Brunelle, Crafts and Albert voting to keep the communication center open and Councilors Lunt, Kolbe and Crawford opposed. So let’s take a look at this decision and see who is right.
The sole reason provided to keep the Communication Center open was to keep local control. In other words, the “Good Old Boys” must remain in total control of the town. Councilor Brunelle pushed the issue and called for a vote and Councilor Albert seconded the motion.
Now let’s look at the impact of their decision. The following is a listing of how this decision affects the community.
1. The Town had an opportunity to have the Androscoggin County Dispatch dispatch our First Responders instead of having to relay the information to Lisbon Communication Center to have them dispatch first responders. This would have enabled our First Responder to get to the emergency much quicker.
2. Lisbon Communication Center has no one qualified to establish an Emergency Medical Code (EMD) which is critical for the EMT’s. This EMC code tells the EMT’s the situation on the ground before they leave to respond and to make sure they have all the necessary medical equipment to provide the best service possible for the victim. This would have provided better medical service to our people in need.
3. According to the handout provided at the workshop, the cost saving was $191,095.00. This is a reduction of approximately $200,000.00 a year in the operating cost of the town. Now, the town still has this cost and is going to be asking for additional funding to support the operating of the town.
4. SGT Moore could return to the Police Department as a FULL time officer. Currently, SGT Moore is split between the Lisbon Communication Center and the Police Department. Won’t it be better to have additional officer to protect and serve the community?
5. By closing the Lisbon Communication Center, there would be a cost saving because you no longer would need Information Technology support.
6. By closing the Lisbon Communication Center, there is no longer a need to update the communication Center equipment. By the way, whom do you think will have to pay for the upgrades?
I believe that the four Councilors that voted to keep the Lisbon Communication Center open did NOT have the best interest of the community. Also, they did not gather all the information necessary to make a logical decision. During the workshop, Chairman Ward stated he wanted to see what LA 911 and Brunswick would offer the town and wanted to visit Androscoggin County Dispatch. He never did that but voted anyways. I guess this makes his word useless. Councilor Albert wanted to look into other sources and he did not; so guess what his word is good for. DID YOU KNOW THAT NOT ONE COUNCILOR VISITED THE ANDROSCOGGIN COUNTY DISPATCH TO PERSONALLY REVIEW THE OPERATIONS! This should have been done prior to a vote. Of course if you have already been told how to vote, I guess it does not any difference and is a waste of your time.
Councilor Brunelle, in my opinion, has never had the interest of the town. Look back when he was in the middle of the dispute between the School Department and the Town Council over the budget a few years ago. That dispute cost the TAXPAYERS a great deal of tax dollars between the legal fee and the referendums. A Councilor is supposed to put the needs of the community before his friend and neighbors (Good Old Boys). This has never happened; if you don’t believe me check his voting record.
Councilor Crafts does whatever Councilor Brunelle tells him and Councilor Albert does whatever Chairman Ward wants. These are not Councilors; they are followers. These four individuals did not gather all necessary information prior to voting so how can they say that it is in the best interest of the community.
With this type of behavior, in three to five years, our taxes will triple.
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
This is a brief summary of Town Council meeting held on February 21, 2017. I believe this Council meeting was critical for the future of Lisbon and I encourage each and every member of this community to review the meeting on Friday at 07:00 PM. Also, it is available on the town web site.
Under Good News & Recognition:
1. Lisbon Cheerleaders Proclamation – The Town Council recognized the Lisbon Cheerleading Squad for winning the Maine State Competition.
2. Spirit of America Award – The Council awarded this to the Route 196 Master Plan Subcommittee.
3. Presentation to Outgoing Councilor Metivier – Chairman Ward gave a present to Former Councilor Eric Metivier for his service to the community.
Under Public Hearing - ECD Director provided a slide presentation outlining the Amendment to the already approved Kelly Park TIF.
Under Council Orders, Resolutions & Ordinances –
1. Healthy Androscoggin Grant Award – The Council approve by a vote of 7-0 to accept $600.00 grant.
2. Kelly Park TIF District – The Council tabled this action under everything could be ironed out.
3. USDA Rural Development Funding Application – The Council approve by a vote of 7-0 to apply for this funding.
4. Dispatch Consolidation Discussion – The Council voted by a vote of 4-3 to retain the Lisbon Communication Center. Please review the video for specifics.
