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Lamoine Budget Committee

Minutes of December 7, 2009 (Draft, subject to correction)

Chairman Henry Ashmore called the meeting to order at 7:01 PM

Present were: Budget Committee members Kathleen DeFusco, Henry Ashmore, Robin Veysey, Merle Bragdon, Hubene Brodie (arrived 7:09 PM), (budget committee member Reggie McDevitt informed the Board he was unable to attend); Secretary Stu Marckoon, Ronald Fortier (Ellsworth Library), Mickey Sirota (American Red Cross), Faith Perkins (Child & Family Opportunities), Peter Farragher (DE Family YMCA), Selectmen Cynthia Donaldson and Jo Cooper (also representing Faith in Action).

Minutes of November 23, 2009 – Merle moved to approve the minutes as written. Kathy 2nd . Vote in favor was 4-0.

Budget Reviews

YMCA – Peter Farragher, the executive director of the Downeast Family YMCA said the request is the same as the last 10-years. He said the “Y” appreciates the support from the town and listed out the benefits to Lamoine residents, including free weekend use, and discounts on programs. He said there are 171 members from Lamoine and 89 program users. He said they were able to provide $1,161 in scholarships last year.

Mr. Farragher said the Moore School in Ellsworth is now being used for child care and is in collaboration with Faith In Action and can make the facility available for community use. He said that has allowed the “Y” to expand fitness opportunities. He said he hoped the town continued its support. He said the “Zumba” program has been very popular and handed out brochures about the “Y”.

Ellsworth Library – Ronald Fortier, a library trustee, said the board of trustees voted reluctantly to raise the per card holder rate for out of town contributions. He said expenses are up and they were behind the curve on rate increases, as the last one was 10-years ago. He said they originally intended to increase the rate last year, but felt it was not good timing with the poor economy. He said the request of $7,735 is based on the number of card holders at $17/holder. He said they do reduce the number of card holders by 10% for attrition. He said there is a new checkout system in place and that would have an accurate number on cardholders soon.

Mr. Fortier thanked the town of last year's contribution. He said cardholders from Lamoine checked out 16,000 items from the library worth $125,000. He said there are a lot of new services offered at the library. He said the total circulation at the library is 194,000. He said they added four more computers this year. Discussion followed on the library's overall $683,000 budget and Wi-Fi. Mr. Fortier said $623,000 is picked up by the City of Ellsworth. He said they try to raise the remaining funds from surrounding towns.

Kathy asked if the library was asking for this amount from all 18-towns that use the library. Mr. Fortier said they're asking for the same amount per card holder from each town. Merle noted that Lamoine accounted for about 20% of the items checked out. Mr. Fortier said Lamoine, Hancock and Franklin are the biggest out of town users. A discussion followed about downloading audio books from home computers. Mr. Fortier said they're recently instituted policies requiring library cards to check out materials, and banning cell phones inside the library.

American Red Cross – Mickey Sirota handed out budgets and fact sheets to the committee. He said the Red Cross covers a large geographic area from Knox to Aroostook Counties. He thanked the town for its past support and said the request this year is for $500, up from $360 last year. He said the deal was that the Red Cross would start small and prove that they supply the services they said they would. He said he felt $500 is the appropriate amount.

Mr. Sirota explained the Red Cross mission. He said the agency provided service to 20-residents for the year ending June 30, 2009, including disaster services. He said the current year looks higher, though he's not sure that number is accurate. He said there were emergency services provided to 6 people, and they are given a pre-loaded credit card at no charge. He said they also provide emotional support at a time of disaster, and provide help for a few days to let people get back on their feet. He said locally donated money stays local for disaster services. He explained the Services to Armed Forces program.

Mr. Sirota said the local chapter is better off than it was 2-years ago when it faced a 6-figure deficit. He said that deficit is now less than $20,000 and that's mostly from investment hits. He said cash flow appears to be OK. He said contributions are up, and they are on budget. He said the Red Cross asks 303 other communities for a total of $60,000 in contributions.

Hubene asked if there is no charge to people for emergency services. A discussion followed about a loan program and the armed services program, and safety training. Hubene said she thought the Red Cross is exaggerating its service to the military.

Child and Family Opportunities – Faith Perkins said she was present to answer questions. She said the organization runs the head start program which provides educational, health, mental health, and family support services. She said federal funding agencies ask for local support as well. She said the request for $400 represents $200 for each Lamoine child served. Hubene asked where the program is located. Ms. Perkins said it's on the Beechland Road in Ellsworth. Hubene asked if it was income based. Ms. Perkins said it is, but if a family is over income, children can attend head start if the family pays for it. Henry asked if the total cost to provide services to Lamoine children at $19,400 was accurate. Ms. Perkins said the estimated cost is $9,700/child.

Faith in Action – Jo Cooper said the organization serves quite a few Lamoine residents with transportation services for the elderly and disabled. She said they match volunteers with people who are being served. She said they have started a senior center program at the Moore School in Ellsworth. She said it's a fun place

Henry asked if the organization serves a wider area than Lamoine. Jo said they serve all of Hancock County and a few communities beyond. Hubene asked if they serve disabled people. Jo said they did.

Remaining Social Service Agencies – Henry said the committee said that people could come and make a presentation if they wished, but they were not required to show up this year if they had received funding before. Stu said all the requests received were from agencies that had received funding in the past. He said several agencies had not submitted applications. Jo reported that the Historical Society missed the deadline.

Hubene asked if agencies could be added from the town meeting floor if they missed the Budget Committee process. Stu read the following from the Donation Review Ordinance:

  1. Failure to be placed within the warrant article for the regular town meeting is final. Any organization that did not meet the criteria outlined in the previous sections and is excluded from the approved warrant may not be included for funding from the floor of the town meeting. The moderator of the town meeting may not deviate from this section.

Jo asked if the Selectmen could place a separate article. A brief discussion followed with a conclusion that including agencies that had not made any submission would be barred from the town meeting warrant.

Stu reported that a program where proceeds from the returnables at the transfer station are donated to requesting organizations is working well.

Revenue Budget – Stu reviewed the revenue budget that he prepared line by line. He suggested that the surplus line could be increased to $50,000 after checking to see what the level was with the auditors. Discussions followed on the Cable TV lines, the mill rate, the total town budget, the secondary tuition budget which has not been submitted, and capital improvements. There was a long discussion about the use of the capital projects fund and whether money should be added to this fund.

Hubene moved to have the Selectmen look into putting the cell tower site rental income into a special fund or account. The motion died for lack of a second. Jo asked whether the Budget Committee wanted to recommend to the Selectmen that a certain percentage of the cell tower site rental be placed into the capital fund. A discussion followed. Merle said the rental revenue should be kept in the general fund and that is looked at every year. More discussion followed on the capital projects fund.

Hubene said she would like to add a line to the capital funds to read addition to the capital improvement fund. Another lengthy discussion followed on the capital improvement funds, depletion of that fund, and capital projects.

Recommendations – The Committee opted to make final recommendations instead of scheduling a subsequent meeting to do so.

Merle moved to increase the proposed use of surplus to $50,000. Robin 2nd . Vote in favor was 5-0.

There was a discussion about the impact of the RSU budget and it being unknown.

Revenues (total) - $493,250 (moved by Merle, 2nd by Robin, Vote in favor 5-0).

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 9:08 PM

Respectfully submitted,

Stuart Marckoon, Secretary