Friday, April 7, 2017

Stealing Tax Dollars In Lisbon --- by Larry Fillmore


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

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 

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