5. ATRC Project – The Council approved this project by a vote of 7-0.
Under Appointments – Mr. James Lemieux was appointed Water Commissioner to replace the late Mr. Bill Bauer.
Friday, February 17, 2017
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
The Lisbon Communication Center has been a topic of discussion for many many years. I have kept up with all of these discussions and in each case I thought I understood the situation and had answers for all the excuses used to explain why the taxpayers are paying over $350,000.00 yearly uselessly when a cost saving of approximately $250,000.00 tax dollars can be had. This closing of the Lisbon Communication Center would improve the quality of life for all citizens in Lisbon.
After hearing the discussion at the Town Council workshop, I was truly struck by the fact that the closing of the Lisbon Communication Center rested on the loss of local control. This was clearly stated by Mr. Fern LaRochelle and shared by a couple of our Councilors. To me, putting the loss of local control over the loss of life is ridiculous. However, it does explain a lot to me. This just goes to show how the “Good Old Boys” network values the lives of citizens.
The current system used by Lisbon does not provide the best possible protection to the people. This was identified in last Town Council workshop on this to issue. Please review the following two scenarios:
1. According to the EMT from Lisbon Emergency, when calls are received using 353-2500, and the Lisbon Communication Center dispatch them; they cannot and do not provide an Emergency Medical Code EMC) which is crucial for EMTs to ensure they are prepared prior to arriving on the scene. According to the EMT, this Emergency Medical Code (EMC) greatly improves the patient’s chances of survival. Again, Lisbon Communication Center cannot provide this EMC; only the 911 operator can provide this code.
2. All 911 calls currently are received by the Androscoggin County Dispatcher as directed by the Maine State Public Safety Director. These 911 operators are mandated, by the Town of Lisbon, to relay the information to the Lisbon Communication Center to have OUR First Responders dispatched to the scene. It certainly would be more efficient and effective to have the 911 operator dispatch OUR First Responders immediately upon receiving the call thus reducing the time it takes OUR First Responders to get to the scene and provide emergency medical services. As everyone can see there is a time delay when you have to relay information and what happens when 911 operators cannot get a response from the Lisbon Communication Center right away. When I visited the Androscoggin County Dispatch, I asked the two operators on duty what their problems were with Lisbon and was told that numerous times they cannot reach anyone on 353-2500. Think about the delay at that point, and imagine you or a loved one is the patient waiting for emergency medical services.
So the real question is do the “Good Old Boys” network give up local control or improve the quality of life of our residents. To me, there is no choice and that is to give up local control. I say this because a single life of one of our own or a love one is more important than local control.
There are many towns in Maine who have faced this same situation and it was not a choice for them because they gave up local control and it is working well for them. In my mind, they made the right choice when they put the lives of their people ahead of local control.
What will our Town Council decide? Watch and see who votes to keep local control verses those Councilors who vote to save lives. This will show you which Councilors are member of the “Good Old Boy” network and which are willing to put the best interest of the community first.
Thursday, February 9, 2017
The following is a summary of the Town Council meeting held on February 8, 2017.
Under Council Orders, Resolutions, and Ordinances –
1. Fee Schedule Amendment (First Reading) – The Council decided that there were too many changes identified; so they postponed any action until February 21, 2017. This will give the Town Manager time to make the changes.
2. 2017 Speed Enforcement & Equipment Grant – The Council authorized the Police Chief to apply for grant by a vote of 6-0 with Councilor Albert excused. Lisbon has been pre-approved for $2,239.65 already.
3. Forfeited Assets – The Council approved $4,593.00 of forfeiture fund by a vote of 6-0 to be applied to the new cruiser. Casco Bay Ford raised the price of outfitting the new cruiser.
4. Authorization to Solicit Bids for Town Branding and Website Design – The Council voted 6-0 to authorize the Economic & Community Development Director to go out for bids on this project.
5. Authorization to Solicit Bids for the CDBG Downtown Revitalization Streetscape Project – The Council authorized the Economic & Community Development Director to solicit bids for this project by a vote of 6-0.
