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Lamoine Budget Committee

Minutes of November 23, 2009 (Draft-subject to correction)

Chairman Henry Ashmore called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM

Present were: Budget Committee members Reggie McDevitt, Kathleen DeFusco, Hubene Brodie, Henry Ashmore, Robin Veysey, Merle Bragdon; Secretary Stu Marckoon, Parks Commissioners David Grasso, Christa Brey, Kerry Galeaz, Susan Belanger, Nathan Mason; Fire Chief George “Skip” Smith, Selectman Jo Cooper.

Minutes of November 9, 2009 – Hubene inquired about the wording of a sentence on page 2 of the draft minutes. The committee agreed to strike the sentence. Reggie moved to approve the minutes as corrected. Merle 2nd . Vote in favor was 5-0.

Review of Parks Budget – There was a brief discussion about the bottom line figure as the narrative did not match the spreadsheet. The correct figure should be $3,401.

Robin asked about fundraising efforts by the Parks Commission. Kerry Galeaz, the chair of the Parks Commission, said they plan to send a letter in the spring. He said an annual fundraising campaign has been on the radar to raise money long term for parks maintenance. He said the commission has explored the vision for the parks, and they're hoping to come up with a substantial fund raiser. A short discussion followed.

Hubene inquired what drum lids were. Mr. Galeaz said the commission has purchased lids for the trash cans from the current budget. He said the drum lids in the proposed budget would be for recycling containers, mainly returnables. He said they plan to establish recycling containers for both Lamoine Beach and Bloomfield Park. Henry asked what happened to the lid project approved for the current fiscal year. Mr. Galeaz said they didn't arrive until late in the season, so they didn't get put on the barrels. He said the commission focused on manufacturing removable grills and ran out of time. He said both the grills and lids will be installed next spring. A short discussion followed about trash barrels.

Henry asked how much the fundraising letter made. Mr. Galeaz said that would be sent out in the spring. Henry asked about the membership to Leave No Trace. Mr. Galeaz explained what the organization is about and how it ties into the kiosk project. He said they sent materials which will be displayed at the town office, and the cost of $100/year. He said there is a link to the organization at the town's website, and there might be some grant opportunities in the future.

Robin asked about the kiosks. Mr. Galeaz said they would be installed next summer. He said it's been quite a project and handed out a copy of what the kiosks will look like. Henry said it's been 3-years in the making.

Henry asked about the $86 increase proposed for Bloomfield Park. Mr. Galeaz said it would be the recycle top. Kathy asked about possibly putting up a sign at Lamoine Beach identifying where the bathroom facilities are located. Mr. Galeaz agreed there needs to be one and they plan to put one int. He said that bathroom area has been cleaned out. Reggie asked if the commission intended to take down the old sign at Lamoine Beach Park. Mr. Galeaz said they did not.

Mr. Galeaz said he's always bugged why the parks budget appears in the same warrant article as the YMCA. Henry said it was originally a parks and recreation budget, and the “Y” is the recreation portion. He noted that the parks are subtotaled in the budget document. A short discussion followed.

Mr. Galeaz said people will see things at the parks really come together next year. He said there needs to be a bathroom facility at Bloomfield Park. He said the commission has cleared the shorefront area of underbrush, so a bathroom is on their radar. He said the town has spent some major capital on Bloomfield Park, and the only thing left to do is a bathroom. He said the park gets an unbelievable amount of use in the summer, and a bathroom is necessary for many reasons. He said they might look for grants to help that project along.

Reggie asked if there was any plan for Marlboro Beach. Mr. Galeaz said there is nothing planned, not even a kiosk any more. He said that's a bigger topic for the entire town to discuss. There was a brief discussion about the condition of the road onto Marlboro Beach. Mr. Galeaz noted a decision had been made not to pursue repair of the boat ramp at Lamoine Beach and expressed concern that the cement and rebar be removed as it is dangerous.

Planning Board Budget – Stu said the Planning Board felt the budget should be the same as the current fiscal year. Henry said looking at the spending history for the Board, there are places it could be cut. Several line reductions were proposed as the Planning Board has not spent anywhere near what is budgeted. There was a discussion of costs to the Board of Appeals. The committee agreed on lines to cut. Stu said he would advise the Planning Board.

