Friday, February 8, 2019

ANOTHER MUNIS UPDATE by Larry Fillmore

I have put together a chart of the anticipated dates for
 the conversion of MUNIS from TRIO to be completed.
  The Chart
 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
KEEP IN MIND THAT FUTURE DATES ARE ONLY ESTIMATED DATES!!!!!!!!!!!!
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

WASTING TAX DOLLARS by Larry Fillmore




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 taxpayer's 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

DO YOU WANT YOUR TAXES TO GO UP AGAIN!!! by Larry Fillmore



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

MORALE IN LISBON by Larry Fillmore




At last night’s Town Cou
ncil 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

Monday, January 7, 2019

WHY LISBON’S TAXES CONTINUE TO RISE! by Larry Fillmore




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