6. Lisbon Community Garden Ad-hoc Committee – The Council approved this committee by a vote of 6-0.
7. Dispatch Consolidation Discussion – The Council postponed this until February 21, 2017.
Under Other Business –
1. The Councilors provided a brief on department meetings attended.
2. The Town Manager announced a Sewer meeting on February 14, 2017.
3. Ryan Leighton briefed the Council on the first announcement by Siemen’s Energy Audit.
Under Appointments –
1. Heather Duley was appointed to the Recreation Committee by a vote of 6-0.
2. The following individuals were appointed to the Lisbon Development Committee by a vote of 6-0:
The Council then went into Executive Session.
Sunday, February 5, 2017
Why is it always so hard to do the right thing? Our Town Council is going to discuss the Dispatch Consolidation on Tuesday’s agenda. At the workshop on this subject an individual asked why we have been discussing this very subject for the last five years. The answer is that the Town Council has NOT got it right yet.
A better question should be ‘Why is Lisbon the ONLY community, I know, that is not part of the E911 system? The E911 system is a proven system to save life and is utilized in every state in our country and overseas. So why is Lisbon not serviced by E911. It cannot be because of the cost; because the figures provided by the Androscoggin County Dispatch reflect approximately a $200,000.00 plus cost savings every year. This is a significant saving to the people. However, we all know that the Town Council will find ways to spend that money instead of returning it to the people by lowering taxes.
The current system used by Lisbon does not provide the best possible protection to the residents. This was identified in last Tuesday’s workshop. Please review the following two scenarios:
1. According to the EMT from Lisbon Emergency, when calls are received using 353-2500, and the Lisbon Communication Center dispatch them they cannot and do not provide an Emergency Medical Code EMC) which is crucial for EMTs to ensure they are prepared prior to arriving on the scene. According to the EMT, this Emergency Medical Code (EMC) greatly improves the patient’s chances of survival. Again, Lisbon Communication Center cannot provide this EMC; only the 911 operator can provide this code.2. All 911 calls currently are received by the Androscoggin County Dispatcher as directed by the Maine State Public Safety Director. These 911 operators are mandated, by the Town of Lisbon, to relay the information to the Lisbon Communication Center to have OUR First Responders dispatched to the scene. It certainly would be more efficient and effective to have the 911 operator dispatch OUR First Responders immediately upon receiving the call thus reducing the time it takes OUR First Responders to get to the scene and provide emergency medical services. As everyone can see there is a time delay when you have to relay information and what happens when 911 operators cannot get a response from the Lisbon Communication Center right away. When I visited the Androscoggin County Dispatch, I asked the two operators on duty what their problems were with Lisbon and was told that numerous times they cannot reach anyone on 353-2500. Think about the delay at that point, and imagine you or a loved one is the patient waiting for emergency medical services.
As you can see I have eliminated a financial reason and has not only identified two problem areas with the current system but also provided a solution to resolve both problem areas. So why is it that the Town Council is dragging their feet to provide the best quality of life solution to our people? The answer is simple; this is strictly political. If you do not believe this review the workshop video and watch two previous Town Councilors argue against doing what is best for the community. These two councilors are the very reason we are still talking about this situation.
It is time to correct this ugly mess! This Town Council needs to vote to join the rest of the country by providing the best possible emergency services to the community and become a member of the Maine State E911 system. Our people deserve the best possible emergency services and they are NOT getting it under the current system.
