Town of Lamoine, Maine
The Official Website of Lamoine's Town Government
Lamoine Budget Committee
MInutes of January 20, 2014 (Draft, subject to correction)
Chair Robin Veysey called the meeting to order at 6:35 PM.
Present were: Budget Committee members Kathleen DeFusco, Cece Ohmart, Connie Bender, Merle Bragdon, Robin Veysey; Secretary Stu Marckoon, Jim Fisher (Hancock County Planning Commission), Chris Tadema-Wielandt (Planning Board), Selectmen Jo Cooper & Cynthia Donaldson and Carol Korty (Conservation Commission)
(note the meeting was recorded for Cable TV, however the audio did not record due to a technician's error).
Planning Budget/Hancock County Planning Commission (HCPC) – Robin recalled that the Budget Committee did not have enough information at the previous meeting when reviewing the suggestion that the town join HCPC. Jim Fisher of HCPC handed out the services policy. He said the HCPC adapts to what towns need in regard to Environmental Planning, Economic Development through the Community Development Block Grant program, Code Enforcement & Planning Board training, Community Health, Transportation, E-911 mapping, Land Use Planning, and Joint purchasing. He said the HCPC has quite an extensive website. He said if the HCPC embarks on a large project for a member town such as a comprehensive plan, they would bid on it. He said an independent consultant can often be less expensive. He said the cost to join is $1,330/year. He said 34 of the 37 towns in Hancock County are members and they use the dues money to leverage other funding.
Robin asked what services the town would anticipate using from HCPC, and what benefits there were to join. Mr. Fisher said the rate is 50% higher for non-member towns for consulting work, such as the comprehensive plan. He said that dues for that process would be paid back pretty quickly through the savings. He said the HCPC is much more on-call for member towns. He said non-member towns are billed by the hour for consultation services. He said they also like to have someone from the town serve on the HCPC Board of Directors.
Carol Korty said the Conservation Commission strongly urges the town to join. She said the recommendation is to join for 2-to-3 years and assess what the town is receiving for that. She said at least three times in the past year the Conservation Commission has received notice of grant opportunities, but the notice did not come in a timely fashion. She said the Conservation Commission has no budget and would like to write more grants. She said joining is only fair, as Lamoine is an active town in Hancock County in regard to aquifer protection. Chris Tadema-Wielandt said he has been advocating for years for the town to join the HCPC and that is the consensus of the Planning Board. He noted the town is involved in a lawsuit over its gravel ordinance, and if the Planning Board had input from the HCPC when drafting the ordinance, that might have been avoided. He said membership is a lot less costly than using the town attorney. He said the Planning Board really needs to do planning with some expertise.
Robin asked what other uses there might be for HCPC. Mr. Tadema-Wielandt said certainly the Comprehensive Plan process. He said it's often not knowing what you need until you need it, perhaps some citizen petition matters and ordinance shortcomings could be addressed. He said the Planning Board is better off consulting with HCPC when drafting ordinances than getting sued.
Robin asked which services are available without charge and which require membership. Mr. Fisher said there is very limited funding for land use work. He said the HCPC tries to be pro-active instead of reacting to a crisis. He said it's difficult to do land use planning without municipal membership He said HCPC becomes the staff for the town. He said the alternative is to hire a municipal planner, and in Hancock County only the City of Ellsworth has one.
Connie asked if a bill is generated when a citizen calls HCPC with a question. Mr. Fisher said the citizen would be referred to the town office. He said the HCPC works for the town. A brief discussion followed on what is billed and what is free.
Mrs. Korty said the Conservation Commission was charged to do background work for the Planning Board, and they've not been able to do much of that. She said the HCPC is better suited. Merle said the new committee (a Gravel ordinance task force) could use some help with such things.
Merle said there was a motion on the table from the previous meeting to include $1,330 in the Planning Budget line for HCPC membership. The motion passed on a 5-0 vote.
Code Enforcement/Planning/Appeals Board Budget – Merle moved to recommend $18,265.00 for this article. Cece 2nd . Vote in favor was 5-0.
Administration Budget – Merle moved to recommend $191,552.82 for the Administration Budget. Cece 2nd . Vote in favor was 5-0.
Social Services Budget – Merle moved to recommend $9,119 for the Social Services article. Cece 2nd . Vote in favor was 5-0.
Library Budget - Merle moved to recommend $7,199 for the library budget. Connie 2nd . Vote in favor was 4-1 (DeFusco opposed)
Public Safety Budget – Kathleen moved to recommend $62,265.50 for the public safety budget. Merle 2nd . Vote in favor was 5-0.
Waste Disposal Budget – Merle moved to recommend $104,650 for the solid waste disposal budget. Kathleen 2nd . Vote in favor was 5-0.
Road Maintenance Budget – Merle moved to recommend $167,100 for the road maintenance budget. Kathleen 2nd . Vote in favor was 5-0.
Roads – Major Projects (paving) Budget – Kathleen moved to recommend $156,450 for the major roads project budget. Cece 2nd . Vote in favor was 5-0.
Parks/Recreation/Cemetery Budget – Stu reported the town had received a large bill from East Lamoine Cemetery for care of Veterans' graves, and the budget for the current fiscal year is not high enough to be able to pay the bill. He said the Selectmen will meet with the Cemetery Associations in February to discuss the costs. He suggested adding $1,300 to the proposed cemetery line. Merle moved to recommend $11,628 for Parks/Recreation and Cemeteries. Cece 2nd . Vote in favor was 5-0.
Shellfishing Enforcement – Kathleen moved to recommend $3,000 for the Shellfishing Enforcement budget. Cece 2nd . Vote in favor was 5-0.
Capital Projects Budget – Merle moved to recommend $61,711 for capital projects as listed in the budget print out. Kathleen 2nd . Merle moved to amend the recommendation by increasing the town hall heating system line to $10,000 and remove the SCBA Bottle fund from the 14/15 budget. There was a discussion about the reasons to do so, including the recent furnace failure at the town hall and the relatively small amount needed in the future to replace the SCBA bottles. The committee asked Stu to include the SCBA bottle replacement in the capital needs schedule. There was also a discussion about installing a generator at the town hall and funding it through the Cable TV fund. Cece 2nd the motion to amend. Vote in favor was 5-0. The new figure, $64,711, passed on a 5-0 vote.
Revenues – There was a very brief discussion about excise tax revenues. Merle moved to increase the printed amount by $6,000 by increasing use of the Hodgkins Fund to $10,000 (matching the new heating system line). Connie 2nd . Vote in favor was 5-0. Kathleen moved to recommend from general revenue funds (including municipal revenue sharing) $392,960. Cece 2nd . Vote in favor was 5-0.
Code Enforcement Revenues – Merle moved to recommend $12,500 from Code Enforcement Revenues. Kathleen 2nd . Vote in favor was 5-0. Merle reminded the Selectmen to revisit the Code Enforcement Fee schedule. Stu said that is done annually.
Road Revenues – Stu recommended increasing the State Road Assistance line to $24,000 and using $20,000 from the roads fund. Merle so moved, Cece 2nd to recommend $44,000 from the Roads Fund. Vote in favor was 5-0.
Animal Control Fund – Merle moved to recommend $1,500 from the Animal Control Fees fund. Cece 2nd . Vote in favor was 5-0.
The board noted their work for the annual town meeting budget was complete and asked when a school budget might be generated. Stu said he was unsure, but believed the hope was for a town meeting in May, a validation vote in June, and the budget takes effect July 1, 2014.
The date for the next meeting will be announced at a later date.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 7:44 PM.
Stu Marckoon, Secretary