Friday, August 17, 2018

DIG DEEP!!! by Larry Fillmore

Friday, August 17, 2018

During the latest Town Council meeting, our Town Manager, Diane Barnes, informed the Town Council that the current mil rate is 24.84; our taxes will increase $1.64 per thousand which is a 7% increase. I hope you are not surprised since the people did NOT turn out to voice their concerns. Now it is too late!

This increase in our mil rate and taxes is significant for this small town. Those residents on a fixed income are going to suffer the most. This increase in our taxes every year is a trend that needs to be reversed. Our Town Manager does NOT work for the people, so she could care less.

The Town Manager is receiving a salary of $96,482.00 this year. This is an increase from last years’ salary of $95,047.00. According to my calculator that is a $1,435.00 pay raise in one year. It would appear that the Town Manager can afford a 7% increase in her taxes but can the rest of the residents? I do not know any job where you receive pay raises like this; I never did and I was one of the top individuals in my field.

This pay raise was disguised as a Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) which was approved by the Town Council. Of course, Diane Barnes recommended this increase in HER budget. COLA was first created by the Federal government to offset a recession but the Town of Lisbon uses it to cover-up for wage increases. Wage increases, in my opinion, should be ONLY for those personnel who have done an outstanding job during the year and make less than $45,000.00. No management positions deserve wage increases because they are above the $45,000.00 threshold, in my opinion. We are paying individuals in management position plenty already and they do receive longevity pay.

The Town Manager and the Town Council have got to start looking for ways to save the taxpayer some money. At good start would be by closing the Lisbon Communication Center which is a duplication of services. The Androscoggin County Dispatch (911 services) could perform our dispatching services much more efficient than it is now. This would increase the response time of First Responder and make our community safer. By the way, the estimated cost savings was around $200,000.00 two years ago and has probably increased even more today. This figure was provided by two previous Councilors, I trust, and not me.

The elimination of COLA will save the town appropriately $70,000.00 per year and will eliminate Department Heads and the Town Manager from receiving salary increases in the thousands every year. They may very well be worth it but we cannot afford to pay them if it means increasing our taxes every year.

The people need to talk to the Town Manager and their Councilors and tell them how you feel.

Larry Fillmore

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