Thursday, February 2, 2017
This is a very brief summary of last night’s Town Council workshop pertaining to the Lisbon Communication Center. This workshop lasted close to three (3) and half hours. It was extremely educational and provided a great deal of information.Chairman Ward had Sherriff Samson from Androscoggin County and Martin Fontaine, Communication Director, to explain how the Androscoggin County Dispatch operates and how it can help the community. Also Chairman Ward invited several Department Heads to explain how the loss of the Lisbon Communication Center would impact them.Sheriff Samson and Martin Fontaine did an excellent job outlining the procedures that Androscoggin County Dispatch uses and would provide to Lisbon. Both individuals also answered ALL questions from Council and the audience. This presentation was both education and filled in a lot of missing information. However, it did bring out several areas that needed to be addressed about the lack of qualified individual of Lisbon Communication Center. According to Chief Hagen, there are no dispatchers certified as Emergency Medical Dispatchers (EMD).The EMT representing Lisbon Emergency which has a contract to provide medical support for the community explained how very critical it is for EMTs to have an Emergency Medical Code (EMC) prior to responding to an emergency situation. The Lisbon Communication Center does not have anyone qualified to establish the EMC. If you call 911, Androscoggin County Dispatchers are EMD qualified and establish an EMC code and currently pass it along to Lisbon Communication Center for the EMTs. The current system demands that all emergency situation received by Androscoggin County Dispatch have to be relayed to the Lisbon Communication Center prior to dispatching OUR First Responders to the scene. This wastes critical time in getting to the patient. Androscoggin County Dispatchers should be able to dispatch OUR First Responders upon receiving the call for emergency services, the same as it does for the rest of the county they service. The EMT explained that calls by residents using 353-2500 do not have qualified personnel to establish the critical EMC needed by the EMTs and how having this code increases the chances of survival of the patient.It appears that ALL the questions for switching to Androscoggin County Dispatch for emergency services have now been answered. All the questions remaining are for Chief Hagan and how to provide services to the community without the Lisbon Communication Center. This is not a difficult task since the entire state has gone through this process so there are massive numbers of options available. I am very positive that Chief Hagan will be able to handle this task without any problems.During the workshop members of the audience asked if the driving force behind this discussion was money driven. Trust me on this, when I tell you IT IS NOT MONEY DRIVEN. There is a cost savings by moving to Androscoggin County Dispatch of approximately $94,000.00 but we all know that the Council will ALWAYS find a way to spend any savings. There were other members whom tried to confuse the real issues in an attempt to protect former Chief Brooks’ legacy. Finally, one individual objected to change. It is a fact that technology has advanced and Lisbon, in order to keep up, needs to take advantage of it.For me it is very simple, the Town Council and all members of the government are tasked with providing a safe environment in which to live. Anything less than providing the very best possible safe environment is reckless and the town should be held accountable. The current situation requires the 911 operators to notify the Lisbon Communication Center in order to have them dispatch First Responders is NOT providing the best service available when everywhere else is having the 911 operators dispatching First Responders. It should be the primary goal of everyone is to provide the best quality of live possible to our people. This should be the ONLY determining factor in this case and that means having a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) dispatch OUR First Responders immediately upon receipt of a 911 call.MORE TO COME!
Friday, January 27, 2017
Sunday, January 22, 2017
This coming Tuesday night, January 24, 2017, our Town Council will conduct a workshop pertaining to the Lisbon Communication Center. The start time is 06:00 PM which is an earlier start time than normal meetings/workshop. The last time, the Lisbon Communication Center was discussed was on October 6, 2015.
At that time, the Town Council received a dog and pony show orchestrated by the Police Department. This dog and pony show was filled with misinformation and false statements. The reason it was allowed to happen is because of politics. At no time did the members of this dog and pony show verify their facts and certainly did not have the best interest of the community at heart. This is apparent by the FACT that all 911 calls received by the Androscoggin County Dispatch have to be relayed to the Lisbon Communication Center before our First Responded can be dispatched. If they could not reach the Lisbon Communication Center, First Responders do not get dispatched to the scene. I personally visited the Androscoggin County Dispatch and talked to the two operators on duty and they both said there were numerous times they could not reach the Lisbon Communication Center, the first time. This delay makes the town liable for the results of this delay.
I hope that the Chairman of the Town Council or the Town Manager has invited Sheriff Samson or Martin Fournier to attend this workshop to sort out what is true and what is false. The Town Council needs to have all the FACTS before making any conclusions.
The primary focus should be on improving the quality of life of our people by having Androscoggin County Dispatch or another Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) provide dispatch to Lisbon. This would mean that when a request for emergency services (911 calls) is received the 911 operator will immediately contact our First Responders and not have to relay the call to the Lisbon Communication Center. The current system puts our people’s lives at risk. Eliminating the middle process expedites the process and gets our First Responders on the scene more quickly. In an emergency, time is the most critical factor.
There is another advantage to having Androscoggin County Dispatch dispatching our First Responders and that is the elimination of the Lisbon Communication Center saving the town approximately
$200,000.00 tax dollars! This is a significant cost savings for the community.
Call you Councilors and ask to have representatives of the County attend this workshop so the community gets ONLY FACTS and not misinformation.