Minutes of the Lamoine Budget Committee

January 26, 2004

 

Vice Chair Joe Young called the meeting to order at 7:10 PM

 

Present were:  Budget Committee members Reginald McDevitt, Joseph Young Jr., Hubene Brodie, Robin Veysey; Administrative Assistant Stu Marckoon and Selectman Chair Josephine Cooper.  Budget Committee members Henry Ashmore and Linda Feury were out of town.

 

Minutes – Reggie moved to accept the minutes of January 12, 2004 as written.  Robin 2nd.  Vote in favor was 4-0.

 

Recommendations

 

Administration – After a quick review of the proposed budget and the major increases, Robin moved to recommend the amount of $128,394.66, as presented.  Hubene 2nd.  Vote in favor was 4-0.

 

Social Service Agencies – Jo Cooper said she was not comfortable with the Ellsworth Library asking for double the budget.  Joe Young said the request was based on the number of library cardholders in Lamoine times a set price.  Stu reminded the board that the gentleman from the library said none of the outside towns fully fund the library request.  Mrs. Cooper said this is not the year to increase anything. 

 

Hubene said she’s done a lot of thinking about donations, and feels tax dollars should not be spent on donations, and people should do it of their own free will, but at the same time the town would have to pay for some vital services if such organizations didn’t offer them. Robin said it’s probably to the town’s benefit to support such services that a municipality normally would provide, such as general welfare, the library and recreation. Joe said he’s concerned by the rate of growth in the requests.  He said there might be other organizations approach with more requests next year.  Mrs. Cooper said the budget committee might want to set some guidelines for the social service requests.  She said the support of the town is on behalf of the people receiving the help.  Joe said perhaps the committee could budget a set amount of money for the year.

 

Hubene moved that the COMBAT line should be removed, as they never filled out the application.  Robin 2nd.  Vote in favor was 4-0.  Stu said Yesterday’s Children also failed to fill out the application.  Hubene moved to eliminate that funding.  Robin 2nd.  Vote in favor was 4-0.  The committee also agreed that the hospice figure should be moved to Hancock County Home Care.

 

Reggie said it seems that many of the agencies overlap their services, and perhaps the Selectmen should look into that.  Hubene suggested that a cap on the entire social service budget should be set.  Stu noted that the ordinance sets a cap of 5% of 1-mill, which this year would work out to $7,555.78. (A re-calculation after the meeting finds the cap actually would be $5,512.89).  There was a short discussion about Hancock County Home Care, Community Health and Counseling, and Maine Coast Memorial Hospital.  The Budget Committee made the following recommendations:

 

Agency

Amount

Yes

No

Discussion

Downeast Horizons

$600.00

4

0

Eastern Area Agency on Aging

$250.00

4

0

Community Health & Counseling

$600.00

4

0

Washington Hancock Community Agency

$600.00

4

0

Maine Coast Memorial Hospital

$600.00

3

1

Reggie was opposed as there are other hospitals in Hancock County.

Loaves & Fishes

$600.00

3

0

Reggie was concerned about people taking unfair advantage of the food pantry

WIC Program

$600.00

4

0

American Red Cross

$600.00

4

0

Whether money stays local

Child & Family Opportunities

$600.00

4

0

This is the head start program

Hancock County Home Care

$579.00

4

0

Total

$5,629.00

 

Ellsworth Public Library – Hubene moved to recommend $3,500 for the Ellsworth Public Library.  Robin 2nd.  Vote in favor was 3-0, Reggie abstained.

 

Public Safety Budget – Stu noted the police patrol line is new this year, and discussion followed as to whether that budget should be needed right off.  There was a brief discussion about the past security patrols and why they failed.  The budget committee was unanimous in wishing to remove the $3,000 from the budget for police patrol.  Hubene moved to recommend $41,588.89 for public safety.  Robin 2nd.  Vote in favor was 4-0.

 

Fire Truck Purchase – Stu noted that he did not include the expenditure of $25,000 from the fire truck reserve in the budget, either in the expense or revenue lines, and while that would not impact the budget’s bottom line property taxes, it ought to be disclosed.  He said it is disclosed in the warrant article.  There was a discussion about the reported opposition to the purchase of a new fire truck, and the possibility that a referendum vote could be requested, though it would be too late for the scheduled town meeting due to absentee ballot concerns.  There was a short discussion about the previous truck purchase.

 

Reggie said he opposes the article because there should be more money put aside to buy a fire truck and then purchase one in 3-to-4 years without going into debt now.  He said he doesn’t think the new truck as proposed is adequate to do the job the fire department wants.   Mrs. Cooper said the purchase is a big one and hard to swallow for a town, but she is going on the recommendation from the people in the know.  Hubene said trucks will not get any cheaper in the future, and she’s not sure if other towns have fire departments that raise $50,000 to contribute toward a truck’s purchase.  Mrs. Cooper said the donation is phenomenal.  Hubene noted that interest rates are very low right now. 

