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Lamoine Budget Committee

Minutes of December 17, 2012 (Draft, Subject to Correction)

Vice Chair Merle Bragdon called the meeting to order at 6:30 PM.

Present were: Budget Committee members Merle Bragdon, Cece Ohmart, Kathleen DeFusco, Marion McDevitt; Secretary Stu Marckoon, Carol Smith (Maine Coast Memorial Hospital), Jack Frost (Maine Coast Memorial Hospital) and Rebecca Leeman (Ellsworth Public Library)

Minutes of December 3 2012 – Kathy moved to approve the minutes as distributed. Cece 2nd . Vote in favor was 3-0 (McDevitt abstained).

Agency Requests – Merle asked if there were any agencies that had received funding in the current fiscal year which have not made requests for the next year. Stu reported there were several, including the American Red Cross, the Eastern Area Agency on Aging, The Emmaus Homeless Shelter, and the Open Door Recovery Center. He noted that the Washington Hancock Community Agency request greatly exceeded the amount the Budget Committee could recommend. Merle suggested that those agencies that didn't get a request in could be listed on the town meeting warrant. Stu said he would have to check the ordinance to see if that is allowed, but he didn't believe it is.

Cece asked about the $600 cap. Stu said the Donation Ordinance passed many years ago limits the recommendation on any one agency to $600.00. He said that is set by ordinance.

Maine Coast Memorial Hospital – Jack Frost said the request is the same as it has been for the past few years. He said the funding is for the prescription assistance program. He explained that 1.5 staff members at the hospital go through the paperwork to help people afford prescription medication, and the funding helps to run that program. Mr. Frost said 58 Lamoine residence received assistance last year, and that's a large number, and the total cost of the medications received in Lamoine was about $150,000. He said the total program distributes several million dollars.

Mr. Frost said the hospital appreciates the support and then asked why the request is capped at $600, and if there is any way to have the ordinance changed. He noted that the town of Hancock gave $7,500.00 last year, and he felt it was worth the hospital's time to discuss the recommendation cap.

Merle asked why the library and the YMCA were outside the funding cap. Stu said when the ordinance was originally drafted, it was felt that library services and recreation services such as what the two agencies provide are traditional municipal services, and the funding was to pay for those services, and not a charitable donation. Merle asked if the amounts can be amended. Stu said he believes voters can offer a funding amendment at town meeting. Carol Smith said she was told at last year's town meeting that the amount could not be amended. Stu said Mrs. Smith raised the matter at the end of the town meeting long after the article had been disposed of.

Merle said he would propose that if an agency that was funded in the current year failed to submit a request for the coming year, they be listed in the warrant with a $0 recommendation. Marion asked why the town would do that. Stu said he didn't think the ordinance allowed that to happen.

Mr. Frost said he's been to a lot of town meetings, and felt Lamoine's was the most organized. He said he's never found where more could be raised than what is written in the warrant. Stu explained that many towns use what's called a capped article, where Lamoine words its article “To see what sum”, which is open ended. He said a capped article may be amended lower, but not higher.

Marion asked if the hospital had other programs that people could use in lieu of the prescription drug program with the new federal insurance plan. Mr. Frost said the Affordable Health Care Act does not take effect for couple of years. A brief discussion of the federal program followed.

Mrs. Smith read an example where a cancer survivor needed $4,600/month in medication, and the program was used to help with the required pills.

Ellsworth Public Library

Rebecca Leeman apologized for missing the previous meeting. Merle asked why there was a significant increase in the funding request this year. Ms. Leeman said the Library is supported mainly by Ellsworth taxpayers, and the Board of Trustees has been working on an equitable and predictable support. She said 18 towns surrounding Ellsworth account for 42% of the circulation. She said the previous per card holder request amount was arbitrary – last year's amount was $17/card holder. Ms. Leeman said the trustees came up with a figure that calculated the circulation costs and determined that the surrounding towns ought to fund 42% of that, which works out to $22/card. She said there are 324 card holders in Lamoine, noting that cards have a one year renewal cycle, so that as more folks renew their cards, the numbers will go up.

Merle confirmed that the circulation cost was being spread among the registered card holders of the outside communities. He said it might be a good idea to de-activate the Maine Info Net privilege when a card becomes inactive. A brief discussion followed. Ms. Leeman said based on the 92,000 items taken out by Lamoine residents, and calculating a cost of $10/item, Lamoine is getting a great value. Merle said the library is a great resource. Ms. Leeman said youth programs have been developed and those have taken off, especially in the summer. Merle said there always seem to be a lot of kids at the library.

Non RSU Tuition – Merle asked about the insured value factor. Stu explained it is a capital cost that can be added onto tuition by private secondary schools. The committee reviewed the spreadsheet calculation provided by RSU 24. A brief discussion took place on the remaining time on the MDI High School Debt.

Shellfishing Enforcement – Stu said he placed $3,000 in the line on the assumption that it would be the same as the previous two years. He noted Lamoine is the biggest seller of licenses in the district.

Other – Merle asked about the proposed contribution from the fire department. Stu confirmed the fire department has offered to contribute the final payment on the 2010 fire truck, or $7,000.

Merle asked about the interest rate charged on unpaid taxes. Stu explained the state treasurer's office sets that amount based on the prime rate at the first of the year.

Merle noted that the article borrowing money for the new fire truck does not lock in an interest rate. Stu said that is correct.

Next Meeting – The Budget Committee meets next on January 7, 2013 at 6:30 PM to make its final recommendations for the 2013/14 budget.

The meeting adjourned on a motion by Marion and a 2nd by Cece and a 4-0 vote in favor.

Respectfully submitted,

Stu Marckoon, Secretary