Town of Lamoine, Maine
Lamoine Budget Committee
Chairman Henry Ashmore called the meeting to order at 7:05 PM
Present were: Budget Committee members Reginald McDevitt, Henry Ashmore, Joseph Young Jr., Hubene Brodie, Linda Feury; Administrative Assistant Stu Marckoon and Planning Board Chairman Gordon Donaldson.
Minutes – Joe moved to approve the minutes of October 4, 2004 as presented. Reggie 2nd. Vote in favor was 5-0.
Planning Board Budget – Dr. Donaldson handed out a paper explaining a new line for planning resources. He said Lamoine has experienced a rush of development, and the Planning Board is trying to keep the ordinances updated and legal, but they need resources to collect information from other places. He said there was nothing specific in the request, but the Planning Board needs to do some actual planning, not just act as an administrative agency. He said the budget request is $550 greater than the current level, and believes the Planning Board will need to go somewhere for help.
Henry asked if the $550 increase was included in the budget sent to the committee. Stu said it was not; this was the first time he’d seen it. Henry asked Dr. Donaldson if the Planning Board budget needed a new line. Dr. Donaldson replied that they would like to make a new line and restated the principle that it was to do some planning, moving beyond just a regulatory agency. Henry asked if the Planning Board was unsure where they would look for information. Dr. Donaldson said he was not sure what the agenda is for planning, but they have not sought advice from the Hancock County Planning Commission. He said they might seek information from professionals such as engineers, and there is water. A short discussion followed on water resources, a current study, and a past study.
Linda asked if the $550 would be for an outside consultant. A short discussion followed about the Hancock County Planning Commission. Dr. Donaldson said the Planning Board would prefer to have more flexibility on how to spend its money. Discussion followed on rewriting ordinances.
Budget Review Process – Reggie moved to pass each individual page of the budget as the committee made its review. Joe said it would be helpful as the committee reviews things to see how they fit into the overall picture. Hubene said it would be helpful if the committee had the option to go back if needed. Joe said he was going to suggest the committee set a goal or a target for budget increase which could be communicated to the budget submitters. A short discussion followed.
Reggie said when the budget committee started they had a recommendation before the town meeting and never met with the Selectmen. He said each board had its own recommendation. Henry said the Budget Committee is the review body on the budget, and only recently have the Selectmen worked with the Committee. Linda 2nd Reggie’s motion for discussion purposes. Henry asked if the committee wanted to take each section, review it, and then vote at that time. He asked what would happen if the committee wanted to go back to the budget. Reggie said that would defeat the purpose of his motion. Henry said the problem is the committee does not get the budget all at once. He asked how the committee could hold the overall increase to a certain level without seeing the whole budget. Linda said she could see both sides, and preferred to look at the needs of each department and the merits of the request. She asked if it were fair to cut other departments if, for example, the school department needed a higher budget. Reggie said the school and fire departments would get what they want at town meeting because they have the votes there.
Stu said he would like to caution the Committee to take revenues into account if setting budget goals, as increased costs often come with some revenues. Joe said his goal was on the tax rate, and not to increase it if possible. A short discussion followed on the transfer station. Henry restated Joe’s goal as not to limit the overall budget, but to limit overall taxation. He said when he read through some of the budgets and saw a 13-percent increase it bothered him. He said there is not enough to compare the budget to at this point. He said municipalities in Maine just had a significant scare with the recently defeated tax cap question. He said the Committee could not go to the town to say they voted down the tax cap, so now we’re going to increase taxes. Hubene said it’s fine to say there is a goal, but often town meeting will override that goal. She said the goal ought to be stated at town meeting as being the result of the tax cap question. A short discussion followed on analysis of the tax cap vote.
Joe said his point was to have a goal of not having a tax increase. He said he would feel bad going to the town to ask for more money. Linda said even though there is more growth in town, it should not say to the town feel free to spend the money. Henry restated Reggie’s motion. Vote was 2 in favor, 3 opposed (Ashmore, Brodie, Young). The motion did not pass.
Henry asked about having tentative approvals following each budget review. A short discussion followed, and by acclamation the committee agreed to do that.
Administration Budget – Salaries - The committee discussed the year-to-date column. Stu said he would clarify that. There was a discussion on the proposed salaries for the extra Selectmen, the Administrative Assistant, and extra money budgeted for the staff for Board support. No changes from the proposal were made. The committee felt the ballot clerks ought to have a pay increase to $10/hour, and that was agreed to by all. A proposed increase in assessors pay was discussed, but the proposal was not changed.
The Budget Committee gave tentative approval to Administration Salaries of $77,705.
Administrative Expenses – The committee discussed mileage, and all felt the rate should be changed to the state rate instead of the current 32-cents/mile. The committee also said they would like to get meeting notifications via e-mail instead of paying the postage for delivery. Reggie raised a concern that the audit seemed expensive and it should go out to bid. Stu and others said the audit by comparison was a pretty good deal. The committee scaled back the advertising line to $400.
The Budget Committee gave tentative approval to administrative expenses at $36,205.00.
General Assistance – A short discussion was held on this line scaling back to $1,000 to reflect the reality of General Assistance payments. The Budget Committee gave tentative approval to General Assistance of $1,000.00.
Insurance – After a brief discussion, The Budget Committee gave tentative approval to Insurances of $22,317.63. Please note this figure may fluctuate, as the FICA/Medicare is a factor of various salaries throughout the budget.
Equipment – After a short discussion on what programming and equipment needs there might be, The Budget Committee gave tentative approval to Equipment of $800.00.
Maintenance –A short discussion on maintenance needs concluded lighting could be reduced to $100.00. The Budget Committee tentatively approved $1,300.00 for Maintenance.
Code Enforcement Budget – Discussion on this budget included adjusting the mileage amount to reflect the higher mileage reimbursement rate suggestion, and an explanation of a telephone card purchase. The Budget Committee tentatively approved $13,000.00 for Code Enforcement.
Planning Budget – The Committee briefly discussed the increased funding proposal from Dr. Donaldson earlier in the meeting. The Budget Committee tentatively approved $1,700 for the Planning Board.
Parks & Recreation – The Committee looked over the parks portion of the budget. The town had not yet received the request from the YMCA. Reggie suggested looking into reopening a secondary parking lot for RV’s that was constructed many years ago. The committee made no recommendation and asked to wait for the YMCA budget.
The next meeting of the Budget Committee will take place on November 29, 2004.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 9:12 PM
Stu Marckoon, Secretary