 

Reggie said it seems Lamoine’s fire trucks respond more to big calls out of town than in town.  Joe said the fire department has seen a big increase in the number of auto accidents, and the proposed truck is a combination rescue and attack pumper for what the department needs.  Mrs. Cooper said she was upset by the contention made at the last Selectmen’s meeting that the fire department should be punished because they’ve raised a large amount of money. 

 

Reggie asked where the volunteer part ends and the town department begins.  Stu explained that the Lamoine Volunteer Fire Department organization is separately chartered with it’s own tax ID # and acts as a fund raising arm of the fire department.  He said the town appoints the fire chief who has a job description and is in charge of the firefighting efforts. A short discussion followed.

 

Robin said to put money aside for a new truck, the town has to be realistic about the costs, and that hasn’t happened.  Mrs. Cooper said the town would have to spend a large amount of money on the truck the fire department has recommended be sold if they don’t buy a new truck. 

 

Robin moved to recommend purchase of the new fire truck with the funding plan as proposed in the draft warrant.  Hubene 2nd.  Vote in favor was 3-0, McDevitt abstained.

 

Hubene moved to recommend that $25,320.90 be raised and appropriated for the debt service payment on the truck purchase.   Robin 2nd.  Vote in favor was 3-0, McDevitt abstained.  Reggie noted that many of the parties seated around the table are involved with the fire department.

 

Waste Disposal – Reggie asked about pending land purchase.  He said it might be a good time to decide where things could be.  Stu said there is nothing on this town meeting warrant about buying land at this time.  He said the committee chaired by Ken Smith is still researching matters, and the Selectmen are sponsoring a planning conference in May to sit all the town officials down and come up with some idea of where the town is headed.  There was a discussion about the snowplowing contract renewal coming up as well.

 

Robin moved to recommend $79,930 for waste disposal.  Hubene 2nd.  Vote in favor was 4-0.

 

Planning – Robin moved to recommend $1,150 for the Planning and Appeals Boards.  Hubene 2nd.  Vote in favor was 4-0.  A short discussion followed on membership in the Hancock County Planning Commission.

 

Code Enforcement – Hubene moved to recommend $12,305 for Code Enforcement.  Reggie 2nd.  Vote in favor was 4-0.

 

Education – Reggie said that’s a scary figure, especially with a new school facing the town.  Hubene noted the increase is teacher salaries, a lawsuit and some repairs.  Joe said there was no significant problem with the budget in the past discussion.  A discussion followed on the potential for purchasing land around the school for municipal purposes. 

 

Hubene moved to recommend $2,099,600.29 as configured by the school department.  Robin 2nd.  Reggie cautioned that the town should not let any land purchase in back of the present school complex fall by the wayside.  He said it should be a top priority.  Hubene said that would need a separate town meeting approval. Further discussion followed about the possibilities of a land purchase.

 

Vote in favor of the school budget was 4-0.

 

Road Maintenance – Stu noted the amount of the plowing contract is unknown, and perhaps the budget committee recommendation should wait until town meeting.  Hubene moved to hold off on a recommendation for road maintenance until more information comes in, and to make a recommendation at town meeting.  Robin 2nd.  Joe asked if there would be time to publish it in the town report.  Stu said he doesn’t think the committee would have time to convene again before the publishing date.    Vote in favor was 4-0.

 

Major Road Projects – Reggie asked if any of the large trees on Mill Road would be cut before paving the lower end.  Stu said the biggest problem they cause is the lack of sunlight in the winter, and he feared that cutting the trees and digging up the stumps to establish ditches would be very expensive and not be cost effective on a road that gets paved about once every 20-years.  Hubene moved to recommend $42,000 for major road projects to pave portions of Mill and Walker Roads.  Robin 2nd.  Vote in favor was 3-1, McDevitt opposed.  Reggie said there was nothing proposed for Shore Road.

 

Portable Classroom Maintenance – Hubene moved to recommend $1,000 for Portable Classroom maintenance.  Robin 2nd.  Vote in favor was 3-1, McDevitt opposed.  Reggie said he couldn’t see putting a lot of money into the portables as the town is close to building a new school. 

 

Revaluation – Stu noted that the revaluation effort approved for the present fiscal year wouldn’t take place, so that money would not be spent.  There was a discussion about the method of revaluation and the quarter review of properties. The new values will be in effect April 1, 2005.  Stu noted the Selectmen signed a contract for the work in FY 04/05.  Hubene moved to recommend that $18,000 be approved for the revaluation.  Robin 2nd.  Vote in favor was 4-0.

 

Parks & Recreation – Reggie moved to approve $5,000 for the Parks & Recreation budget.  Robin 2nd.  There was a short discussion about the former parks commission and the discontinued well.  Vote in favor was 4-0.

 

Revenue Budget – Stu said if the education funds which appear in earlier articles are subtracted out, and Municipal Revenue Sharing is removed from the total, as that’s part of the tax commitment, the total to offset property taxes should be $451,962.00.  He said that includes using $75,000 from surplus.  Hubene moved to recommend that figure.  Robin 2nd.  Vote in favor was 4-0.

 

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 9:30 PM

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

Stu Marckoon, Adm. Asst.