Friday, April 27, 2018

WHOSE LOOKING OUT FOR THE LISBON TAXPAYERS?


I just finished watching the April 24, 2018, Town Council Budget Workshop and I first want to thank, Mr. Fern LaRochelle. This budget meeting was almost two hours long and Mr. LaRochelle asked very important questions WITHOUT any dissertations. It was very informative and refreshing. Great job! Mr. LaRochelle.

I recommend that EVERY taxpayer in Lisbon review this budget meeting using the town web site. The Town Council is review the 1.9 million dollar increase the Town Manager, Diane Barnes, is proposing for this year. Keep in mind:

TOWN .MIL RATE                             GROWTH SINCE 2010


Auburn $21.23                                            8.21%

Lewiston $23.42                                        16.06%

Lisbon $20.35                                           18.11%
No matter what the Town Manager proposes, the Town Council is responsible for spending our tax dollars. The residents of Lisbon ELECT these members to be financially responsible to ensure our tax dollars are spent efficiency. I do not call having our taxes go up every year responsible when the Town Council is NOT looking for ways to reducing the operating cost of the town. The Town Council could save over $200,000.00 a year by eliminating the Lisbon Communication Center and let the Androscoggin County Dispatch take over dispatching responsibilities. Yet, instead of doing what is financially responsible for the community; they had rather raise our taxes without looking to save tax dollars.

I believe that the Town Council should direct the Town Manager, Diane Barnes, to reduce the operating cost by at least 10% yearly. Doing this will reduce or even eliminate the yearly tax increases. Look at how many foreclosures have been processed since Diane Barnes has been here. Disgraceful! This is a community with little to no large businesses like L.L. Beans to help our tax base instead the majority is based on residences.

At our current rate of 18.11% increase in our mil rate, Lisbon should over take Lewiston in the next year or two. While other towns are looking to reduce their operating cost, Lisbon is looking for ways to spend more tax dollars. These tax dollars that come from taxpayers.

Another way to reduce the operating cost is by not allowing Department Heads a Cost-of-Living-Allowance (COLA). The majority, like the Town Manager, make more than $80,000.00 annually. A 2% COLA increase is a raise of over $1,600.00 per year. A prime example is the Town Manager was hired at $87,000.00 back in June 2015 and today with her proposed COLA increase will receive a salary of $96,482.00. This is because the Town Council approved her contract with a clause in it that states and I quote: “The Manager shall also receive any other benefits as the Town provides to its other employees.” This means that every time the WORKERS receive an increase the Town Manager must receive the same. The Town Council should not allow individuals in management positions to receive benefits the workers need. A cap should be established for all individuals in management positions and definitely those in Department Head positions.

Lisbon is a community that does not have a very large tax base such as Auburn or Lewiston and so these costs are passed on to the taxpayers.

Shame on the Town Council for not being able to recognize this!

Call your Councilors today because once they approved the budget it will be too late. Please do not let them snow you with the excuse this is only a proposal.

Larry Fillmore