Fire Budget – Henry said instead of reviewing the fire budget line by line, he would prefer just to do a question and answer with Chief Smith. Reggie asked if the fire department is a volunteer or town owned department. Chief Smith said it's a municipal fire department, but the firefighters are volunteers. He said the equipment and building belong to the town. Stu added that there is a separately chartered corporation called the Lamoine Volunteer Fire Department which does fundraising and holds bank accounts. A short discussion followed. It was asked where the proceeds from the sale of fire trucks went. Stu said it was put into the town's fire truck reserve fund. Hubene suggested that the town report include a listing of equipment that the fire department corporation has purchased for the town. Several budget committee members agreed with that idea. A short discussion followed on just what exactly has been purchased.

Henry said the budget committee is trying to hold the line on new expenditures. He asked what the issue was with radios and pagers, as that is a major expenditure. Chief Smith said the Federal Government has mandated that public safety radio frequencies be converted to narrow band broadcasting, and most of the equipment now in use in Lamoine (and virtually every other community) is not compatible with the narrow band requirements. A lengthy explanation followed. Henry asked if it is possible to phase in the purchase of equipment. Chief Smith said the mandated changeover date is 1/1/2013. He said a phase in might be possible, and the department is applying for grants, and some assistance may be coming from Hancock County which has already supplied some new pagers. Reggie suggested that radios might be available from the General Services Administration. A short discussion followed. Henry suggested maybe funding $4,500 for the next 3-years. Stu noted the 3 rd year would end after the deadline. Merle said delaying funding could cost the town the ability to miss out on bulk purchase opportunities.

Kathy asked if all 32 members of the fire department respond to all calls. Chief Smith said no, there are different levels of commitment to the department. He said to receive the annual expense reimbursement the members have to train, go to meetings, respond to calls and participate in fundraising activity. Kathy asked if members have to live in Lamoine. Chief Smith said they do not.

Henry noted that the proposed budget is $1,735 less than the current fiscal year. He said a reduction in the pager line and the NFPA codes make up most of the reduction. There was a discussion about hand tools, the number of trucks, the age of the trucks, station repairs, fit testing and inoculations.

Henry asked for a sense from the committee in regard to the capital item for radio conversion. Hubene said if the fire department is going to take advantage of any kind of bulk purchase opportunity, the money will need to be budgeted. Selectman Jo Cooper told the committee that the Selectmen have not reviewed the fire budget – it was not ready at their last meeting. She said the Selectmen have discussed the radio issue and the Board of Selectmen may weigh in on the budget.

Robin said she hates to see anything new in the budget, but if nothing is budgeted, it might be penny-wise but pound-foolish. Merle said he favors budgeting the whole amount for radios while the fire department seeks alternate funding and grants. Kathy said she agreed with Merle. Reggie asked how many radios and pagers are needed. Chief Smith explained. Reggie said he would favor purchasing half in the upcoming budget and half the year after. Kathy asked if any of the firefighters would forgo their expense reimbursement. Chief Smith said it seems a little unfair for 30-people to pay for radios for the entire town. He said the firefighters don't get a lot of money for what they do.

Animal Control – Stu said no change is proposed to the budget, which is generally self funding.

Ambulance – Henry said he didn't understand why the budget is up 33%. There was a discussion about the cost per person and the contract.

Dispatching – It was asked how that cost is determined. Stu said the County Commissioners set the rate.

Future Items – Stu explained that the Selectmen are exploring participation in a regional shellfishing regulation ordinance and some startup money is needed. Jo said the enforcement aspect of the ordinance is what will need to be funded in the first year. She said the amount is not yet known. Stu said the town meeting is likely to vote on an ordinance, an inter-local agreement, and a budget.

Stu said the amount of extra tuition for secondary school choice is not yet known, and is not likely to be ready for the annual town meeting. Henry said the contract with MDI High School is running out after this year, and the question becomes whether a new contract is entered. Stu said another question is who is authorized to enter such a contract. There was a brief discussion about state education funding curtailment, and the amount paid by the town to MDI High School, the number of students attending MDI, and whether another contract is necessary.

Social Services – Stu said the Selectmen are looking at possibly proposing a change to the ordinance regarding donations to lower the maximum amount that can be recommended and including a voluntary contribution plan, similar to the Town of Rockport.

Next Meeting – The next meeting will be December 7, 2009. Henry asked that the Ellsworth Library and the YMCA be at the top of the agenda.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:50 PM

Respectfully submitted,

Stu Marckoon, Adm. Asst.