Wednesday, September 30, 2015

DOING WHAT IS BEST FOR THE COMMUNITY---- by Larry Fillmore

The Town Council is working extremely hard to save the taxpayers’ dollars by reducing the operating cost of the town.  One of the major projects is the consolidation of Lisbon’s Communication Center (Dispatching) with the Androscoggin County Dispatch Center.  The Council has been working with the Town Manager and Sheriff Samson of the Androscoggin County.


Sheriff Samson, with the consent of the Town Council, applied for a Federal Grant which was turned down.  This grant was using “Dark Fiber” for connectivity.  Come to find out this option is not available in this area.  As a backup plan, Sheriff Samson requested that approximately $225,000.00 be added to Androscoggin County Dispatch Center’s budget to consolidate Lisbon Communication Center with the county.  In this proposal, the connectivity was changed to use high speed fiber with dual firewalls.  These are experts in communication and record keeping. Sheriff Samson has several subject matter experts (SME) to design and implement this project. 

At Tuesday night’s workshop, Sheriff Samson briefed everyone on the current status of the project and asked the Town Council for approval to move ahead with the project.  This project has the potential saving to the taxpayers of approximately $140,000.00 to $150,000.00 annually per the Town Manager.  The Town Council originally estimated the saving to be roughly $190,000.00 annually.  I personally believe it will be a lot more saving to the taxpayers, however time will tell.  No matter what the savings is going to be it will be significant to the community.

In order for a project to be successful, all the players involved have to be dedicated and devote 100% to the project.  Anyone whom does not believe in the project will cause delays and additional expense.  Chief Brooks’ is not interested in seeing this project succeed or doing what is best for the community.  Completion of this project will reduce Chief Brooks’ department in half.  Chief Brooks’ interrogated Sheriff Samson on technical aspect of the project Tuesday night.  Sheriff Samson did an excellent job of answering all Chief Brooks question even though Sheriff Samson is not a SME in communications.  When all of the questions were answered, Chief Brooks’ used intimidation by trying to point out the town was using a Homeland Security Grant that had an expiration date of 2017 and that if the town did not use the equipment through this date there may be repercussions.  This will never happen for the following reasons:  (1) this project does not go live until July 2016 at the earliest, which is 6 month from 2017;   (2) this project will reduce the need for additional funds for Lisbon thus improving the efficiency of the equipment; and finally (3) the town will be able to show an effect way to eliminate redundancy in live saving procedures.  I have forty years working for the Federal government and dealing with grants, and have never seen the government retaliate when the system is being used properly.

Change is always challenging because of the unknown.  However, consolidation of communication centers is being down all over the country very successfully.  These consolidations are saving dollars and improving efficiency within the systems.  There will be a short period of time to shake out the bugs in every project but in the long run will become an asset to the county and will reduce tax dollars.

The people of this community need to get on board with this project.  Please call your Councilors and the Town Manager to go ahead with project.

Larry Fillmore