Saturday, March 31, 2018

A REVIEW OF TOWN COUNCIL WORKSHOP – PART 2 by Larry Fillmore


The numbers at the end of the Departments is the time it started to be discussed. This can be used for the people to review exactly what was said.

This is my take on the three and a half hour Town Council Workshop held on March 27, 2018 pertaining to the proposed 2018-2019 Municipal Budget. It started off with:

ASSESSING DEPARTMENT (1:22): There is only one employee in this department and her Medical Insurance increased from 2018 - $3,060.00 to 2019 - $16,644.00 which seems to be excessive but no one questioned it. Also, they want to add an additional employee part-time for 20 hours at a rate of $14,560.00.

TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT (23:10): This was most entertaining. They had a discussion about whether or not the new software was working as well as advertised. I find this odd because the time to have this discussion should have been before the town entered into any contract. The question was which is better MUNIS or TRIO. The town intents to maintain both software packages which make it very hard to learn two different systems let alone pay for two software packages. This should have been ironed out before entering into a contract. Also, there is no disaster recovery in place and why not? The town wants to keep the Vehicle and Assessing modules of TRIO and convert everything else to MUNIS. Also, there is no Life Cycle Management in place.

TOWN BUILDINGS DEPARTMENT (1:12:30): The town will have to adjust Electricity and Heating line items at a later date. R&M Building was reduced $35,000.00 because some items are being taken care of using the Undesignated Funding.

PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT (1:45:46): The major problem here is the salary for the Public Works Director is based on a comparison of other towns with a population close to Lisbon, however, it should be based on total Revenue. It is impossible to determine the salary without having the Revenue coming in to pay this employee. Think of it like this: “Is Food City the same as Shaw’s or Hannaford? Is Family Dollar the same as Walmart as far as the Revenue the towns receive? It is not possible to determine the salary without first knowing the Revenue you have. The Town Manager, Diane Barnes, is looking at the Department Head salaries of other towns with much more Revenue to work with. A simple comparison is to check out the number of businesses of Lisbon and Skowhegan. How can towns pay the outrageous salaries when they do not have the money to pay them? This is directly responsible for the increase in taxes EVERY year. You have to compare apple to apples and not apples to oranges. This outrageous salary of $75,005.00 needs to be adjusted to reflect what the town can pay based on the Revenue received.

I do not understand why the Town Manager is advertising for a Public Works Director when the town still employees Elwood “Button” Beal. Button Beal was the Public Works Director for many many years and has a very satisfactory track record. Button Beal was before the Town Manager’s time but Public Works functioned very professionally and provided a great service to the community. Going outside to get a new Public Works Director is totally misuse of an excellent asset already employed and a total waste of time and money. It is a disgrace by the Town Manager who apparently does not realize that promoting from within increases the moral of the staff.

The town needs another mechanic and could use the money they want to increase Department Heads salaries to pay for another mechanic. The town should establish a cap on Department Head salaries that is based on the Revenue received to operate the town. It is critical that the Town Council get their heads out of their fourth point of contact and start cutting spending instead of raising the taxes on the people. The Town Manager and Town Council were hired or elected to be financially responsible to the people and they are failing miserably. The people need to elect individuals who will not be “YES men” for the Town Manager and instead do what is best for the community; raising taxes is not the right answer.

The line item “Motor Vehicle” was raised $15,000.00. This is more spending for toys for the boys. Look at how much the Asphalt Reclaimer is being used to help out with the roads. Are you happy with our roads/streets?


Larry Fillmore