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

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

 

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                                    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

LISBON'S ROAD TO BANKRUPTCY - PART 4


Lisbon's unassigned account is the account that shows us how much money we have that isn't earmarked for a budget item..  I think of it as our EMERGENCY FUND.

The GFOA (government finance officers association) recommends that governments maintain an unassigned fund balance of no less than 16.67% of general fund operating expenditures. Our own charter recommends we keep 16% or approximately 2 months of operating costs in this account.  

Use of this account  to address budget shortfalls (IMHO) often indicates serious financial conditions :
  •  Declining non tax revenues 
  •  Out of control spending
  •   It is often an indicator of coming property tax hikes

This account can be compared to the proverbial canary in the coal mine. Frivolous use of this account sends a strong message to prospective businesses that may otherwise want to invest in Lisbon.

Call your Councilors and tell them you want real tax relief not fake short term fixes that just kick the can down the road.

Tell them to keep their fingers out of our EMERGENCY FUND.

Respectfully
Joe Hill


Lisbon Maine's Road to BANKRUPTCY --- Part 3



We have a problem in Lisbon.  Our Town Government isn't acting in our best interest. Councilors actions make it evident they are serving another master.  

Recently Lisbon Councilors:

  • Voted against saving the taxpayers of Lisbon $200,000 dollars a year by changing dispatch to the County.
  • Voted against making Lisbon residents safer by reducing emergency response times.
  • Voted against the most effective implementation of the E911 service.  (E911's purpose is to improve emergency response. Adding a layer on top of the service increases the response time and negates its purpose).
These same Councilors will soon vote to take more of our money, 19.2% budget increase, to pay for their refusal to get rid of our costly and marginally E911 compliant communication system.   

When businesses see a Town that is asking its residents for a 19.2% budget increase they see a town that is HEADED FOR BANKRUPTCY.

Respectfully
Joe Hill

Lisbon Maine's Road to Bankruptcy --- Part 2 -- Cola Increase




I was surprised to see Lisbon's proposed budget included an across the board  2% COLA (cost of living allowance) for all employees. 


For 2017 Retired Social Security Recipients receiving the average benefit of $1,355 will get a measly 0.3% COLA raise, starting in January of 2017.  This equates to $5 more in their Social Security checks.

Why is Lisbon giving all employees a COLA percentage rise almost seven times  higher than what our seniors will receive in Social Security COLA? 

  A Lisbon employee making $50,000 a year (many of our employees make more than this)will get $1,000 dollars or 200 times that of the average Social Security recipient.

Giving a 2% cola increase isn't just a 2% raise in employee salaries it is also an increase in all the costs associated with those salaries. (FICA,  retirement, unemployment insurance, workers comp.  etc) 

These COLA payments also compound.  If we  pay a 2% cola this year, it will be 2% on last years income which includes last years  2% COLA.  Ten years of 2% colas  isn't a 20% raise it is almost a 22% raise in income.


Is it morally right to demand retirees, that ONLY get a 0.3% COLA, pay for a 2.0% COLA for all Lisbon employees? Remember some of our employees, when including benefits, make a six figure income.  

 COLA increases were meant for rank and file employees not department heads or salaried individuals.

In conclusion: If we must give a COLA then that raise should be tied to the increase in the cost of living not some arbitrary number. If our seniors get 0.3% COLA raises lets give the same to Lisbon's employees. 

Call your Councilors and ask them if this is fair?

Respectfully
Joe Hill

LISBON'S ROAD TO BANKRUPTCY - PART ONE

https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-KNKQ9YCZS_w/WNmMdBzh3rI/AAAAAAAAFl8/gFQ4__v9rQwZvAbmVZeCZmzG0sqpLtoJwCLcB/s1600/th.jpg

Recently Lisbon's Town Manager proposed the new 2018 municipal budget.  This proposed budget is a 19.2 % increase over last years Town Budget.

Let me put that 19.2% budget increase in perspective. If you presently are paying $2600 dollars a year in property taxes a 19.2% increase would make  this years taxes a few cents under $3100 dollars.  
The Town will argue that they are working hard to reduce the increase and within a month or so they will come back with a final increase probably somewhere between 10% and 12%. They will also tell us that they saved the town 8% to 10% on our taxes.  They will equate an increase of up to 12% as a 8% savings to the town.

