Wednesday, February 6, 2019

WASTING TAX DOLLARS by Larry Fillmore




For years now, I have been suggesting the closure of the Lisbon Communication Center and having the Androscoggin County Dispatch take over the responsibility of dispatching Police, Fire, and Emergency Medical. And for years, the Town Council has voted to keep Lisbon Communication Center open.

The cost to operate this facility, in the last budget, was $345,246.00. Now it is a fact that two former Councilors investigated this very issue and found that the town could save approximately $200,000.00 taxpayer dollars a year by having Androscoggin Country Dispatch perform the Lisbon Communication Center functions. To me $200,000.00 is not chicken feed and should have been considered seriously. However, Fern LaRochelle, did not want the town to lose control. 

During the Town Council workshop on January 15, 2019, Chief Hagen presented a proposal to perform dispatching for Gardiner. During the discussion of this Chairman, Norm Albert ask a very important question for Chief Hagan. It was and I am quoting from the minutes of January 15, 2019 minutes: 
“Councilor Albert asked if the state would be forcing Lisbon into dispatch service with them. Chief Hagan said eventually, yes, but probably not within three years. He said eventually the equipment we have will fail and the cost to replace it will be significant. Councilor Albert said the administrative fee should be worth our while.”
This brings up several important questions:

First question: “Why are we waiting for the state, why not do it now when we have an excellent offer from Androscoggin County Dispatch?”

Second question: “Why are we waiting until the equipment fails and puts the town in a crisis?”

Third question: “Why is the town going to pay a very significant amount of tax dollars to replace this equipment when the state is going to force us to join them?”

To me, these are very important questions. They can all be eliminated if the town allowed Androscoggin County to take over dispatching responsibility. It is a fact that by closing the Lisbon Communication Center will save the taxpayer's tax dollars. It is also a fact that it is impossible to tell the exact amount that will be saved, however, any cost saving will help reduce the operating cost of the town and reduce our taxes. Reducing our taxes should be the number one priority of the Town Council and the Town Manager. Unfortunately, they are NOT interested in saving money or reducing taxes.

Call your Councilors and Diane Barnes and tell them it is time to start saving tax dollars and no more tax increases.

Larry Fillmore

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