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Lamoine Budget Committee

Minutes of November 7, 2011

Chair Hubene Brodie called the meeting to order at 6:30 PM

Present were: Budget Committee members Kathleen DeFusco, Hubene Brodie, Debbie Verrill-McFarland, Cece Ohmart, Merle Bragdon, Robin Veysey; Secretary Stu Marckoon, Fire Chief George “Skip” Smith, Planning Board Chair John Holt and Selectboard chair Jo Cooper.

Minutes – October 17, 2011 – Merle moved to approve the minutes as distributed. Kathy 2nd . Vote in favor was 5-0.

Budget Reviews – Fire – The committee reviewed the budget from fire chief George Smith line by line, discussing the following:

Budget Committee members had no further questions for the chief.

Truck Chassis Purchase – Chief Smith said it might be wise to move up the purchase of the next fire truck chassis to FY 2013/14 due to changes in EPA regulations that will make large trucks more expensive and potentially less reliable. He said the 1989 tanker was originally scheduled for replacement in FY 14/15. Hubene asked if money is being put aside. Stu said the last two trucks have been financed, so no additions have been made to the truck reserve fund. He said there will be one more $7,000 payment due on the 2010 truck after the FY 12/13 budget. There was a short discussion on whether to retain or sell the 1989 tanker once a new truck is on line. The committee said the Chief could work up a price for the 2013/14 budget.

Ambulance Contract – Stu said he had based the previous two years on a projected population of 1,800, but the actual population was 1,602. He said the figure in the 12/13 budget is based on the current per capita price multiplied by the 2010 census. The committee asked if Stu could get a firm price by the recommendation meeting.

Dispatch – Stu reported that the dispatch cost will be folded into the County Tax Assessment.

Animal Control – Hubene asked who the Animal Control Officer was. Stu said it was Mike Arsenault. Hubene asked how he was paid. Stu said the Selectmen have an hourly contract with him, and he submits a very detailed report when requesting payment.

Planning Board – Planning Board chair John Holt said the board doesn't really keep track of its costs. He said they do wish to get active in terms of actual planning and public education. He said they sent out a survey with the tax bills, and said the comprehensive plan will likely need to be updated, which is an expensive process. He said they would like to increase the Planning Board budget to $1,000, with $250 in the line for planning resources. There was a discussion of brochures and how to handle development pressure headed this way from Ellsworth. Merle said he would support the $200 increase. Stu said that later in the agenda is a suggestion to merge the Planning Board budget with the Code Enforcement Budget. A brief discussion followed, and neither Mr. Holt nor the budget committee members had any objection to that.

Code Enforcement - Jo said she was present to discuss the salary proposal. She said the Selectmen held a workshop last Thursday, and there are a couple of ways to approach the salary issue. She said the Selectmen are approaching it by looking forward based on present activity. She said she's talked with the CEO and the board will meet with him. She said the Selectmen asked Stu to report to them about the number of permits issued over the past several years, and the percentage has dropped dramatically. Merle said it appeared the number of permits was down by nearly half. Jo said it seems reasonable to reduce the line by some percentage. She said the Selectmen want to talk with the Code Enforcement Officer, and they want to be careful and fair, and at this point the proposal is for a 15% reduction.

Hubene asked how the CEO is currently paid. Stu said it's a contracted salary. Merle said the CEO has other responsibilities beyond issuing permits. A brief discussion about the job description followed. There was also a discussion about the CEO logging the hours put into the job, and how sporadic the activity is. Jo said the matter is not tied to the individual but to the position. She said they would like to see how things are set up in other towns. Merle said the salary has to be structured to make it worth doing the job.

Deputy CEO – Hubene asked if a deputy CEO was really needed since activity is down. Jo said yes, the deputy covers when the CEO is out of town and the backup is needed. Brief discussions followed on the legal, advertising and training lines.

The committee suggested that the same salary as the current fiscal year be put as a placeholder in the spreadsheet to accurately reflect the budget for now.

Budget Consolidation – Stu explained the proposal to move the flag program into the parks budget, and to rename the Parks & Recreation budget to Parks, Recreation and Cemetery Maintenance. There was a brief discussion about parks revenues. The committee had no objection to the idea.

Stu explained removing Cable TV from the regular budget as it is self funding and treating the Cable TV article the same as the Harbor article. He said the Cable TV operation has hired a part time worker, and that any large expenditures would have to be approved by the Selectmen. Some administrative costs would be moved from the Harbor and Cable TV funds (namely FICA, Medicare) to reimburse the general fund. The committee had no objection.

Stu explained that the self funding activities such as Cable TV and Harbor would be placed at the end of the spreadsheet outside of the budget if the committee wished. There was no objection to that.

Next Meetings – Hubene said the Budget Committee would meet next on November 21, 2011 at 6:30 PM, and on December 5, 2011 at 6:30 PM.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 7:55 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Stu Marckoon, Secretary