Friday, June 13, 2014

THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN! --- by Larry Fillmore


On Tuesday, June 10, 2014, the people of Lisbon went to the polls and voted how they wanted their tax dollars spent.  The people approved a new gym and a new track bonds.  They rejected a new Public Works Garage bond.  So now the Town Council has to finalize the Municipal budget for Fiscal Year 2014-2015.

This Municipal Budget is suppose to be a “Maintenance Budget” which means no new projects or additional funds other than what is needed to operate.  So let’s take a look at what is still on the table for consideration.  The following are items that must be added:

 A new plow truck – It is imperative that the town replace the plow truck that burnt.  The insurance company paid the town $48,000.00 but a new truck cost approximately $128,000.00 so the town has to come up with $80,000.00.

MDOT Modification 4 – The municipal portion of the additional funds is $30,000.00.  There is no arguing with MDOT or the town will end up paying a lot more trying to contest this.

$4,500.00 Rent Fee to Longchamps – Since the taxpayers voted down the Public Works Garage, the town will have to pay this monthly fee until such time as an adequate building can be prepared to perform maintenance in.  Also, repairing the current Public Works building leaves the town with the problem of a sand/salt shed that meets state requirements.  Apparently, the people are satisfied paying $54,000.00 a year for rental fees.

Now let’s take a look at some of the other items still on the table:

 2% COLA Allowance - Town Employees have received wage increases for the past four or five years in a row.  It will not kill the Town Employee from going without an increase for one year.  If it was going for those whose annual salary was under $35,000.00 a year I would consider it but disguising or calling it a COLA Allowance just to get it approved is unacceptable.

Replacing Police Cruisers – Chief Brooks had sufficient funds to replace any police vehicles he felt were necessary with Federal Forfeiture Funds but instead purchased Assault Rifles, GPS, Balls and a Ball Launcher for the canine among other “Toys for the Boys”.  One of the vehicles he wants to replace had a new engine installed less than a year ago.  The Life Cycle of police vehicles is measured in the mileage on the engine and not road miles.  So why would you replace a vehicle you just installed a new engine in?

Reduce the TIF Account by $100,000.00 – Each year the town over budgets this line by close to $100,000.00 and then one month later transfers the money out to other areas of the budget.  Apparently, this is used for a slush fund.  This needs to stop also.

A “Maintenance Budget” should only have what is needed to operate during the fiscal year.  The plow truck and the MDOT are necessary for next year; while a COLA Allowance, police vehicles and floating additional funds to create slush funds are NOT.

Let’s see if the Town Council will make any attempt to control excessive spending!

Larry Fillmore

2 comments:

  1. Perhaps the town council will finally get down to business.
    Council chair Lisa Ward going through the town budget was a joke. There are so any cuts that can, and need to be made.
    It's easy to spend someone else's
    money.
    Asking the School Department to contribute $166,000 to the town's side when the council should be looking where cuts can be made in their own budget.

    It is time to put a stop to protecting Chief of Police David Brooks bloated budget.


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  2. Dot - It was nice of you to tell it like it is. In the past, previous Town Council's primary mission was to protect Chief Brooks' budget. Brooks has always gotten everything he asked for even to the point of using tax dollars to build up his Communication Center. I hope the current council is different and what will do what is right for the community.

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