At the last Special Town Council meeting, five of the six Councilors present voted to approve the Municipal budget for 2014-2015. Councilor Pesce was the ONLY councilor to vote NO.
In August/September, when the taxpayers of Lisbon receive their tax bills; who is to blame for the estimated 5% - 7% tax increase? It would be unfair to place the entire blame on the Councilors. Several of the Councilors asked for cuts to the approved budget but Chairwoman Ward would not bring the issue before the council. Part of the problem is that the Councilors do not make the suggestions as motion to be put before the entire council. Instead Chairwoman Ward asked for suggestions, instead of motions, and then totally ignored them because it was not presented as a motion.
Second, when the people made suggestions to the council no council member took it and put it in the form of a motion. Because it was NOT made as a motion, there was no action taken on any suggestions by the people. Remember, the people can only make suggestions and cannot make a motion. Chairwoman Ward also ignored the suggestions by the people to reduce the Municipal budget.
Third, Chief Brooks made absolutely no attempt to keep his budget the same as last year. In fact, Chief Brooks increased his budget by $78,268.00 which puts the Police Department’s budget at $1,376,120.00 this year. That’s right the Police Department’s budget is over a MILLION tax dollars. On top of that, Chief Brooks has included in his budget the replacement of three (3) vehicles; one which had a new engine installed last year. Chief Brook’s budget includes two (2) Detectives; two (2) part-time secretaries and a full time Administrative Assistant. The Police Department has two (2) vehicles that sit at the schools all day long. The vehicle count right now is nine (9) and we only have a maximum of two (2) patrols at one time. Chief Brooks stated that the small community of Lisbon normally uses one patrol; so why do we need all the vehicles. A side note, Chief Brooks does not have a “life cycle management” program to replace fewer vehicles each year. Last year we replaced two vehicles and this year we are replacing three vehicles.
As you can see, Chief Brooks made no attempt to help the taxpayers out this year. Instead, he teamed up with Chairwoman Ward (who does not pay Real Estate taxes in Lisbon) to stick it to the people. Chairwoman Ward even went so far as to not allow the people to speak prior to the vote on the Municipal budget at the Special Town Council meeting. This is a gross abuse of her position. How are the Councilors going to know how the people feel if the people are not allowed to voice their concerns?
Every time you see Chief Brooks and Chairwoman Lisa Ward thank them for your increase in your taxes.