Town of Lamoine, Maine
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Lamoine Budget Committee Minutes
November 27, 2006
Chairman Henry Ashmore called the meeting to order at 7:05 PM
Present were: Budget Committee members Henry Ashmore, Reggie McDevitt, Robin Veysey , Hubene Brodie , Joe Young; Administrative Assistant Stu Marckoon, Selectmen Jo Cooper, Richard Fennelly Jr., Cynthia Donaldson; Michael Garrett ( Planning Board /Land Conservation Initiative), Lynda Tadema-Wielandt (Land Conservation Initiative), Fred Stocking (Conservation Commission), Merle Bragdon and Bill Butler (CTV Tech).
Minutes – Reggie moved to approve the minutes of November 13, 2006 as presented. Hubene 2nd . Stu noted one spelling error that would be fixed. Vote in favor was 5-0.
Planning and Appeals Board Budget – Stu said the explanation is that there is no change from the current fiscal year. There were no questions about the budget.
Code Enforcement Budget – Henry noted there is a $4,500 increase in the salary line which is actually a smaller increase due to a contract negotiation. Stu explained the Selectmen and Code Enforcement Officer (CEO) negotiated a new budget during the summer to give a better idea of the number of hours involved and the going rate of pay. He said that puts the CEO expenditures over the approved budget which will require an additional appropriation from town meeting. There were brief discussions over the deputy CEO pay scale, how many hours the CEO works, and whether the salary is covered by the revenues generated.
Land Conservation Request – Michael Garrett said there are four agencies presently doing some sort of planning in Lamoine – the Planning Board , Long Range Planning Committee, the Conservation Commission and the new Land Conservation Initiative subcommittee of the Conservation Commission. He said population growth is inevitable as the density works its way north. He asked if it would make sense to set aside a token sum of money to purchase land for recreational purposes or for easements.
Mr. Garrett said the questionnaire from the Long Range Planning Commission showed strong support for setting aside money for conservation purposes. He said a total of 77-percent of the respondents were willing to set aside money for such purposes. Lynda Tadema-Wielandt handed out copies of the questionnaire report to the committee.
Henry asked if the Land Conservation Initiative was a sub-committee of the Conservation Commission, and who is presenting the proposal. Fred Stocking, chair of the Conservation Commission, said the Commission fully supports the request of its sub-committee. He said the money should remain town money in a dedicated fund so the town could have a source of funding if there were a chance to purchase land or an easement. Henry asked about a provision for accepting gifts into the fund. Mr. Garrett said his daughter was prepared the match the town appropriation. Henry asked about the mechanism referred to in a letter from the Land Conservation Initiative, and whether Mr. Garrett's daughter would get a tax deduction. Mr. Garrett said he had not looked into it that far. Henry said he was troubled by the word mechanism. Mr. Stocking said a warrant article would be broad enough so that gifts and money could be added to the fund. A lengthy discussion followed on how gifts and contributions could work and whether funds could be re-directed. Stu said he would like to see some solid guidelines for such a fund. Mr. Stocking said he would be willing to draw up an article. It was agreed town meeting approval would be needed to distribute any money from the fund. A discussion followed on the efficiency of requiring town meeting approval.
Henry asked if the money would be for land acquisition only. Mr. Stocking said it would. Hubene asked where the money would come from if land were purchased and work needed to be done to maintain it or make it useful. Mr. Stocking said the town would have to appropriate it, and such expense would be disclosed to the town meeting prior to making a decision. A short discussion followed on potential maintenance costs.
Henry said it's not necessary to put money in a fund even though it is established. Mr. Garrett said if there were no money in the fund, he would just as soon go private. Henry said at $1,000 per year, it would be a long time before the town could buy anything. Mr. Garrett said the idea was to get things started. Mr. Stocking said a footpath easement could be relatively inexpensive.
Henry asked where the $1,000 proposed would fit into the budget. Stu suggested it could go into the capital improvements/funds area. Reggie asked if the town could be in the real estate business. Stu said the town occasionally acquires land through tax foreclosures and disposes of them according to the direction of the town meeting. A short discussion followed.
Jo Cooper said the fund might give the town an opportunity to provide matching funds for grants. She said it was important symbolically. Henry asked if the Selectmen have acted on the request. Jo said they have not. Reggie said it's a small amount and it would take many years to accumulate enough funds. Henry said it appears the Land Conservation Initiative is looking for support for the principle of a donation. Ms. Tadema-Wielandt said if the town doesn't start, it won't know whether there are others who have such a commitment to land conservation.
Henry asked if the Budget Committee wished to make a recommendation to the Selectmen. Jo said the Selectmen could come up with a warrant article. Hubene suggested the town seek feedback through the town's website. Jo said it was important to have such a fund.
Joe Young moved to have the Budget Committee express interest in supporting the proposal heard this evening. Reggie 2nd . Vote in favor was 5-0.
Revenues - Henry asked about the amount of increase allowed in the tax commitment under LD-1. Stu said the loss of $28,000 in portable classroom rental revenue will adversely affect the municipal budget. There was a discussion about how much growth would be allowed – it was estimated about $3,500 in the municipal tax commitment.
Stu reviewed each line of the revenue budget. There were very few questions about each line.
Budgets Revisited – Administration-Quarterly Review – Stu reported the estimate from RJD Appraisal was $7,900 and he had put only $4,500 in the budget. There was a discussion on how the quarterly review worked to verify data in advance of a revaluation. The Budget Committee requested to meet with the Assessors at the next meeting.
Capital Projects List – Henry said it would make sense to try to equalize the capital projects expenditures for each year. Stu said he just listed out the potential projects and it would be up to the committee and/or the town to set aside money to equal things out.
Ambulance Runs – Stu reported that County Ambulance reported making 205 runs in 2005. He said he was not sure how many were routine transports and how many were emergency calls.
Other – Salting Roads – There was a brief discussion about the impact of road salt on cars in reaction to an article in the Bangor Daily News this day.
Next Meeting – The next meeting will be December 11, 2006 at 7PM. It will include the social service requests, the Library, the YMCA and newly added tonight meeting with the Board of Assessors
Parks Funds – Reggie asked if parks fund go through the town. Stu reported any money received such as gifts and the income from the road race are deposited into the town's parks account and any expenditure would have to be budgeted by town meeting and approved through the Selectmen's warrant process.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:20 PM
Stu Marckoon, Secretary