Town of Lamoine, Maine
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Lamoine Budget Committee
Minutes of November 18, 2013 (Draft, subject to correction)
Chair Robin Veysey called the meeting to order at 6:30 PM
Present were: Budget Committee members Cece Ohmart, Robin Veysey, Marion McDevitt, Kathleen DeFusco, Merle Bragdon, Connie Bender; Secretary Stu Marckoon, Selectman Cynthia Donaldson
Committee members introduced themselves to each other.
Minutes – Merle inquired about the minutes of the previous meeting. Stu said they were part of the Selectmen minutes and approved by the Selectmen.
Administration Budget Review – Benefits – Inquiries were made about the health insurance benefits line. Stu said a new estimate had just come in from Maine Municipal Health Trust and presented the new figure, which was slightly lower. Committee members reviewed the coverage package.
Salary Increase – Merle asked whether the 3% proposed raise for the Clerk was based on the Consumer Price Index. Stu said it was not and that he had not prepared the CPI calculation, but could have it for the next meeting.
Selectmen Salary – Connie asked if any analysis was done comparing the Selectmen's salaries with other communities. Merle said it would be difficult, as tasks vary from town to town.
General Assistance – There was a brief discussion about the level of General Assistance and the ordinance that requires that it be paid, even if it goes over budget.
Records Preservation – There was a brief discussion about the records preservation effort. Stu said he'd not had a chance for a couple of years to send the older books out for rebinding. He said he hoped to get the newer tax commitment books bound soon.
Solid Waste – There was a brief discussion about whether the facility should be open more hours or accept out of town trash from individuals. Stu said the current hours have accommodated the needs, and to accept out of town trash and bill folks accordingly would be a tremendous administrative burden.
PERC – There was a brief discussion about the amount of trash going to the PERC plant. Stu said it's started to pick up and really kind of goes with the economy. He noted that when the economy dipped in 2008, so did the amount of trash going to PERC.
Water Testing – Stu said the town has to test the wells installed by the MDEP around the landfill cap every other year, and this budget takes into account that year.
Septic Sludge – Merle asked if the state mandate for septic capacity had been lifted. Stu reported Representative Malaby had intended to introduce the bill, but it did not go anywhere.
Revenues – Interest on unpaid taxes – Merle asked about the 7% rate. Stu reported it is the maximum allowed by statute and is set by the treasurer annually.
Excise Tax – Stu said the excise tax line went over budget last year for the first time in a while. He said the proposed figure is based on the actual from the previous fiscal year.
Agent Fees – There was a very brief discussion about the fees charged to process motor vehicle registrations.
Hodgkins Fund – Committee members asked about the $8,000 plus received and the $4,000 budget line. Stu said the budget line is a draw from the fund which stands at about $22,000.
Surplus – There was a brief discussion about the surplus amount as reported in the audit ($366,970), the current year appropriation of $100,000 and the overlay in the tax commitment. Two pending lawsuits were mentioned that could impact the surplus line.
Capital Needs – Heating System – There was a discussion about potential new heating systems for the town hall, noting that the current furnace is about 23-years old. Connie asked if there is a service contract on the furnace. Stu said there is. Heat pump and propane systems entered the discussion.
Copier – There was a very brief discussion about replacing the current copier and whether it was beneficial to purchase or lease. Stu said he's purchased the last several times the town has replaced the copier, opting for refurbished machines as opposed to new.
Rescue Boat – Kathy asked how old the current fire department rescue boat is. Stu said he thinks it was purchased in either 1996 or 1998. He said sometimes it doesn't hold air well and there have been issues with the motor.
Town Hall – There was a discussion about the foundation at the town hall and storage either in a dry basement or in the overhead area.
Revaluation – It was noted that the revaluation fund has enough to do a revaluation, and it's on the capital needs schedule for 2015. It was asked when the town is required to do it. Stu said when the Assessors say so, or generally when the town valuation falls below 70% of the state valuation. He said the town is about 92% right now.
Town Hall Steps – There was a discussion about when the current cement steps were built. It was noted that they are starting to deteriorate.
Road Paving Schedule – Marion asked about when her section of Shore Road was on the schedule. Stu said it appeared to be a couple of years. He said he would check her entrance area in the near future.
Education – Stu said the withdrawal from RSU 24 has created some issues, first and foremost being a budget to fund the creation of the Lamoine School Department between now and June 30, 2014. There were discussions about hiring a superintendent, teacher contracts, and the like. The committee said it didn't know what the recommendation to make and would seek information from the Local School Advisory Committee for the January 9, 2014 town meeting.
Stu asked about the timing of the 2014/15 school budget. The committee felt something should be ready in late April so that it could review it with the new school board, the town could vote on it in May and have a validation referendum approved prior to July 1, 2014. It was noted the Local School Advisory Committee will meet with the Selectmen on Thursday.
Next Meeting – The next Budget Committee meeting is scheduled for Monday, December 2, 2013 at 6:30 PM
There being no further business, the committee adjourned at 7:50 PM.
Stu Marckoon, Secretary