Thursday, March 29, 2018

WHEN DOES COMMON SENSE COME IN??? by Larry Fillmore

 

I would like to know “When Common Sense is applied to the proposed budget?”  I am just am country boy from Freeport, Maine but I have handled many many budgets in my career.  The basic principle of budgeting is that you cannot spend more than you make.  You see this basic principle applied daily in every household budget in the world with the exception of Lisbon, Maine.
 
The Town Manager and the Town Council must believe that the citizens of Lisbon have very deep pockets and can come up with any amount of money.  This is the reason that our taxes go up every year.  Let’s take a look at the Department Heads salaries:
 
DEPT HEAD                          2018 Salary             2019 Proposed      Difference

Town Manager                   $95,047.00              $96,482.00              $1,435.00

Assessing Director                58,565.00                59,452.00                    887.00

Code Enforcement               73,090.00                77,777.00                 4,687.00

Finance Director                   75,394.00                77,228.00                 1,834.00

Town Clerk Director            54,217.00                56,560.00                 2,343.00

Chief of Police                       76,130.00                77,270.00                 1,140.00

Fire Chief                                69,797.00                75,005.00                 5,208.00

EMS Director                           1,523.00                   1,546.00                        23.00

Public Works Director        42,246.00                75,005.00              32,759.00

Solid Waste  Director          21,123.00                          0.00              -21,123.00

Recreation Director             61,014.00                61,922.00                     908.00

Library Director                    51,788.00                54,089.00                  2,301.00

General Assistance Dir        10,353.00                10,508.00                     155.00

Economic Director               53,878.00                57,276.00                  3,398.00

Treatment Plant Dir             21,123.00                82,717.00                61,594.00

                                                                                                TOTAL           $97,549.00
 
This is all part of the $1,900,000.00 increase in this year’s budget over last years.  This will raise the current mil rate by 4.36 mils.  I believe last year’s mil rate is 23.2 which mean that this years’ mil rate will be 27.56.  There is no telling how much your taxes will go up.
 
These salaries are supposedly compared to town with the same size populations as Lisbon.  This is not based on the Revenues of these towns so you are comparing apples to oranges.  Lisbon is basically a retirement (bedroom) community where in Skowhegan has many more businesses that generate revenue for the community. Remember Revenues must exceed or equal Expenditures.  In Lisbon, the expenditures (money paid out) exceed our Revenue (money coming in) and so the town has to get more money from the people in taxes to offset this loss.  The proper way to correct this problem is to reduce your expenditures until it equals your Revenue.
 
The Town Manager and the Town Council had rather raise taxes than to reduce expenditures.  A prime example is the Lisbon Communication Center, which is nothing more than a message center, which passes information from the Androscoggin County Dispatch to our First Responders, at a cost to the town of $345,246.00 this year.  By eliminating the middle man by having Androscoggin County Dispatch contacting our First Responder directly, there is a cost saving to the town of approximately $200,000.00 annually.  This clearly demonstrates an unwillingness to reduce expenditures.  It is easily for the town to raise taxes on its people rather than cut spending.
 
The Town Council voted to cover the failing Lisbon Emergency Service, Inc. at an additional cost to the taxpayer of $127,885.00 this year.  I support this investment in our community but the Town Council and the Town Manager need to reduce the operating cost of this town (Spending) and so far they are NOT willing to do this.
 
Basic principle, Revenues (money coming in) must match the Expenditures (money going out) or eventually you go bankrupt.  The Town Manager and the Town Council are irresponsible when it comes to looking out for the people’s tax dollars in my eyes.
 
Call your Councilors and discuss this issue with them if you care about your taxes.
 
Larry Fillmore