Don't let them fool you.  A reduction on an inflated proposed budget isn't a savings it is AN INCREASE OVER LAST YEARS BUDGET.  This town is trying to hide its debt crisis by manipulating the language and exaggerating the initial proposal. 

By continually increasing Lisbon's taxes we are sealing our own fate. It's like a snowball rolling down hill continually increasing  in size and momentum. The higher our taxes go the harder it is to attract the businesses that could extricate us from our financial problems. 

At some point on this journey we reach the point of no return. Lisbon is now approaching that point.  We will, if this proposed budget passes, have the highest taxes in the County and one of the highest in the State.

In my humble opinion Lisbon is careening  down the bankruptcy road at an alarming speed. If we continue along this fiscal path we will inevitably end up in chapter 9 BANKRUPTCY court. 

You are the only one that can put the brakes on this runaway spending.  Call your Councilors and demand they cut our taxes.

Respectfully
Joe Hill.

 



Monday, March 27, 2017

CHARTER COMMUNICATION CHANGES - MARCH 24TH


2017-2018 MUNICIPAL BUDGET REVIEW!!!


Over the weekend, I had an opportunity to review the Town Council meeting for March 21, 2017.  In it the Town Manager, Mrs. Diane Barnes, presented the proposed 2017-2018 Municipal Budget for the first time to the Town Council.  Listening to her present this budget, it was like she was taking lessons from Nancy Pelosi (I cannot work with President Bush) or Maxine Waters (Putin invaded Korea) all over the place.  As a result, I will attempt to recap what I got out of this budget.

The first item is that Mrs. Barnes stated that this municipal budget keeps municipal services at status quo.  In the same breath, she said the budget includes a Lieutenant position in the Police Department.  To me this is a contradiction to maintaining the status quo for municipal services.  Apparently, this Lieutenant is not going to do anything so why are we going to pay him/her approximately $102,000.00 in salary and benefits?

Next, Mrs. Barnes 52.8% of the budget is in wages and benefits?  She also stated there is a 2% COLA in this budget.  Well, how do you think the wages and benefits got to be 52.8%?  You do realize for the past 6 years; the town has paid COLA at 2% each year.    Take $90,000.00 salary and using the 2% COLA; figure out how much increase this is.  Keep in mind, that this is cumulative each year so the number you start with changes every year.  Did anyone in town receive 2% COLA for these past 6 years.  I know for a fact, that Social Security has not been raise 2% at any time in the past few years so why do the town employees get it automatically when no one else does?

The Public Works Department is budgeted for $332,500.00 of equipment.  I cannot tell if this is replacement or new equipment but it certainly is a lot of money.  Also, Mrs. Barnes mentions replacing the Salt Shed at a price tag of $250,000.00.  Mrs. Barnes wants to spend some of the Unassigned Fund Balance to offset some of these cost.

Using the Unassigned Fund Balance to offset this excessive spending this year will keep out taxes down but what about next year.  You are increasing the operating cost of the town by 19.2%.  This means every year after this; the taxpayers have to pay for these increases and the Unassigned Fund Balance will not support it in the future.  Keep in mind, the Unassigned Fund Balance is supposed to be used for emergencies.

The Town Manager, Mrs. Barnes announced that the Lisbon Communication Center needs $33,500.00 for upgrades.  Isn’t it amazing that when the Town Council was discussing closing the Lisbon Communication Center there was no mention of this expenditure by either the Town Manager of the Police Chief.  Why was that?  I personally do not think it would have made a difference because the “Good Old Boys” network will never give up any control.  Also, Chairman Ward, Councilors Brunelle, Crafts and Albert have absolutely no interest in cost saving for the community.  The initial cost saving was listed at $191,095.00 for this year and if you couple this $33,500.00 with this figure it would be $224,595.00.  This is just for this year.  By closing the Lisbon Communication Center, the community would be saving roughly the same amount each and every year going forward.  The problem is these four Councilors care more about the “Good Old Boys” remaining in control then doing what is best for the community.  What a shame!!!

There are other parts of the budget but you get the idea.  If you want to stop this madness; call your Councilor or go to the meetings and register your opinions because once they approve the budget there is not changing it.  So get off the couch and get involved.

Larry Fillmore