Town of Lamoine, Maine
Lamoine Budget Committee
Chairman Henry Ashmore brought the meeting to order at 7:01 PM. The meeting was telecast on cable channel 7, the first ever telecast on the cable system. A videotape of the telecast was made.
Present were: Budget Committee members Reginald McDevitt, Robin Veysey, Henry Ashmore, Linda Feury, Joseph Young (committee member Hubene Brodie had phoned in ill earlier in the day); Administrative Assistant Stu Marckoon, Selectmen Glenn Crawford, Perry Fowler, Josephine Cooper, Fire Chief George “Skip” Smith, and cable TV equipment operator Nicholas Pappas.
Minutes – Linda moved to approve the minutes of November 15, 2004 as presented. Reggie 2nd. Vote in favor was 4-0 (Robin abstained).
Preliminary Items – Audit – Henry noted that the committee had the 2003/04 audit on the table this evening. Stu said it came in after the last meeting.
E-mail notification – Henry said he found the format of the e-mail / Internet budget inconvenient to view. A short discussion followed on the various options. Stu noted that he had not written up the budget explanation on the roads until earlier in the day and did not e-mail that.
Selectmen – The committee wished to hear the thoughts of the Board of Selectmen regarding the overall budget picture.
Jo said the Selectmen would like to try to not have a tax increase if possible. She said there are increases in the administrative budget for clerical support for the various committees which means an increase if staff salary for extra work. She said the Selectmen are trying to look ahead and deal with the burden of work on the Administrative Assistant. She said there was a relatively small salary increase budgeted for the staff and they’re trying to keep on as even a keel as possible.
Perry said the Administration budget has a lot of exact figures, and the town voted to add two more Selectmen. A short discussion followed on the salary for the Selectmen. Jo said the Board went over the budget pretty carefully, and there is not much to cut back on. Glenn said the Road budget is a necessary evil as you need to maintain what’s there or it will cost more in the long run. Jo noted that as the town grows, there would be increased costs. She said it’s not a “Cadillac” budget.
Henry said he wondered what the budget would look like in the end. He said he hoped that revenues might offset the budget additions. Glenn said it might be time to consider using some of the $300,000 surplus. Stu said he’s put $50,000 in for this budget. Some committee members noted that surplus use is usually a one-shot deal.
Stu said without the education budget, the proposal before the committee would require 1.21 mills in property tax. Jo noted the school committee begins its budget work tomorrow (11/30). She said the school usually has its hands tied, as it’s mostly high school tuition and special education. Henry said there would not be any state figures available until at least February. Jo asked if there were any advantage to holding off town meeting until state figures are known. Henry said he did not know of any advantage. Stu noted some towns split their town meetings, and a short discussion followed. Henry said he believed the town is better off having the school budget voted on with the rest of the regular town meeting so the voters can look at the expenditure and programs.
Perry asked about the solid waste transportation contract. Stu said Pine Tree Waste has it through March 2006. Discussion followed on the cost of solid waste disposal, use and possible misuse of the transfer station, and Eastbrook’s recent change from a transfer station to curbside pickup.
Public Safety Budget Review – Henry reviewed the proposed budget line by line. Chief George “Skip” Smith said the personnel payment program seems to be working fine. There was a question regarding the heating fuel contract. Stu said the town participates with the other Union 92 towns and Ellsworth in a bulk purchase program.
Linda asked about the increase in hydrant costs. Chief Smith said they want to replace the 4.5” hydrant heads with 6” heads so the pumpers can pull water at full capacity.
Henry noted there was no expense for oils and fluids in 2003/04. Chief Smith said they had a good supply on hand that year.
Henry said airpack maintenance is proposed to rise. Chief Smith reported they got a good deal on 4-nearly new airpacks from the Ellsworth Fire Department, so there will be more to flow test.
Henry asked about the NFPA books. Chief Smith said it’s to keep the books updated with a CD ROM subscription service.
Henry said pagers seem to be an ongoing expense. Chief Smith said most of the radio maintenance needs are for pager repairs. He said the department had been replacing one or two pagers a year, and he’d like to replace up to four. He said they purchased five in 2003/04. He said they need one pager per member. Linda asked about changes in membership. Chief Smith said the roster stays at a pretty steady level, though members are aging.
Chief Smith said the hose line is to purchase 300-feet of 1.75” hose. He said with hose testing a lot of older hose was lost, and that’s for a replacement of older hose. He said the supply hose is for replacement of some sections, and with the increase in subdivisions, the department needs a longer run of 4-inch hose to reach. He explained the difference between supply and attack hose.
Chief Smith said the $2,000 line for equipment purchases should be $1,000 for radio instead and it’s to install a new radio in Engine 402 (1976 Ford). He reported the new fire truck would arrive in March, and the radio from Engine 403 would go into that one.
Henry asked if there was a chance for no increase, noting the proposed budget for the fire department is just a $1,500 increase. Jo asked if the department could cut those lines that were not used in past years. Chief Smith said the budget is not a strict line item, and some lines have been overspent with money taken from that set aside in other lines. A short discussion followed on the overall program.
Joe asked what amount should go into the equipment purchase line. Chief Smith answered zero. Reggie asked if the department had looked into pager rental. Chief Smith said he had not, but might. Henry asked to look at the training line, and a short discussion followed. Further discussion followed on hydrants, supply hose, and whether the budget committee needed to meet again with the fire chief.
Ambulance – Stu reported the contract expires next summer, and he’d not received anything from County Ambulance. He noted the City of Ellsworth is no longer paying County anything. Glenn said he understands the reason for the contract and said it was a double-edged sword. A short discussion followed. Stu asked if he should contract John Partridge to meet with the Selectmen on possible contract renewal. The committee agreed that would be a good idea.
Dispatch – Henry asked if that was a contract figure. Stu said it is.
Because no ambulance contract is included, and the possibility that the fire chief might submit a change, the committee took no action on the public safety recommendation and asked that it be on the next agenda for a tentative agreement.
Fire Truck Reserve – The committee agreed to give tentative approval to the debt payment of $29,050.00
Solid Waste – Joe asked if the PERC costs are directly related to tonnage. Stu said it was. Glenn asked if transportation is billed separately, and if we pay a fuel surcharge. Stu said the Pine Tree Waste contract is separate, and the town does not pay a fuel surcharge. Discussion followed on the increase in PERC costs, and Eastbrook’s new arrangements. There was a short discussion on questions regarding the hazardous waste cleanup, demo debris costs, and the septic sludge contract. Reggie wondered if it might be more cost effective for the town to purchase its own truck and haul waste to PERC.
The Budget Committee gave tentative approval to the solid waste budget of $98,498.
Roads – The committee discussed the proposed budget lines for sweeping, grading, Berry Cove Road, Shore Road and Seal Point Road. It was suggested the town keep contacting the State regarding rebuilding Route 184. Committee members noted the budget was up sharply due to the proposal to do paving on Shore Road. The Budget Committee gave tentative approval to the road budget at $214,007.
Portable Classroom Maintenance – Stu said the money goes into a fund used for maintenance, which has about $4,000. The Budget Committee gave tentative approval to the portable classroom maintenance budget of $1,000.
Revaluation Reserve – There was a short discussion regarding the cost of the next revaluation and how much should be set aside. The Budget Committee gave tentative approval to the revaluation reserve budget of $5,000.00
Next Meeting – The next meeting will be held on December 13, 2004. The committee will meet with outside agencies requesting funds, look at the Cable TV budget, and the YMCA budget.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:45 PM
Stu Marckoon, Adm. Asst.